Ryan Giggs surprises Rachel Riley on Countdown

Footballer presents number-wrangler with a Manchester United shirt to celebrate her 1,000th episode

The Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs is to appear on tomorrow’s edition of Channel 4 daytime quiz Countdown.

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The episode is the 1,000th to feature Rachel Riley as the show’s resident maths expert. Because Riley is a keen fan of Man Utd, show bosses and presenter Nick Hewer arranged for Giggs to surprise her during the recording and present her with a Man Utd shirt.

“I had no inkling that I had just filmed my 1,000th episode when Nick announced it on the show, and I was touched that the Countdown team had surprised me with the news,” Riley said. “As Nick continued, I thought they might have got me a bunch of flowers. But I nearly fell through the floor when Ryan Giggs suddenly appeared with some!”

Riley – who was born in 1986 – added: “As a lifelong red, I’ve watched Giggsy rack up 1,000-plus appearances since I was five, so there couldn’t have been a more special way to celebrate mine. I’m really privileged to have a job that I love working on and on such an iconic show. I can’t thank the team and Ryan enough for such an amazing surprise. My signed ‘Riley 86’ shirt will be taking pride of place at home.”

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Riley joined Countdown in 2009 as a replacement for Carol Vorderman, having been found via an open audition process. She had no previous TV experience. She has recently joined C5’s The Gadget Show as a presenter. Her 1,000th edition of Countdown airs tomorrow on C4 at 3.10pm.