Nick Hewer quits as Countdown host after nearly a decade

Nick Hewer

Nick Hewer is quitting Countdown after nearly 10 years as host of the game show.

Announcing the news on Twitter, he said the coronavirus pandemic had prompted him to reconsider his future.

The former Apprentice star said he would not be renewing his contract for January as he approaches his 77th birthday and a decade on the Channel 4 programme.

He recently took a break from filming to shield from Covid-19 at home and was replaced by BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Colin Murray.

It is not yet clear who will take his seat on the long-running programme.

Writing on Twitter on Monday, Hewer said: "Delighted to be back in the Countdown studio after another enforced lockdown, BUT this latest lockdown has given me an opportunity to consider my future life and I've decided it's a good time to step down at the end of my contract in the New Year.

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Broadcaster and business personality, Nick Hewer, launches Glenfiddich's 125 Business Pioneers campaign, which aims to uncover the most inspirational business leaders from the past, present and the ones to watch out for in the future, in London. PRESS ASSOCAITION Photo. Issue date: Thursday September 13, 2012. To coincide with the launch of the campaign, Glenfiddich has commissioned research with YouGov in which more than 500 top male and female SME business leaders were surveyed. More than one in ten top SME business leaders believe it is their duty to inspire others - this comes ahead of early retirement and having a good pension. Photo credit should read: David Parry/PA
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Nick Hewer attends the Hope and Homes for Children 'Once Upon A Time Ball' at One Marylebone on March 8, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Nick Hewer (L) and Michael Whitehall attend a drinks reception ahead of a special screening of "Whiplash" at The Soho Hotel on January 14, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 08: Nick Hewer attends as Oyster Bar J Sheekey launches it's first cook book 'Fish' at J Sheekey Saint Martin's Court on November 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Nick Hewer and Karren Brady attend The Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2012 at The Royal Festival Hall on May 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Nick Hewer attends The 2012 Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall on May 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Winners of Best Reality or Constructed Factual for 'The Young Apprentice' Karren Brady, Lord Alan Sugar and Nick Hewer pose in front of the winners boards at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2012 held at Royal Festival Hall on May 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Nick Hewer (L) and Karren Brady arrive at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2012 at Royal Festival Hall on May 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
(Left-right) Margaret Mountford, Sir Alan Sugar, Nick Hewer and Adrian Chiles attend the launch of The Apprentice - Series 4, at RIBA in Portland Place, central London. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Sir Alan Sugar (second right) with his assistants on the show Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer (right), and presenter of The Apprentice: You're Fired Adrian Chiles, launche a new series of The Apprentice, at the London Stock Exchange. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Nick Hewer attends an event to launch African Fairtrade gold at the Goldsmith�s Centre, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION. Picture date: Thursday September 21, 2017. Unregulated gold mining has led to conflicts in the mining sector, competition for land use, smuggling, child labour and human rights abuses. Fairtrade will also launch a one-off photography exhibition by award-winning Magnum photographer Ian Berry, called �Mine to Maker�, at the Goldsmiths Centre and will be open to the public until 27th October. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Gold. Photo credit should read: David Parry/PA Wire
Undated handout picture of Nick Hewer, Sir Alan Sugar's advisor for BBC1 programme, The Apprentice, at home with his 20-year-old Renault 4L.
Undated handout picture of Nick Hewer, Sir Alan Sugar's advisor for BBC1 programme, The Apprentice, at home with his 20-year-old Renault 4L.
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"As someone in his 77th year, who will be in his 10th year hosting the great British institution that is Countdown, I think it's time to smell the flowers and get a dog.

"But let me now take the opportunity to say that it's been a privilege and a pleasure to take the helm of Countdown, first broadcast broadcast back in 1982 and still a Guinness record holder."

He thanked Channel 4 and his "wonderfully talented" co-hosts Susie Dent and Rachel Riley among others.

The presenter also wished his successor luck, writing: "And so, to whoever takes my seat, I wish you every success and hope that you have as much fun and reward as I've enjoyed."

Hewer previously announced in November that he would not be hosting Countdown while lockdown measures remained in place across the UK.

He joined the show, which debuted in 1982 and has seen multiple presenting line-ups, in 2012, taking over from sports presenter Jeff Stelling.

Formerly a public relations consultant, Hewer met ex-Amstrad owner Lord Sugar through work and eventually joined him as an adviser on The Apprentice on BBC One, launching a career on TV.

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