Rachel Riley Biography
Rachel Riley had no desire to become a television presenter but, she loved maths. She gained an Upper 2nd Class Honours Degree in Maths at Oriel College, Oxford and was all set to become a data analyst for a London website.
Then Carol Vorderman announced she was leaving "Countdown". Riley's mother, a charity fundraiser married to a city auditor, was a huge fan of the show and encouraged her daughter to apply. More than 1,000 applicants were after the job and she had to undergo a series of gruelling auditions.
These included playing the numbers game timed by the "Countdown" clock. "I practised and practised beforehand and I also bought five "Countdown" puzzle books to help me" she said. "But nothing can prepare you for playing against the music and the clock."
She must have done something right as the Essex girl was chosen over all the other applicants, despite having no television experience.
"I was terrified and excited at the same time when I heard," she said. Carol Vorderman had been on the show for 26 years, she started the job three years before Riley was born.
"There was only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it, so I was absolutely thrilled" she said.
Rachel Riley started the job on January 12th 2009, the same time as the new presenter, Sky Sports Reporter Jeff Stelling. She gets on well with Jeff and said he has been a great support to her. She also received a large bouquet of flowers from Carol Vorderman when she started the job.
"The whole thing has been surreal," she said. "Since the auditions my feet have not touched the ground."
She has now split with her long-term boyfriend Jamie Gilbert, a fellow Oxford Undergraduate. They dated for four-and-a-half years after meeting when she first went to University. She said the split was amicable and they have remained close friends, they just drifted apart.
Riley is a keen Manchester United supporter and has attended games at Old Trafford with her Salford-born father since she was 10-tears-old. She recently presented a programme on MUTV featuring a tour of United's training ground at Carrington. She hopes her new-found fame will allow her to do more features on her favourite tea.
She has not allowed fame to go to her head and she still lives with her parents. Riley says she is enjoying the show and is building up her own fan base. She has been praised for her short coloured dresses and been called the "sexy new producer".
Rachel Riley knew Vorderman was a hard act to follow and is trying to make her own mark, not to be a substitute Vorderman. She loves the figure side of it and has no desire to spread her wings into other forms of television presenting.