Nick Hewer has quit Countdown after ten years of hosting.
The presenter, 76, took to Twitter on Monday to announce the news as he admitted the coronavirus pandemic had forced him to rethink his future.
Nick revealed that he won’t be renewing his contract in January as he approaches turning 77 in February.
Stepping down: Nick Hewer has quit Countdown
The former Apprentice star had recently stepped away from the Channel 4 gameshow to shield at home during the second coronavirus lockdown, where he was replaced by Colin Murray, 43.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, Nick tweeted: ‘Delighted to be back in the Countdown studio after another enforced lockdown, BUT this latest lockdown has given me an opportunity to consider my future life.
‘I’ve decided it’s a good time to step down at the end of my contract in the New Year. As someone in his 77th year, who will be in his 10th year hosting the great British institution that is Countdown, I think it’s time to smell the flowers and get a dog.
‘But let me now take the opportunity to say that it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to take the helm of Countdown, first broadcast back in 1982 and still a Guinness recordholder.
‘And although I’ll be on your screens well into 2021, let me thank the broadcasters Channel 4, the truly dedicated and unwaveringly professional studio crew and production staff at ITV Studios who make the programmes.
‘All 250 or so a year, my wonderfully talented co-hosts Susie Dent and Rachel Riley but above all, the quirky genius of producer Damian Eadie, who never ceases to amuse and who always demands the best of us.
‘And a sincere thanks to our loyal viewers and of course the legions of contestants who battle their brains out for the chance of carrying off the Richard Whiteley Trophy or a priceless teapot.
‘And so, to whoever takes my seat, I wish you every success and hope that you have as much fun and reward as I’ve enjoyed. @C4Countdown @susie_dent @RachelRileyR.’ (sic)
It comes after Nick took a break from the show in November and was replaced by presenter Colin Murray.
76-year-old Nick temporarily stepped away from the Channel 4 gameshow as he shielded 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.’
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
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’
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!’
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’
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’