Veteran broadcaster, TV presenter, writer and proud Yorkshireman. Born on the 28th December 1943, in Leeds and educated at Giggleswick Public School and Christ's College, Cambridge where he was the editor of Varsity in 1965. His former English teacher Russel Harty persuaded him to pursue a career in television and his first job was as a trainee with ITN in 1965. Unwittingly beginning his career as a local hero, he jumped at the chance to work with the brand new Yorkshire Television where his first assignment was to report on a Leeds United European Cup game (despite the fact that he had never before seen a live football match!) He quickly moved on to the more appropriate post of political editor.
Richard's rise to stardom accelerated rapidly when he presented UK Channel 4's first ever show Countdown in 1982. Now described by Channel 4 as, "Gameshow with Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman, a clock, vowels, consonants and numbers," Countdown was initially set for a four-week trial run. Though the first show had 4.5 million viewers, the second could claim only 800,000. However, despite taking part in the biggest ratings drop in television history, Whiteley has now successfully steered Countdown into becoming the channel's longest running show. His was the first face on the channel, and over 3000 shows later, his first words have never sounded so prophetic:
"As the Countdown to a brand new channel ends, a brand new Countdown begins"
Those who know Richard's style (the charm, wit and sophistication of it all!) will be unsurprised to find that he appeared in both Channel 4 compilation shows the 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell and the 100 Greatest TV Moments. Aside from his own ad-lib show Richard Whiteley Unbriefed (an unscripted chat show with surprise guests) Richard is constantly reinforcing his cult status and popularity with students and pensioners alike. He has a record 10,000 plus appearances on television including: Through the Keyhole, TFI Friday, Faking It, A Question of TV, Celebrity Sleepover, Fat Friends, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Mrs Merton, Blankety Blank, This is Your Life, Songs of Praise, The Priory, It's Only TV... But I Like It, Have I Got News for You and Shooting Stars.
- Whiteley's current partner is actress and Radio Leeds presenter Kathryn Aponowicz (most famous as Dirty Den's mistress in EastEnders).
- He cites David Frost, Terry Wogan, Chris Evans and Michael Parkinson as his TV heroes.
- He owns around 500 jackets and nearly as many ties.
- His father ran a textile mill in Yorkshire.
- Rearranging the letters of "Richard Whiteley's Countdown" gives: "It launched witchery on words" (by Dave Parkinson using Anagram Genius)
- Noel Edmonds counts Richard's Gotcha as the most hilarious ever.
- Speakers for Business can provide Richard's services for between £5000 and £7000 (negotiable), covering: After Dinner / Lunch (Humorous), Conference Host
Master of Ceromonies, Managing the Media, Television / Broadcasting, Yorkshire and Corporate Launches.
- He has interviewed every British Prime minister since Harold MacMillan.
- He hosted a sell out chat show on the Edinburgh Fringe in 1998 and subsequently took the show on tour with great success.
- His volume of memoirs is called "Himoff" (as in "Him off the telly") and was a Christmas best seller.
- He lives in the Yorkshire Dales.
- His hobbies include looking at views from the windows of country pubs, and horseracing.
- His nickname is Twice Nightly Whiteley, but as he retorts, it's more like Once Yearly Nearly.
So, Richard Whitely - "Mr Yorkshire", Governor of Giggleswick School, Trustee of the Royal Armouries, Pun Meister (Twister of our Language), Honorary Mayor of Wetwang and Ye of Denied Toupee:
"We salute you!"