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Punters counting on Carol.

BOOKIES have slashed the odds on TV show Countdown getting its first woman presenter.

Carol Vorderman is one of the hot favourites since punters began betting on several females in line for the host's job.

Several bookies have cut the maths expert's odds to 8-1.

Angela Rippon, Jo Brand, Sue Lawley and Jennie Bond have all also seen changes in prices.

Darren Haines, of bookmakers Paddy Power, said: "There has been money for several women, including Carol.

"She is well liked and some punters clearly think it is time for a woman to take over.

"It will be interesting to see if TV bosses take the one from the top this time round and put Carol in the chair."

William Hill and Paddy Power have also had interest for comic Jo Brand, who has appeared in the Channel 4 show's Dictionary Corner.

Rupert Adams, of William Hill, said: "Carol is the thinking man's totty, so she'd be a good choice.

"The problem then would be they would have to find a male maths geek."

However, sources suggested last night that Vorderman, 47, who has been on the show since it began in 1982, may not want to put herself forward for the role.

One Channel 4 insider said: "The problem with a woman is whether we'd lose the chemistry Carol has with the host. The friendly flirting would be gone."

Rivalling Vorderman with odds of 8-1 is actor Stephen Fry.

But telly veteran Michael Aspel is well out in front at 4-1, with Gyles Brandreth, one of the show's stalwarts, on 6-1.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 25, 2008
Words:266
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