Carol Vorderman MBE
TV Presenter and Writer
Carol Vorderman (MBE) became a household name during her time on Channel 4’s hugely successful and timeless programme, Countdown. Being a figurehead for strong, smart females she became one of the nation’s sweethearts, with multiple TV shows, best selling books and a pilot’s licence all under her superwoman belt. From a poor single parent family, and on free school meals, education has been all important to her.
After being offered one of the few places for girls from a state school to study at Cambridge University in 1978, she graduated with a Masters Degree in Engineering. Carol’s television career began with her appearance on Channel 4’s first ever-televised programme, Countdown. She spent 26 years on the show and created a name for herself as one of the most successful women on British television. With many primetime shows under her belt, including BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, Mysteries with Carol Vorderman, ITV’s hit shows Carol Vorderman’s Better Homes and Better Gardens, and Stars and Their Lives, all of which were gaining over 10 million viewers, she was for many years hosting primetime shows on all major terrestrial channels, sometimes on the same day.
In 2011, Carol was asked to be one of the hosts on ITV’s hit show Loose Women. Over the years, Carol has also participated in some of the UK’s largest programmes. She was the first celebrity ever to take part in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, winning £125,000 for her charity, and later became part of ITV’s 2016 I’m A Celebrity… Get me out of Here! cast. For more than 20 years, Carol has also been the host and key champion of ITV’s acclaimed Pride of Britain Awards – an awards ceremony celebrating brave and extraordinary people.
Carol has also been praised for her writing, having written columns for newspapers including The Daily Telegraph. She was the best-selling non-fiction author of the year in 2002 and 2005 with her no 1. best selling book titled Detox For Life, published by Virgin Books. It sold over one million copies, and her How To Do Sudoku range of books, published by Random House, was also very successful. She has a reputation for trust, authority and brainpower. She has her own online maths school, The Maths Factor, teaching nearly 100,000 children. She has also become the best selling children’s education author of all time in the UK with a large range of books published by DK, focusing on mathematics, English and science books for ages 3 -12.
As well as her successful television and writing career, Carol is renowned for her passion for flying and science. Having been denied the opportunity to become a fighter pilot when she was young, as she was female and therefore not allowed to join the RAF at that time, in 2014 Carol fulfilled a life long dream and qualified for her private pilot’s licence. She has now progressed to be fully instrument and multi engine rated and is “one step down” from commercial pilot level. Carol loves to fly her own aeroplane, a Diamond DA42, which she calls Mildred. In 2014 she became Ambassador for the RAF (Royal Air Force) Air Cadets, becoming the first woman to be appointed as an Honorary Group Captain. For decades, Carol has been hugely influential with STEM, advocating for and encouraging young women to study and work within the Science and Engineering sphere; she has worked at Government ministerial level, including writing a major report about mathematics education for the Prime Minister at the time. In the USA, Carol has been a Board Director of the NASA Challenger Centers since 2015. In 2020/21 Carol plans to fly her plane solo across the globe, becoming only the 11th woman ever to do so.
Carol is now an Honorary Fellow at Cambridge University, and continues to give bursaries to students from a similar background to her own.