Life Of Riley
Southend's Rachel Riley had just left university when she was picked from 1,000 applicants to replace Carol Vorderman on one of the most popular shows, Countdown!
Rachel was born in Rochford Hospital a little more than three years after Countdown became the first programme to ever to be broadcast on the newly-launched Channel 4.
Rachel attended Thorpe High School and then went on to Southend High School For Girls. She then went on to read maths at Oriel College in Oxford whilst also playing womens football and coaching the college netball team.
Rachel left college with a 2:1 after a four-year masters' course and then began job hunting. This is when Rachel began hearing of the nationwide search to replace Carol Vorderman on Countdown.
She then filled out an application form from the supporting and willingness from her family which she then didn't expect to hear anything back from. However, she then became one of a hundred of the original 1,000 applicants to be invited for an interiew.
"I was really excited. I bought a load of Countdown books and practised. I did about 500 puzzles a day while commuting to my job in London."
At the interview, she had to solve number puzzles while a machine played Countdown music to pile on the pressure.
"Then it broke down, so they'd shout, '10, 15, 20 seconds' at me, which was quite off-putting while you're trying to work out numbers."
Her first Countdown shows were broadcast in January, 2009. Replacing the legendary Carol Vorderman was no easy task, and Rachel came in for quite a bit of press scrutiny.
She would love one day to present a TV show promoting maths and science, but for now she is happy making the most of the new life she could never have imagined as an Oxford maths student.
"I'm just enjoying every moment".
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