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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Richard Whiteley (1943-2005) RIP

John Richard Whiteley OBE (December 28, 1943 – June 26, 2005) was a British television presenter and journalist, most famous for presenting Countdown, a letters and numbers arrangement game show on Channel 4.

Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Whiteley was educated at Giggleswick School, North Yorkshire and Christ's College, Cambridge. The suits and ties he wore for Countdown had a reputation for their garishness, and it was fairly frequent for his co-presenter, Carol Vorderman, to comment on this. Whiteley also told many anecdotes and puns, which were often met by groans from other presenters and members of the audience. He had a cameo role as himself in the film About a Boy.

He was nicknamed Twice Nightly Whiteley, in reference to the time when he would present Yorkshire Television's Calendar News and the Countdown programme in the same evening. In a self-referential joke, he often altered this to Once Yearly, Nearly.

Whiteley had moderate international fame from a much-used clip of him being bitten by a ferret in a TV interview. He was also one of the first journalists at the scene of the 1984 Brighton bombing, having been in Brighton's Grand Hotel at the time of the explosion. He secured the scoop of being the first journalist to interview the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher after the bomb.

He held the honorary title of Mayor of Wetwang.

Whiteley presented the most TV shows in history, and was awarded an OBE in the June 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to Broadcasting.

His partner was actress Kathryn Apanowicz.

He died on 26 June 2005 at Bradford Royal Infirmary during an operation to combat an infection in a heart valve following a serious case of pneumonia. Shortly beforehand he had missed his first show on Countdown in 23 years.

Rest in peace Richard, even though I was never a regular viewer of your show, I did watch the odd show since the early 90's and thought on the shows you appeared on, u performed in a funny legendary way. RIP.

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