Carol Vorderman has said that she was “forced” to leave Channel 4’s Countdown after being told to take a 90 per cent pay cut by show bosses.
In a statement released through her manager John Miles, the 47-year-old said she was “devastated” to be leaving the showin such a manner, and had spoken out so that “Countdown viewers and all the team would know the truth”.
The 47-year-old revealed that she had offered to accept a 30 per cent pay cut in line with budget cuts being made by ITV Productions, who make Countdown for Channel 4.
However bosses turned down her suggestion and told her she was offered just 10 per cent of her current salary – and given 48 hours to decide whether to take it or leave it.
And she felt she was left with no choice but to quit after being told by show bosses, “We survived without Richard Whiteley – we can easily survive without you.”
“I am devastated that my joyous time with one of the best programmes on TV has ended this way,” Vorderman said in the statement.
“I was happy to continue doing the numbers and letters for years to come,” she added. “I wish all of my friends and colleagues every success in the future. I’ll miss them all.”
Miles said he released the statement after a series of off the record media briefings suggesting that she left the programme because she was demanding more money – while other rumours suggest that she quit because she was not offered the presenter’s job.
“This is not true,” he said. “Carol has never claimed that she is indispensable. But I was stunned that my client’s 26 loyal years was discarded in such a cavalier manner.”
He added, “Carol was also offered the job of hosting the programme on three separate occasions since Richard died and she declined.”
A spokeswoman for ITV told the Sunday Mirror that Vorderman had not been “forced out”.
“”Carol was asked to take a pay cut. We were looking to make savings because Channel 4 were looking to pay us less for the show.”
“If she had accepted what we were offering her she still would have been paid an awful lot of money for putting some numbers up on a board.”
Vorderman’s departure comes just days after current presenter Des O’Connor announced he would be leaving the show at the end of the year.
She has been with Countdown since it launched Channel 4 in November 1982.