COUNTDOWN viewers have rushed to defend Rachel Riley’s replacement Anne-Marie Imafidon after she was the subject of vile racist abuse from trolls.
The 31-year-old joined the cast of the popular Channel 4 show earlier this month.
On December 13 2021, Rachel announced that she’d be temporarily leaving Countdown as part of her maternity leave, but would be back in 2022.
And her shoes have been filled by Anne-Marie, a former mathematics child prodigy, who passed an astonishing two GCSEs whilst still in primary school.
But a number of trolls took to Twitter to say that she was given the role to “tick boxes” and there were “politically progressive motivations” behind the choice.
Many don’t agree with their views and have taken to the platform to praise Anne-Marie for her amazing achievements and support her time on the programme.
One wrote: “1ST TIME IN HISTORY!! Congratulations @aimafidon first black woman on countdown….you did good girl, proud of you.”
Another said: “Imagine being the youngest ever Masters graduate, a mathematician, a Dr and a CEO – and then people question if it’s a diversity hire. *this* is the problem. Dr Anne-MarieImafidon – you’ll be incredible on @C4Countdown.”
Most read in TV
A third chimed in: “Anne-MarieImafidon is a fabulous replacement to @RachelRileyRR and I find it hard to stomach the inherent racism she is subject to.”
A fourth added: “The audacity to call Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon a “Diversity Appointment” when she is the most qualified person to ever host Countdown. Please, let’s put respect on Dr Anne-Marie’s name.”
Anne-Marie comes from an extremely clever family as her three younger siblings – Christina and twins Peter and Paula – are also child prodigies.
After gaining her GCSES, Anne-Marie went on to pass A-Level maths and computer science at just 11-years-old.
Then in 2010, aged 20, she graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master of Mathematics and Computer Science (MMathComSci) degree.
Rachel announced that she was taking some time away from filming ahead of the birth of her second child.
The 35-year-old star joked, in reference to 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown: “I’ve had word from Channel 4, apparently one mash-up is enough for this show, they don’t want to turn it into one born every minute.
“So I’m being retired off to have my baby.”
Countdown is filmed in advance and Rachel has actually already given birth to a daughter named Noa, who she welcomed on November 5, 2021.