'Countdown' resumes filming with 76-year-old Nick Hewer back as host

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·2 min read
'Countdown' host Nick Hewer is on the COVID vulnerable list due to his age. (PA)
'Countdown' host Nick Hewer is on the COVID vulnerable list due to his age. (PA)

Countdown has resumed filming again with Nick Hewer returning as host.

The 76-year-old former star of The Apprentice is classed as clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 due to his age.

Channel 4 said in a statement: “Great news! Countdown has returned to the studio. Following social distancing guidelines of course. We look forward to seeing Nick Hewer, Rachel Riley and Susie Dent back on air with new shows on Channel 4 soon.”

The layout of the Countdown studio means the presenters and contestants are all positioned at a distance from one another anyway.

Hewer took over as host of the game show, which tests contestant’s maths and spelling skills in a time limit of 30 seconds, in 2012.

Read more: Countdown's Rachel Riley has to spell out another saucy word

Mathematician Riley, 34, welcomed her first child, daughter Maven, in December 2019. She had just returned from maternity leave to film a new series of the quiz show in March, shortly before lockdown began.

Riley is married to professional dancer Pasha Kovalev, who she met when she competed in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.

Read more: Rachel Riley 'feels guilty' enjoying family help with baby daughter during lockdown

As lockdown restrictions have begun to relax, TV production has slowly started to get up and running again.

This week the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, STV and ITN announced they have teamed up to create new guidelines which allow filming to take place without social distancing.

This is to allow shows – including dramas, soaps and reality shows like Strictly Come Dancing – to be able to go ahead when cast and crew, “unavoidably need to be in close contact with each other.”

The rules proposed rules include placing small groups of cast and crew members in a social bubble to allow them to spend a minimal amount of time in close contact after being tested for COVID-19 48 hours before arriving on set.