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Apprentice sidekick Nick is new host of Countdown

Nick Hewer, long-time aide to Alan Sugar, will take over as presenter of the Channel 4 show next month

Image: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Press Association Images

CHANNEL 4 HAS solved the conundrum of who the new host of Countdown will be – The Apprentice adviser Nick Hewer.

Hewer, the acerbic sidekick to Alan Sugar on the hit tv show, will take over presenting duties from Jeff Stelling next month. His first episode will air in early January.

In a statement Hewer said: “I’m flattered to have been asked to present such an iconic programme and will work hard to justify sitting in the same seat as such great talents as Jeff Stelling, Des O’Connor and of course the great Richard Whiteley.

“It’s particularly fitting that I should be doing this now as my spelling has started to slip quite badly. I used to be able spell chrysanthemum”.

Hewer will join maths whizz Rachel Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent on the word game – the longest running series on Channel 4.

Hewer rose to prominence as one of two sidekicks to Alan Sugar on the BBC programme The Apprentice, after working with Sugar for almost 30 years.

He was educated in the Jesuit-run Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare.

Hewer will become the fifth host of the show which began 29 years ago this month. Richard Whitely presented the show from 1982 until his death in 2005. Since then, three presenters have hosted the show: Des Lynam, Des O’Connor and Jeff Stelling.

Hewer will begin recording the show next month. The first episode featuring him as host will be broadcast on Monday 9 January 2012.

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