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parrot_knight [userpic]

The Vorderman succession

July 28th, 2008 (01:54 pm)

Media Guardian reports:

Among the plans to shore up Britain's favourite afternoon parlour game, Channel 4 sources have suggested they will launch a nationwide search for Britain's "brainiest maths graduate" to replace Vorderman.

A source close to the show said the search would allow a new face to enjoy the exposure that Vorderman had when she joined the show as a maths graduate 26 years ago.


I think I know a lot of recent maths graduates. Anyone out there interested in the Countdown job?

(Didn't Carol herself do engineering, though?)

Comments

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)

She did, indeed, and only got a third.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)

I've known some very distinguished people get thirds in my time, though none in engineering. ISTR reading that she was too much of a party animal and didn't match her potential.

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
Neuromancer

My immediate response is that it would be a bit of a shame if "Britain's brainiest maths graduate" went into presenting Countdown, rather than, I dunno, solving quantum gravity or modelling the brain or something.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)

Agreed. Reminds me of a line in a book which I read recently, which suggested that all the 'rocket scientists' currently working in the financial sector would be better off building rockets.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
ICAEW

Is the book arguing that if someone is clever enough to have a choice of a) making the country and ordinary people richer by being clever in the financial sector or b) making weapons capable of killing thousands of people, then they should choose option b?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)

There are other applications for rockets, you know. The book argues that the current economic system is geared to keeping wages for most people down and exaggerating the earnings of those in the financial sector, so a) doesn't apply either.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Naraht (emily_shore)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:04 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: July 30th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC)

Posted by: serriadh (serriadh)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)

Is that what rocket scientists do? Or is it the going-into-space rocket that rocket scientists make? *sighs* It sounds a lot more complicated than brain surgery

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
ICAEW

Let's be honest, it won't be "Britain's brainiest maths graduate", it'll be "Britain's brainiest maths graduate OUT OF THE ONES WHO LOOK GOOD ON TV", and no offence to maths graduates out there, but that second criterion is really going to reduce the field of candidates!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)

Agreed, also...

Posted by: serriadh (serriadh)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)

Especially if we narrow that down to 'female maths graduates who look good on tv'. Preferably with sexy glasses.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)

I suspect they will go for someone young and pretty and female who wears glasses at the very least becomingly...

Edited at 2008-07-28 02:58 pm (UTC)

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)

They ought to balance it out with an English graduate. After all, she has to maniupulate letters as well as numbers.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)

Do you remember that there used to be a separate person who put the letters on the board? They were purely decorative, and the job was amalgamated with Carol's calculating one after a few years.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)

No. I bow to your superior knowledge of Countdown lore.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)

They were purely decorative, and the job was amalgamated with Carol's calculating one after a few years.

I know someone who was on Countdown recently, and can reveal that Carol's role is/was largely decorative too, as are the people in dictionary corner. There are people off-screen number crunching and finding words for them.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)

Wasn't her name 'Cathy'?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC)

Cathy Hytner! I had to look her up on Wikipedia last night. There was also Beverly Isherwood, who shared Carol's calculation job.

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)

Any 14 year old with good mental arithmetic could do it.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)

That was never me, though!

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 28th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Telperion

The fact she was paid 900k a year to do a bit of mental arithmetic is just unfathomable... how many maths teachers (and lectureres ;-) ) could have had their salary doubled with that money?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:21 am (UTC)

As daniel_saunders points out, she didn't necessarily do very much mental arithmetic herself, either.

The book which I cite earlier - The Gods that Failed - argues that of increased public sector spending under the present Labour government, 75% of it has gone into employing what they call 'lifestyle managers' rather than 'front line' people such as teachers or doctors; so even if more money was siphoned off - and a lot of that £900 000 will have been paid in tax of one sort or another, and gone into her own staff's wages (Carol probably works as a small business, with her own PA paid from her own income rather than directly by any of her employers) - the present government couldn't be trusted to increase the number of teachers on the back of it.

Posted by: The Two Trees (arda_unmarred)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Telperion

no, that's absolutely true that last bit...

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: July 29th, 2008 09:33 am (UTC)

Probably around 30?

Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: July 30th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)

The Vorderman Succession - Robert Ludlum's lost masterwork, surely?

I suspect that someone in the production team is working their way through batch after batch of old editions, looking for a telegenic contestant who was consistently numerate.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: July 30th, 2008 09:17 am (UTC)

I was indeed thinking along Ludlum-ish lines...

I suspect that there would be an enthusiastic response from Countdown fans. For many on one forum I looked at, the silver lining on the cloud of Richard Whiteley's death was that Channel Four realised that there was strength in the format, and that people didn't watch only for the Whiteley-Vorderman-Dictionary Corner guest backchat.