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Countdown’s Anne Robinson says she’d be sacked from The Weakest Link now because society is ‘woke’

Anne Robinson, who shot to global fame in the noughties as the glacial host of quiz show The Weakest Link, has revealed she thinks she would never get away with the things she used to say to contestants – because society is now too ‘woke’. 

Former journalist Robinson, who made her debut as the new host of Countdown on Monday, said she would ‘absolutely not’ be allowed to criticise contestants as she once did. 

The Weakest Link saw her earn legions of fans – and the programme bought by TV companies worldwide – thanks to her caustic put-downs to contestants and the catchphrase ‘You are the weakest link – goodbye’. 

She was known to utter insults including: ‘Who’s jaw needs to be wired shut?’ and ‘Who’s had no immunity against stupidity?’

Speaking to Woman’s Hour, she told Radio 4 presenter Chloe Tilley: ‘I wouldn’t get away with how I used to host Weakest Link today – absolutely not.

‘We’re in a different age, the woke age, where almost anything you say upsets someone.’ 

 

The wink is back! Countdown fans rejoiced as new host Anne Robinson signed off her first episode with her trademark goodbye wink at the end of the show – she’s the first female to sit in the presenter’s chair…and admitted to Woman’s Hour that there’s little trace of the Queen of Mean persona she had on The Weakest Link in the noughties

Robinson at the podium on The Weakest Link - she oversaw more than 1,690 episodes of Weakest Link between 2000 and 2012 and also hosted a short-lived American version of the show but says society now is too 'woke' and she would 'absolutely not' get away with the things she used to say contestants on the programme

Robinson at the podium on The Weakest Link – she oversaw more than 1,690 episodes of Weakest Link between 2000 and 2012 and also hosted a short-lived American version of the show but says society now is too ‘woke’ and she would ‘absolutely not’ get away with the things she used to say contestants on the programme

Robinson oversaw more than 1,690 episodes of Weakest Link between 2000 and 2012 and also hosted a short-lived American version of the show.

She said if she presented the show now, which is being rebooted with comedian Romesh Ranganathan, she’d have to curtail the queen of mean so as not to offend people.

Robinson said: ‘I wouldn’t like to be doing Weakest Link with sort of leg irons on, having to worry all the time, “We’ll have to cut this, we’ll have to cut that”…’ 

She added: ‘Language has changed and attitudes have changed. It was very lucky to be able to do it at the time I did it.

‘Someone was telling me the other day that I can’t say ‘mixed-race’ anymore, I’ve got to say ‘mixed heritage’, and I wonder why…’

ANNE ROBINSON’S PUT-DOWNS ON THE WEAKEST LINK 

‘Who’s had no immunity against stupidity?’ 

‘Who’s jaw needs to be wired shut?’ 

‘Who’s turning out to be thicker than a chocolate omelette?’

‘Who’s as much use as a bird with vertigo?’

‘Who is obviously denser than Sherwood Forest?’

The 76-year-old became the first ever female presenter to take the reins on Channel 4 quiz show Countdown, also said she believes there’s a ‘fascist element’ to censorship.  

‘What is the difference and who is telling me that I can’t say one and I must say the other? It’s impossible to keep up. I’d just like to meet these people who tell me how I must speak.’

The TV star said banning the use of certain words and phrases is was ‘the other side of the coin’ to the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote in the 1960s.

She said: ‘I don’t like things being banned. There’s a sort of fascist element to it.

‘Not personally, but women marched in the 60s for liberation, and to be able to do what they wanted and this seems the other side of the coin for me.

‘If we are going to pull down statues, wouldn’t it be more intelligent to keep the statues up and put another statue next to it, arguing the other side?

‘People are feeling pressurised by loud voices within communities and they’re fearful of saying what they really think, and that shouldn’t be the way. It’s a minority telling the majority what to do.’ 

