Anne Robinson fat-shamed me on TV by asking me if I 'ate all the cookies', reveals Clare Balding

TV presenter Clare Balding says she was fat-shamed by Anne Robinson on TV – but got her own back on her by branding her a "crusty old cow."

It comes after it was revealed that the host of Countdown has been embroiled in a secret feud with Channel 4 show's maths whizz, Rachel Riley.


Clare, 50, has recently filmed an episode of the daytime quiz favourite and knows too well how acerbic Anne, 77, can get.

She said: "Many years ago I did The Weakest Link when she was presenting it, and I got through to a head to head against Graeme Le Saux who as you will know is very very bright. Luckily I did okay and I won.  

"Through the course of it, Anne had been very cutting and had talked a bit about when I was an amateur jockey, and why did I give up?  I said: “look at me, I got too heavy, right.”  So then she would constantly use the line of “who ate too many cookies?”

But Clare had the last laugh. She told Gabby Logan on her The Mid-Point podcast: "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.”  

"It goes out and they used that as the last line, and I thought “oh god…”.  

"Two days later I got a handwritten letter on lovely headed paper from Gloucestershire.  “Dear Clare, I watched your edition of The Weakest Link.  You sparkled, and your intelligence and wit…”. Da da da.  

"It was all really nice and I thought: 'Thank God she didn’t see the interview at the end.' I turned over the page and it said: 'I do hope we work together soon.  With love, the Crusty Old Cow'"

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