Rachel Riley, co-presenter of the Channel 4 show Countdown has received heavy backlash from the public for criticising Jeremy Corbyn over the ongoing anti-Semitism row.
32 year old Riley is the maths whizz who can solve sums quicker than most of us can reach for a calculator – the word ‘thick’ is not something that the mathematical genius and TV presenter is used to being called.
A maths graduate, Rachel is known for her quick brain and passion for popularising maths and science. At just the age of 22, her television debut came when she joined Countdown.
Rachel’s brains lands her the role on Countdown
Replacing Carol Vorderman in 2009, Riley had no ambition to be a television presenter, she was encouraged to apply by her mother, and decided to do so because she was interested in the numbers part of the game. Having beaten 1,000 applicants for the role, she commented, “There’s only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Gifted from a young age
From a young age, Riley demonstrated an aptitude for learning and excellent academic ability. She obtained 4 A’s at A Level at the grammar school Southend High School for girls. She then studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, gaining an upper second-class honours degree.
Riley strives to be an advocate for the so-called “geeky” subjects of maths and science. She visits schools to enthuse pupils “joys of applied maths, quantum mechanics and time travel and so on”. A blog, written by Surrey University academic Julia Percival and hosted by The Guardian, which argued that Riley’s looks and figure would work against any aim to increase female participation in the sciences, was described by The Daily Telegraph as unfair and a case of Riley being damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.
Countdown role has led to lots of TV opportunities for Riley
Riley has also performed her Countdown role on the comedy crossover spin-off version, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, alongside comedian Jimmy Carr as host. From September 2013, Riley appeared in the eleventh series of the BBC One ballroom dancing programme Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancing partner Pasha Kovalev who she has been dating since 2014.
The TV personality has also presented on Gadget Show and It’s Not Rocket Science.In August 2016, it was announced that Riley would join Sky Sports to present Friday Night Football alongside her former Countdown co-presenter Jeff Stelling and Fantasy Football Club with Max Rushden and Paul Merson.
Rachel criticises Jeremy Corbyn
The Countdown star has been critical of the Labour leader, whose party has been accused of racism. On Tuesday, the TV show host tweeted two screenshots – one showing London mayor Sadiq Khan wishing Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah, and another – a Daily Mail article which alleged Mr Corbyn praised an activist who called for Israeli MPs to be assassinated.
Rachel,captioned the post: “Another game of spot the difference between Labour leaders… @MayorofLondon vs Jeremy Corbyn.”
Considering herself to be a non-religious Jew, the 32 year old went on to say: “Religion wise, I choose Man United. Life wise I choose the options without intolerance, hatred and fear. #AntiSemitism.”
The 32 year old then shared further articles discussing alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party.
Rachel receives twitter abuse from the public about her comments
Rachel Riley’s comments have caused a deluge of negative responses on twitter from members of the public with many criticising her for using a Daily Mail article as her source.
Matt Cooke@GreenGiraffe22 commented ‘I’m not Corbyn’s biggest fan, but I’m not sure comparing a personal tweet against a daily mail article is entirely fair… Surely someone as intellectual as yourself is aware of the frequent mistruths printed in that scummy rag…?
A fellow Man United fan calls Riley out for playing ‘the right wing narrative of comparing in such a unfair way. He points to a tweet from Jeremy Corbyn posted on 9th September which sends his ‘warmest greetings,’ to Jewish people as they celebrate the High Holy Days suggesting that Riley has overlooked this in favour of retweeting articles that suggest Corbyn is antisemitic.
Corbyn’s post states: I would like to reiterate that the Labour Party stands in solidarity with the Jewish community in the fight against antisemitism’:
The 32 year old clearly did not appreciate the backlash from her comments about Corbyn and hit back on twitter against the abuse:
“Much as I appreciate being called Tory, brainwashed and thick, I don’t have any party loyalties, I form my opinions based on available evidence.”
Andreas Watt replied: I think a lot of people get annoyed at the high levels of hypocrisy in the media, where although Labour are rightfully criticised for their slow action over member antisemitism, there is next to no coverage of similar issues regarding widespread anti Islam in the Tory party.
And followed up with: Not that this in anyway justifies any form of bigotry but when people see 1 form being highlighted and the other ignored, as well as antisemitism in other parties, it’s small wonder that people treat it with scepticism, especially when coming from notorious Tory supporting media.
Twitter user Col came up with this: Good for you Rachel you’ve a right to an opinion and to choose your own political values .. although don’t know about the ManU part
Jeremy Corbyn denies anti-Semitic accusations
Mr Corbyn firmly denies all allegations of anti-Semitism and spoke of his “pain” at being called a racist. Being compared to Enoch Powell by the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks during the anti-Semitism row has been particularly damaging to the Labour Leader.
Another Twitter user issued their opinion, writing that people “get annoyed at the high levels of hypocrisy in the media,” as part of a lengthy tweet.
Rachel responded: “I understand those feelings. We’re all in our own bubbles so course it’s right and necessary for us all to be as sceptical as possible.
“Can never eliminate bias entirely as all sources are human.”
Continuing her opinion, she also write: “My genuine worries are that anti-semitism is spreading and being actively promoted among some in the hard-left due to JC’s words/actions/inactions. I hope I’m wrong.”