There it is: Made famous during her stint as the 'queen of mean' on The Weakest Link [pictured], Anne's wink appeared to be the only quirk she was bringing with her to Countdown, exuding a notably softer side for the tea-time quiz

There it is: Made famous during her stint as the ‘queen of mean’ on The Weakest Link [pictured], Anne’s wink appeared to be the only quirk she was bringing with her to Countdown, exuding a notably softer side for the tea-time quiz

In her first stint as Countdown host on Monday, Anne showed a notably softer side for the tea-time quiz – although her trademark wink remained.   

The presenter admitted ahead of the episode that she had been ‘nervous’, and while some viewers picked up on this, they seemed impressed overall. 

Fans took to Twitter to comment on the Points Of View host’s premiere appearance.

One penned: ‘I’m so relieved that Anne Robinson did her trademark wink at the end of #Countdown!’

A second agreed: ‘Anne putting that legendary wink in at the end there. Well done Anne a great first show see you tomorrow #Countdown!’

A third wrote: ‘… don’t do the wink … don’t do the wink … don’t do the wink … s**t, she did the wink …’ 

Another penned: ‘She did her famous goodbye wink! Never watched #Countdown with Nick but Anne was brilliant!’

Anne has made history as the first female main host of the show, taking over from Nick Hewer, who served as the presenter for 10 years.

Wink and you'll miss it: Fans took to Twitter to comment on the Points Of View host's premiere appearance

Wink and you’ll miss it: Fans took to Twitter to comment on the Points Of View host’s premiere appearance

Anne joins lexicographer Susie Dent and mathematician Rachel Riley, both of whom welcomed her warmly to proceedings and told her she’d done a great job on her first episode.

Viewers tended to agree, with one penning: ‘A pretty sound start from Anne Robinson!’

Another agreed: ‘I must say she’s doing a good job of it so far!’

Another joked that she’d settled in ‘too well’, typing: ‘Anne Robinson’s not quite her usual lively self, is she? She’s settled into the comfy chair a little “too” well! They could do with changing the set so she looks like she’s sat by a roaring fire. Maybe give her a cat on her lap.’

'I was very nervous, you always are if you're doing a new show!' Anne appeared on Lorraine on Monday and admitted she had felt anxious filming the first few episodes of the show

‘I was very nervous, you always are if you’re doing a new show!’ Anne appeared on Lorraine on Monday and admitted she had felt anxious filming the first few episodes of the show

Flashback: Anne was a Dictionary Corner guest in April 1987

Flashback: Anne was a Dictionary Corner guest in April 1987

Others noted she was nervous, with one posting: ‘You can tell Anne is very nervous. I hope Anne does get into her own swing of things!’

Anne appeared on Lorraine on Monday and admitted she had felt anxious filming the first few episodes of the show. 

She said: ‘I’ve filmed some of the shows and I think I’m quite nervous on today’s and tomorrow’s. I think I get into the groove on about Wednesday. I was very nervous, you always are if you’re doing a new show.

‘What was thrilling was quite a few of the contestants were great, great, fun and at times it was just like doing The Weakest Link.’

Outgoing: Anne has made history as the first female main host of the show, taking over from Nick Hewer, who served as the presenter for 10 years

Outgoing: Anne has made history as the first female main host of the show, taking over from Nick Hewer, who served as the presenter for 10 years

Incoming: Anne joins lexicographer Susie Dent and mathematician Rachel Riley, both of whom welcomed her warmly to proceedings and told her she'd done a great job on her first episode

Incoming: Anne joins lexicographer Susie Dent and mathematician Rachel Riley, both of whom welcomed her warmly to proceedings and told her she’d done a great job on her first episode

Despite her show nerves, Anne didn’t hesitate in accepting Channel 4 bosses’ offer to take over from Nick on the programme.

‘They asked me and I didn’t even take 30 seconds to say, “Yeah, that’s great, that’s exactly what I want to do”. First of all, I’m sitting down. All those years I had to stand up.

‘It’s cerebral, it’s very authentic. It hasn’t changed over the years to make it up-to-date.’

Countdown continues on Channel 4 at 2:10PM on weekdays.

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