Jeff Stelling quits as host of Countdown

Channel 4 seeks replacement as presenter prepares to focus on Sky Sports commitments

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Jeff Stelling is to leave his role as the presenter of Channel 4’s long-running words and numbers quiz Countdown.

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In an interview with Tenerife radio station Oasis FM, Stelling said he would be quitting the show at the end of the year to concentrate on his work at Sky Sports, where he will add Champions League presenting to his existing football hosting responsibilities.

“You’ve really got to have your priorities and my priority is football, I love it,” said Stelling, “so I’ve committed myself very much to that next season.”

“Because I’m doing Champions League for Sky, I’ve actually resigned from Countdown, so I’ll be finishing with that at the end of December.”

A spokesperson for Channel 4 said: “Jeff will continue to present Countdown until the end of the year. He’s had a brilliant three years on the show and we’re sad to see him go. We’re already talking to a number of people to find a replacement.”

But who exactly is Channel 4 considering for the role? As the broadcaster begins its search for a replacement, suggestions as to who it should be are flying around the Twitterverse.

Since the untimely death of much-loved original host Richard Whiteley, who presented Countdown from its inception in 1982 until he passed away in 2005, no-one has quite managed to re-capture the sense of quirky disorder he brought to the show.

So if names such as John Humphrys, Chris Hollins and Gyles Brandreth are a little too straight down the line for you, how about Jerry Sadowitz, X Factor star Wagner or, as one commentator suggested, Mohamed Al Fayed?

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Who do you think should present Countdown?