Carol Vorderman‘s showbiz pals have slammed Countdown bosses for their treatment of the popular hostess – and say that the show CAN’T go on without her.

Celebrities who regularly appear on the show’s Dictionary Corner rallied to support Carol, who claimed she quit because she was told to take or leave a 90 per cent pay cut.

And to add insult to injury, Carol was then told: “The show survived without Richard Whiteley. It can survive without you.”

Dictionary Corner’s Rick Wakeman, Esther Rantzen, Sian Lloyd and Ingrid Tarrant were all quick to defend Carol, who has been Countdown’s resident maths wizard for 26 years.

Musician Rick said: “She has been really badly treated. I have probably made my last appearance in Dictionary Corner but I don’t care. People can make themselves irreplaceable and I think lots of people do tune in for Carol.”

Presenter Ingrid echoed Rick’s views, saying: “It’s disgusting. You have to stand loyal to her. If it came down to it, then I wouldn’t go on it on principle.”

Former That’s Life host Esther agreed: “I’m absolutely astonished that she’s been treated with such an extraordinary lack of good manners.”

And weathergirl Sian added: “It’s hard to imagine what appeal the show will have without her.”

Loyal Countdown fans were up in arms too. Former contestant Mike Brown said: “It could be a huge blow and the show might struggle to recover.”