Strictly Come Dancing star John Sergeant is the new favourite to take over as host of Countdown.

The political correspondent, 64, is apparently set to replace Des O’Connor who is quitting the Channel 4 quiz at the end of the year, according to reports in The Sun.

The news comes after Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and comic Alexander Armstrong apparently both turned down the job.

An insider said: “Alexander turned it down flat and Jeff doesn’t reckon he can balance it with his Sky Sports work. So producers have set their sights on John. They were thinking of a younger presenter, but John has a massive fanbase through Strictly.”

Pals say John is keen as he ‘loves words’. One said: “He’s also a bit of a wag, having been a comedian in his younger years, so would keep things light.”

I’m A Celebrity winner Christopher Biggins had also been in the frame to take over from Des, and admitted he would “love to do it”.

Channel 4 wants to sign someone up before filming begins in Leeds in the new year.

The search is also on to find a replacement for maths wizard Carol Vorderman, who is also quitting at the end of the year.