Anne Robinson admits to nerves as she hosts first episode of Countdown

Anne Robinson admitted she felt some nerves as she hosted her first episode of Countdown.

The veteran TV star, 76, is the first woman to host the Channel 4 show and takes over the reins from Nick Hewer.

Her first episode opened with an archive clip of an appearance she made on the show in the 1980s.

After it played she said: “Not my first appearance. If you’re trying to work it out, that was 1987, and the clue was my hairdo. Bay City Rollers, very Bay City Rollers.”

New Countdown host Anne Robinson
The new all-female line up for Countdown of Rachel Riley, Anne Robinson and Susie Dent (Rachel Joseph/Channel4)

After one of the contestants admitted they felt nervous about appearing on the show, Robinson replied: “That’s two of us.”

The presenter was known for her cutting remarks and severe demeanour when she hosted quiz show the The Weakest Link, but appeared to show a friendlier side on Countdown.

Discussing a previous time she had appeared on television with lexicographer Susie Dent, Dent told Robinson: “You attended my very first bit of live TV and I lost my cue completely and you could have annihilated me, but instead you very gently led me to the right question.

“So I will forever be grateful for that.”

Robinson replied: “I’m so glad I wasn’t on that other programme.”

Dent was joined in dictionary corner by impressionist Rory Bremner, who informed Robinson that “more men called Des” had hosted Countdown than women.

Robinson is no stranger to blazing a trail and as assistant editor of the Mirror in the early 1980s, she became the first woman to regularly edit a national newspaper.

Asked how tough a time it was, she told ITV’s Lorraine: “I think probably at that time because there were fewer women they were quite feisty women.

“And what’s happened now is that very clever girls who perhaps aren’t so resilient are in the workplace. And it’s tough for them. They don’t find it that easy. I sort of didn’t think it was that difficult.”

She continued: “I think if you come from a trading household, there’s not a lot of victim about you. And really if I was treated in a way I didn’t really like, I just sort of thought: ‘I’ll be in charge of you all soon.’

“Men when they feel frightened are quite comical about how they treat women. No-one told us it was bad of them to behave like that.”