Anne Robinson on why she got a facelift and how she dealt with sexism

The TV star will return to screens as the new host of Countdown.

Anne Robinson has compared having a facelift to getting her ears pierced as she revealed if she was ever treated in a way she did not like by a man in the workplace, she thought: ‘I’ll be in charge of you all soon.’

The veteran TV star, 76, will become the first female host of Countdown when she takes over the role from Nick Hewer on Monday.

The presenter has spoken openly about her decision to get a facelift in 2004 and told ITV’s Lorraine: “Otherwise people at home are thinking: ‘Why does she look like that?’ It seems very unfair.

New Countdown host Anne Robinson
Robinson with Rachel Riley and Susie Dent on Countdown (Rachel Joseph/Channel 4)

“But only because I’d been doing Watchdog and there was a point it was live and you couldn’t get the lighting to me when I walked over to the right hand side at the end.

“And I’d go home and play it back and I’d think: ‘Why is my mother saying: “Thanks for watching Watchdog and goodnight”?’

“If you have your ears pierced, what’s the difference?”

She added: “When I went to the surgeon, a rather nice one, he said there are some ‘definites’ that need doing, and some ‘maybes’ – and I said: ‘Do the definites and the maybes.’

As assistant editor of the Mirror in the early 1980s, Robinson became the first woman to regularly edit a national newspaper.

Asked how tough a time it was, she told presenter Lorraine Kelly: “I think probably at that time because there were fewer women they were quite feisty women.

“And what’s happened now is that very clever girls who perhaps aren’t so resilient are in the workplace. And it’s tough for them. They don’t find it that easy. I sort of didn’t think it was that difficult.”

Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards – London
Anne Robinson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She continued: “I think if you come from a trading household, there’s not a lot of victim about you. And really if I was treated in a way I didn’t really like, I just sort of thought: ‘I’ll be in charge of you all soon.’

“Men when they feel frightened are quite comical about how they treat women. No-one told us it was bad of them to behave like that.”

Asked what advice she would give on how to survive the world of work, she said: “I would say if you can speak Japanese and Mandarin, if you can get a top job in the City, then actually you need to practice how to deal with people who are going to be treacherous. It’s just another skill.

“It’s like a game. I remember a friend of mine was being made redundant and her lawyers said to her: ‘This is a game, stop taking it personally. This is just a game, there are moves on this board and in the end you’ll get a good deal.’

“That’s the same as women who are hopeless at negotiating salaries as well. Stop being embarrassed talking about money.”

Robinson also addressed the return of quiz show The Weakest Link, which will be back on screens with comedian Romesh Ranganathan at the helm.

Robinson was known for delivering cutting remarks to contestants when she served as host.

She said: “I’m delighted. it will be a very different Weakest Link because I honestly couldn’t get away with saying now what I used to say.”

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