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Carol Vorderman supported by fans as she reflects on Countdown milestone and late friend

The TV presenter fronted Countdown for 26 years

Carol Vorderman has marked a special milestone with the Countdown family. Taking to her social media pages on Tuesday, the 60-year-old revealed that it has been nearly four decades since she filmed her first episode with the late Richard Whiteley.

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"39 years ago today I started on the telly with my beloved Richard Whiteley on Countdown as the first ever show broadcast on the new channel @Channel4. I was 21," she said.

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WATCH: Carol Vorderman shares touching clip of first day on Countdown

"We had 23 cheeky happy laughing years together until he died. The clock stopped too soon and I still miss him [heart emoji]."

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Detailing how they were unaware how big the daytime Channel 4 programme would become, Carol added: "But on that first show I had no idea what was going on...none of us did... this was such a big deal back then.

"There was only ITV, BBC1 and BBC2. No satellite TV, no breakfast TV, broadcasting started at lunchtime on 3 channels and ended after the news at 1030. No Internet, hardly a computer, no emails, nothing like that. Life was basic but happy."

She added: "We were so excited about the 1st show 1982. I had a proper job then & Countdown was an extra. We never thought it would last beyond the 8 weeks it was booked for! I was paid £20 a show which was a fortune to me.

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Carol pictured with the late Richard Whiteley, who died in 2005

"Richard & I worked hard. We loved our 'Countdowners' (everyone who watched). As far as we were concerned we were all one family.... all of us, presenters, crew and Countdowners, we were having a good time together."

Countdown swiftly became Channel 4's biggest show for decades, pulling in millions of viewers every day. "Nobody got higher ratings than little old us, with a teapot for a prize, some sticky back letters, a daft maths game and a lot of love," explained Carol. "I made 5,000 shows over 26 years and it was only ever with love #onlylove."

Turning her attention towards their fans, Carol concluded: "Thank you everyone for letting us have those happy happy years.

"Thank you to all the Nans, and the shift workers and children coming home from school and everyone who worked in restaurants and cafes (on in their shift breaks) and all of you who shared the love of words and sums and laughing and teasing. It meant the world to Whiters and I. It really did."

Fans were quick to comment, with one writing: "Lovely words. My appreciation for the show is the theme music and how it invokes memories of grandparents, my Mum, after school…" Another remarked: "Fantastic write up, wonderful memories. God bless you both."

A third post read: "I remember watching countdown with my mother we loved it, the show help me with my maths too."

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