Countdown contestants who found fame after appearing on Channel 4 game show

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Countdown catapulted long-time host Richard Whiteley and brain boxes Carol Vorderman and Rachel Riley to celebrity fame during their time on the Channel 4 show.

But did you know there were a few contestants that went on to be famous after they appeared on the hit series.

Well, BAFTA award-winning comedian Alex Horne did just that, as did respected writer John Diamond, Gogglebox star Josef Kollar and former pop star Jon Marsh.

Daily Star have taken a look at where the former contestants are now.

Jon Marsh

Nineties pop star Jon was a huge success on Countdown, winning eight matches before a stellar run to the semi-finals.

The Brit Award-nominated hitmaker was only beaten by the eventual 1987 series champion, but can take plenty of plaudits for his fine quiz run.

Jon, now 56, formed the successful post-punk/new wave band The Beloved in 1983, some four years before appearing on Countdown.

  • Carol Vorderman smoulders as she flashes cleavage in sheer top and tight leather skirt

But it was not until the 90s when the band hit the big time with hit songs The Sun Rising, Sweet Harmony, Hello, Your Love Takes Me Higher and Satelitte, that Jon tasted fame for the first time.

Amazingly TV presenter Tess Daly starred in the band’s Sweet Harmony music video before she also achieved celebrity status.

Jon achieved worldwide success with the group during a music career which spanned 33 years.

Alex Horne

BAFTA award-winning writer and Cambridge University-educated Alex won three episodes of Countdown back in 2008.

The comedian bowed out after losing his fourth match, but has since forged a successful TV career.

Now 42, Sussex-born Alex wrote and hosted We Need Answers, before appearing in episodes of Celebrity Mastermind and Comic Relief special Call My Bluff.

He has also made guest appearances in shows such as Dara O’Brian: School of Hard Sums and 8 Out of 10 Cats Countdown.

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Alex found success with his award-winning Taskmaster show, which he wrote, produced and starred in alongside top comic Greg Davies.

Since then he has worked on a number of TV shows including The Button, The Last Leg, Richard Osmans House of Games, Bad Golf, Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer and No More Jockeys.

Alex is married to BBC business journalist Rachel Horne. The couple have three kids.

Josef Kollar

Amazingly Josef was a World Cluedo champion before finding fame on hit Channel 4 show Gogglebox.

He lives and works in Southampton as an accountant, but back in his puzzling days he jumped at the chance to be a contestant on Countdown.

Unfortunately, he lost his one-and-only match back by 57 points to 22 in November 1982 and was therefore eliminated from the show.

A fun fact, however, is that iconic Carry On films actor Kenneth Williams was the special guest on the show at the time.

John Diamond

John was married to celebrity chef Nigella Lawson until his tragic death in 2001 having been diagnosed with throat cancer.

A respected newspaper columnist for the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror, John was a contestant on the Channel 4 quiz show in 1986.

He won two games on the show before make his mark in the print business.

John also wrote a regular columns for The Times from 1992 and was a respected presenter on BBC radio and television.

He met celebrity chef Nigella when they were both writing for The Sunday Times and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for his book C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too.

A BBC documentary filmed for Inside Story followed John’s cancer treatment.

He wrote a second book Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations prior to his untimely passing and was the recipient of the 2000 HealthWatch Award for his candid and brutally honest writing.

  • Channel 4

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