Belfast’s Colin Murray reveals his happiness at landing ‘dream job’ hosting Countdown

Belfast radio and television presenter Colin Murray has spoken of his career happiness at landing the job as full-time host of Channel 4’s Countdown.

he 45-year-old made his debut on the show to rave reviews in July as the temporary host after Anne Robinson stepped down and Murray has previously described it as his “dream job”.

His tenure on the daytime game show has now been extended until March, while he will also continue with his late-night 5 Live radio programme.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the long-time fan of the show from his student days explained how happy he was and has also ended up “proper close friends, inner-circle friends” with Countdown favourite Susie Dent.

He also told the newspaper a government scheme sending him on a trip to Canada at 18-years-old left him left him seeing “more kinds of diversity than I’d seen in 18 years” and “blew the world wide open” compared to life in Belfast.

“You could stop me now and I’d be dead happy,” he told the newspaper.

“Yesterday, I was sitting during the round and all of a sudden I got a second where I was a kid again. I saw the clock and I just thought: ‘F*** me. What’s going on?’

“[However] I am absolutely aware that if Richard Osman turns around tomorrow and goes: ‘I’d like to host Countdown’, I’m out.

“Doesn’t matter what my ratings are like.”

While this year seems to be marking one of the highlights of the Dundonald man’s career, he also touched on what he said were the three unhappiest years of his life – hosting BBC’s Match of the Day 2, as well as a controversial moment on BBC Five Live’s Fighting Talk show in 2013.

“I don’t think the pundits were quite ready for the change — apart from [former Arsenal player] Lee Dixon — so I think you had a situation where [the BBC] wanted a different type of show, but they didn’t bother to send a memo,” Murray said of Match of the Day 2.

“All of a sudden, there’s this person who’s still young enough to be a footballer, still going to games. I was like a proper fan on air.

“We were the first show that loosened the tie. You never want to be the first show that stops wearing the suit and starts wearing a f***ing jumper, right? Whereas now, that’s every show.”

Speaking about a Fighting Talk skit involving the broadcaster Clare Balding, Murray said it was a “bad moment”.

The incident happened during a recording of the show when he read out the topic for one of the rounds called Defend the Indefensible: “Give me 20 minutes with her and I’m pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding.”

“It was a bad moment for sure, but I was handed a bit of paper and I read it out. That’s it. That’s all I did.

“It wouldn’t happen now. Thank God, we evolve and become better people — it is on men to become better.”

Colin Murray is on Channel 4’s Countdown Monday-Friday at 2.10pm.

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