Countdown, like many other productions across the world, had to halt filming earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the interest of their cast and crew’s safety. Channel 4 had to pump the breaks just as they began filming the new series, with Rachel Riley previously telling Radio Times that bosses are “playing it by ear” when they would be able to return to the studio.
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The Maths whizz revealed the broadcaster have a date in mind for July when they can all get back to work but need to be cautious about their elderly host Nick Hewer.
“Nick [Hewer] is in the protected age category, so we won’t be rushing back — safety remains paramount,” she told the publication.
There were a fair few rumours going around that the 76-year-old veteran quiz master would be “replaced” due to fears surrounding his safety, but Rachel has since appeared to quash those claims.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “I think at the moment our intentions are for us all to come back together as the same team when it’s safe to do so.”
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“Obviously it will be up to individual discretion but I think the plan is when it’s safe, we won’t have an audience, but we will try and do the show,” the new mum explained.
Rachel noted that because of the show’s set up, it might be easier to work around the all-important social distancing rules.
“Luckily in the studio everything’s quite far away and we’re positioned away from each other anyway so it will just be a matter of travelling up in whatever manner is suggested at the time and it’s very risk assessed,” she said.
“We’ll trust our employers.”
Throughout the pandemic, the government have considered people over 70 to be at greater risk of catching the deadly virus and suffering more severe cases than the rest of the population.
In the ONS figures up to 24 April, 81.5% of the deaths in England and Wales for which the virus had been mentioned on the death certificate were for people aged over 70.
While 262 out of 100,000 people between 75 and 84 have died with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates, the figure for over-85s is 718 per 100,000.
But in recent weeks where we’ve seen the lockdown rules relaxed, there have been no specific announcements that have distinguished between age groups.
After the government said single adult households who are “struggling” are allowed to meet one other household, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people who are vulnerable from joining in.
Speaking at the daily press conference on June 10, the Prime Minister said: “Unfortunately we cannot advise anyone who is shielding to form a support bubble at this stage, given their particular vulnerability to the virus.
But from what Rachel says and the fact Nick is adamant that as soon as he can he will be sat in the quiz master’s chair, we might be welcoming the new series of Countdown sooner than we think!
Countdown airs weekdays at 2.10pm on Channel 4.