There is speculation that Channel 4’s longest running programme Countdown could be facing the chop after ratings fell to an all-time low.

According to the Mirror the series – currently hosted by Nick Hewer and Rachel Riley – scored its worst ever audience in its 30-year history this week, with just 260,000 tuning in to Tuesday’s edition.

And it has sparked rumours that the show – which used to pull in audiences of up to 4m under original hosts Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman – may be on the way out.

Countdown is cheap to make but these figures are very worrying,” a source told the paper.

“The clock is ticking and this signals the beginning of the end. You can’t keep it on indefinitely just because it was history.”

Countdown was the first ever show to be screened on Channel 4, with Richard Whiteley fronting the show until his death in 2005.

Since then it has been hosted by Des O’Connor and Jeff Stelling before The Apprentice star Hewer took over in January 2012.

Carol Vorderman quit the series in 2008, with her final show scoring 1.8m viewers, while audiences during Stelling’s tenure hovered around the 1.3m mark.

A spokesman for Channel 4 said there were no plans to shelve the show, calling it ‘a core part of the daytime schedule’.

“It is currently due to stay on air throughout the year and is commissioned into 2014,” the spokesman added.