‘Anne Robinson used my weight as a stick to beat me with,’ Clare Balding claims

Anne Robinson mocked Clare Balding's weight on Weakest Link

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Anne Robinson is currently at the centre of reports that she isn’t getting along with her Countdown co-stars Rachel Riley and Susie Dent. A source told The Sun this week: “Rachel has moaned about Anne a number of times and even said she would consider walking away from Countdown if the issues weren’t sorted.”

The 77-year-old stepped into Nick Hewer’s shoes back in June after he left following a 10-year stint.

Before her new role, the presenter was best known for fronting The Weakest Link.

Reflecting on the time she first met Anne, Clare Balding, 50, began by saying she had “a real soft spot” for her.

The broadcaster described the host as “groundbreaking” for sticking up for women’s rights in the media.

She went on to discuss remarks she claimed Anne made about her on The Weakest Link.

The broadcaster explained that the presenter had been “very cutting” throughout the show and then asked her about her days as a jockey and why she gave it up.

Recalling her response, she told Anne: “‘Look at me, I got too heavy, right’.”

Clare added on Gabby Logan’s Mid-Point podcast shared on Wednesday: “So then she would constantly use the line of ‘who ate too many cookies?’

“So, I said in the interview at the end, ‘Well, Anne used my weight as a stick to beat me with, but if that makes the crusty old cow happy, that’s fine!’

“I thought they’ll never use that.”

Much to her surprise, the show decided to keep it in at the end of the episode.

Following this, Clare said she received a letter on headed paper from Anne, assuming she hadn’t seen what she called her.

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It read: “Dear Clare, I watched your edition of The Weakest Link. You sparkled, and your intelligence and wit…

“It was all really nice and I thought, ‘Thank God she didn’t see the interview at the end’.”

The presenter added that she hoped to work with Clare soon and signed the letter off: “With love, the Crusty Old Cow.”

Clare recalled the story while laughing, as she added: “She quite enjoys it if you spar with her and you’re not frightened of her.”

Anne was known for her insults and savage remarks to contestants on the show, which ended in 2012.

Ahead of joining Countdown, unearthed clips emerged of her calling a woman “a bit lumpy and ugly” and asking a single mum how many of her sons had “asbos”.

In June, she acknowledged that she wouldn’t be able to get away with such comments now.

Anne told the Mail Online: “I don’t think half the things I said then I could say now.

“Like, ‘Are you really that stupid?’ or ‘Why are you so fat?’ That would be off limits.

“Everyone would be too worried about the poor contestants’ mental health. Everyone would be too worried about sending them home with issues.”

She went on to say that at the time, contestants were a confident and assured lot, who had been carefully vetted.

Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Anne for comment.

Countdown airs weekdays from 2.10pm on Channel 4.

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