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Exclusive – Susie Dent is looking forward to “new era” of Countdown as she reveals sadness over Nick Hewer’s departure

Anne Robinson will take over from Nick Hewer on the Channel 4 show this Summer.

Susie Dent

This Summer, Countdown will welcome its new host in the form of ex-Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson.

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She will take over from Nick Hewer, who joined the show almost 10 years ago in 2012, replacing Jeff Stelling at the start of series 66.

This will be the first time the Channel 4 game show has had a female host since it started in 1982, and one person who is looking forward to this “new era” is lexicographer Susie Dent, who’s in charge of Dictionary Corner.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Dent, who has teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa for their Word of the Day feature, revealed she will “miss” Hewer, who she says has been “genuine friend” to her during his time on the show.

However, she’s keen to see how the dynamic will change with “three brainy women” working together, as Anne has described herself, Susie and co-presenter Rachel Riley.

When asked how she feels about Hewer leaving, Dent said: “I feel really sad, genuinely, because he is a friend. He’s also a real mischief maker, and he is well aware of some of the innuendo that is happening when I’m not and will very innocently ask me to explain something, knowing it’s probably going to be a rude definition. So he’s very mischievous, he’s extremely dry and he’s also incredibly kind and such a supportive person. He goes out of his way to help people in their careers or in their lives. I will definitely miss him.

“I’m looking forward to the new era as well. I have spoken to [Anne] and I know she’s really looking forward to it. I know she really enjoys the programme. She says, ‘It’s three brainy women working together,’ which is great!”

Susie has seen many presenters on the Channel 4 show come and go since joining Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman on the show in 1992.

“I used to say, ‘It’s just me and the clock left,’ and then the clocks were replaced,” she laughed.

“I’ve worked with lots of different presenters and each one has brought something new to the game. So, I’m very much looking forward to Anne and seeing what her style will be.”

While the host will change, Susie hopes the programme will remain pretty much the same “because of the enduring format”.

“Every presenter brings their own personality to it and that will be very obvious, but I think, in terms of people who love to watch and play the game, that’s not going to be any different at all.”

She added: “I have no idea what the new dynamic will be but I know it’s going to be a good one. I’ve experienced this a few times and it’s always been really interesting and it gives a renewed sense of energy and zest. I know Anne is very funny too, so I think it will feel different, but I also think that people will find that it’s as strong and compelling as ever!”

Countdown stars Nick Hewer and Susie Dent with Rachel Riley
Countdown stars Nick Hewer and Susie Dent with Rachel Riley
Channel 4

Susie often shares a “word of the day” with her followers on Instagram and Twitter, and is currently working with Amazon to do the same.

According to data from Amazon, over 80 per cent of people feel nervous communicating because of their vocabulary. Susie is hoping to change that narrative.

“There’s clearly a real aspiration that I think to him to have a bigger vocabulary and to just indulge in the pure joy of English and and its richness and its versatility,” she said.

“So what I tried to choose for the campaign were a selection of words that were from the historical dictionary that I really think we need to bring back because there’s such a clear need for them or just words that many people will already be familiar with, like ‘oxymoron’, for example. But words that perhaps we don’t feel entirely confident with because we’re not 100 per cent sure of the meaning or the context in which we should use them. So it was to try and meet those aspirations that Amazon data clearly shows out there, and also to have some fun with it!”

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Susie’s Word of the Day on Alexa runs from Thursday 18th March 2021 to Thursday 15th April 2021. Countdown airs weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for all the latest news.