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Jeff Stelling will leave 'Countdown', claims insider

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Countdown host Jeff Stelling

© Rex Features

Jeff Stelling will leave Countdown at the end of the year, a show insider has claimed.

The Sky Sports broadcaster, who has hosted the long-running Channel 4 gameshow since January 2009, was said to have had a change of heart last month.

However, channel controller Jay Hunt is keen to bring in a new face following a flurry of emails and letters from presenters who are interested in the job, according to The Mirror.

A source told the paper: "Jeff really hoped to stay on Countdown. He loves doing the show and felt he could have made a mistake by quitting. But we felt he messed us around a bit.

"Jay was considering keeping him but saw the wave of emails from talent and agents asking to do the job. So she stood her ground and has decided it is time for a change."

The insider added that Stelling was unhappy about the decision, but said: "Perhaps he should have thought about that when he originally quit, out of the blue."

It is thought that channel bosses may consider an all-female lineup for the programme. Co-host Rachel Riley, who replaced Carol Vorderman in 2009, will reportedly stay with the show for at least another year.

Watch a clip from Jeff Stelling's Countdown debut in 2009 below:

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