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Countdown’s Nick Hewer, 76, is replaced by Colin Murray as he shields at home amid Covid-19 lockdown

Countdown presenter Nick Hewer is taking a break from the show and is set to be replaced by presenter Colin Murray.

76-year-old Nick will be temporarily stepping away from the Channel 4 gameshow as he shields at home during the Covid-19 lockdown, despite having ‘military-style safety protocols’ in the studio.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Nick announced the news and joked that he would have liked to continue on the show, but his family have ‘handcuffed me to a radiator.’

Stepping down: Countdown presenter Nick Hewer is taking a break from the show and is set to be replaced by presenter Colin Murray

Former The Apprentice aide, who falls into the vulnerable category, began hosting the series in 2012, taking over from Jeff Stelling. 

He tweeted: ‘Good luck to Colin Murray, popular dictionary corner guest and Countdown fanatic, who takes over from me as host today and for the rest of Covid Lockdown recordings (although I’ll still be on your screens for a week or two) as this 76 year old shields at home…

‘In spite of the amazing military-style safety protocols put in place by ITV Studios and Channel4. 

Stepping in: Sports presenter Colin Murray, 43, will be temporarily hosting the show while Nick shields at home

Stepping in: Sports presenter Colin Murray, 43, will be temporarily hosting the show while Nick shields at home

He continued: ‘Between you and me, I’d have confidently carried on, but the family has handcuffed me to a radiator, saying ‘you’re not going anywhere’. So have fun Colin and keep my chair warm for me.’  

Responding to Nick’s comments, Colin, 43, penned: ‘That’s so very kind of you and much appreciated! You have calmed my nerves somewhat, so thank you! I shall make sure to keep your dressing room spotless! Love to the family Red heart.’

The show’s Susie Dent, who heads up the Dictionary Corner, joked: ‘We’ll still hear you shouting ‘CONIFERS’ from your workshop x.’

Announcement: Taking to Twitter on Monday, Nick announced the news and joked that he would have liked to continue on the show, but his family have 'handcuffed me to a radiator'

Announcement: Taking to Twitter on Monday, Nick announced the news and joked that he would have liked to continue on the show, but his family have ‘handcuffed me to a radiator’

Precautions: Former The Apprentice aide, who falls into the vulnerable category, began hosting the series in 2012, taking over from Jeff Stelling

Precautions: Former The Apprentice aide, who falls into the vulnerable category, began hosting the series in 2012, taking over from Jeff Stelling

While Nick’s co-host Rachel Riley said: ‘Stay safe TV husband! And good luck temporary TV boyfriend @ColinMurray.’

Regular guest Jenny Eclair tweeted: ‘I’m booked for the end of the month – I will miss you so much Nick – I look forward to our chats hugely x.’

While Rory Bremner wished Colin luck and sent well wishes to Nick, commenting: ‘You be sure of it! Was looking forward to seeing you but will catch you next time. Stay safe! And good luck to the lovely @ColinMurray.’ 

Production on Countdown was halted in May amid the coronavirus pandemic, but resumed filming in July with Nick in the hot seat. 

Replacement: Responding to Nick's comments, Colin, 43, penned: 'That’s so very kind of you and much appreciated! You have calmed my nerves somewhat, so thank you!'

Replacement: Responding to Nick’s comments, Colin, 43, penned: ‘That’s so very kind of you and much appreciated! You have calmed my nerves somewhat, so thank you!’

Comments: The show's Susie Dent, who heads up the Dictionary Corner, joked: 'We’ll still hear you shouting ‘CONIFERS’ from your workshop x'

Comments: The show’s Susie Dent, who heads up the Dictionary Corner, joked: ‘We’ll still hear you shouting ‘CONIFERS’ from your workshop x’

TV wife: While Nick's co-host Rachel Riley said: 'Stay safe TV husband! And good luck temporary TV boyfriend @ColinMurray'

TV wife: While Nick’s co-host Rachel Riley said: ‘Stay safe TV husband! And good luck temporary TV boyfriend @ColinMurray’

Messages: Jenny Eclair and Rory Bremner sent messages of support

Messages: Jenny Eclair and Rory Bremner sent messages of support

Speaking ahead of their return at the time, Countdown star Rachel, 34, said: ‘When we go back we won’t have any audience unfortunately. But like the rest of the country we are just going to play it by ear.

‘When we are in the studio, we should be able to socially distance as there is the space. The space in the studio is okay, we can mic ourselves up.

‘Nick is 76 so he has got to be a little bit careful.’

Countdown airs weekdays from 2.10pm on Channel 4. 

Staying safe: 'When we are in the studio, we should be able to socially distance as there is the space... Nick is 76 so he has got to be a little bit careful'

Staying safe: ‘When we are in the studio, we should be able to socially distance as there is the space… Nick is 76 so he has got to be a little bit careful’


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