Carol Vorderman ; 'I was forced out of Countdown'

'That's right ladies and gentlemen, the 30 second conundrum as solved by Carol Vorderman reads 'f o r c e d - o u t.'

Carol Vorderman, widely recognised as the big throbbing brain behind strangely addictive brainshow Countdown has been, in her words 'forced out of a job that I love'. In a move which would have Richard Whiteley turning in his grave, Vorderman was last week told to take a 90% pay cut or face the chop. The Countdown budget it was alleged had been slashed to shreds, and this left no room other than to cut back on presenter salaries.

"I was in shock and absolutely distraught at their ultimatum. After putting my heart and soul into the show for 26 years I was given just 48 hours to decide - take it or leave. To be honest, I loved Countdown so much I was thinking of taking the cut. In fact, in the right circumstances I'd have done it for free - but it was obvious they wanted me out" Carol told The News of The World. Carol also hit back at claims she had 'stropped out' at not being handed the crown after Richard Whiteley passed away (to some, as natural a progression as say Brown taking over from Blair.) Instead Des O Connor was given the job, and has since handed in his notice.

"It's not just like a TV programme to me, that's what's so hard. I hadn't demanded more money and I hadn't insisted on the No1 job. That's all lies. I was pushed into leaving something I love. I was forced out, that's the truth" says Carol.

Whiteley's partner of eight years Kathryn Apanowicz has also slammed producers for what she calls their 'callous' treatment of a 'good friend'. "As Richard's partner I can say he would be appalled. And I am more appalled than anything about that below the belt comment that was used saying 'It survived Richard Whiteley, it will survive you' - how dare they! Carol is an integral part of the show and it should not go on without her." With over 4,000 episodes under it's belt, Countdown is one of the longest running game shows in the world - and once which could just have dug itself a commercial grave. Can Countdown survive without Whitely, O Connor or Vorderman? Fingers on the buzzer.

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