Rachel Riley has shared some exciting news with her fans after taking part in a Q&A on Monday evening. Speaking to members from JLGB via video link, the 34-year-old revealed she is set to begin filming Countdown very soon.
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The new mum, who celebrated her first wedding anniversary with husband Pasha Kovalev on Sunday, confirmed she that is expecting to reunite with Nick Hewer to film new episodes back in the Channel 4 studios in Salford.
WATCH: Rachel Riley's baby daughter makes her Countdown debut
"We're going to be back in the studio imminently actually, I think government says everything will almost be open from 4 July, which means filming is back on," she shared. "I think we just have to get used to the new normal."
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Despite the exciting news, Rachel confirmed that there will be no live audience. "We're not going to have an audience unfortunately," she said. "But for Countdown it's probably less important than compared to a comedy show. We film 15 shows in three days so we would need at least 17 contestants I think it is."
Rachel and Pasha welcomed little Maven in December
Explaining how their filming guidelines will have to change due to social distancing, the TV star explained: "We can't have people travelling across the UK, so we're going to have to find more local people and navigate it more differently with hair and makeup. We'll make it work, we all really want to get back to work so hopefully Countdown will be back on soon – got my husband at home!"
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Time in lockdown has been precious for Strictly couple Rachel and Pasha as they have been able to spend some quality moments with their six-month-old baby Maven. Shortly after her birth in December, the new mum returned to work to film a few new episodes following her pregnancy.
The Strictly star is expected to start filming Countdown soon
However, with filming resuming once again, it will feel like the end of a second maternity. "I did five days of filming since I had the baby, I was ready to get back and was looking for a childminder and then it all happened," she admitted. "So now I've been at home, looking after the baby so it will be strange. It will be like the end of a maternity leave but she will be upstairs waiting for me. Between shows, I will go and feed her and play, find a new normal."
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"Everything revolves around the baby at the moment, she is six months old," Rachel further explained. "We're actually quite fortunate in a way because I was supposed to be back at work, I went back to Countdown and filmed two blocks because we film in three day sets up in Manchester and I live in London, so we're kind of up and down.
"Pasha was supposed to be on tour but obviously, with everything that's just happened, the work's gone and we've been at home with the baby. We've been loving the baby and she's been enjoying it. She's at the age where she doesn't need too many walks around the park, so we've been really lucky. We've been missing the grandparents but we could have been a lot worse."