Friday 28 April 2017

Former Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley was an MI5 spy, claims Ricky Tomlinson

'I’ve got documents at home, which are printed ‘confidential’, ‘strictly confidential’, ‘not to be seen’,' says actor

Late TV presenter Richard Whiteley has been defended by his partner Kathryn Apanowicz
Late TV presenter Richard Whiteley has been defended by his partner Kathryn Apanowicz
Former ‘Countdown’ host Richard Whiteley with his co-presenter Carol Vorderman in 2005. Photo credit should rea: Yui Mok/PA

Actor Ricky Tomlinson has claimed the late Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley was a member of the intelligence services.

Tomlinson, who starred alongside Caroline Aherne in the sitcom The Royle Family, believes Whiteley was an undercover agent for MI5 who helped him get sent to prison.

He made the bizarre claim about Whiteley during an interview marking the opening of a Wetherspoons pub in Chester.

Tomlinson, who was a plasterer before taking up a career in comedy, organised the national building workers’ strike in during the 70’s at the same pub.

Ricky Tomlinson has claimed presenter Richard Whiteley was a member of the intelligence services. Photo: Stephen Perry
Ricky Tomlinson has claimed presenter Richard Whiteley was a member of the intelligence services. Photo: Stephen Perry

In 1973, he was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of “conspiracy to intimidate” as one of the so-called Shrewsbury Two.

The 77-year-old actor believes the jury’s decision to convict him may have been influenced by an ITV documentary which was broadcast on the day they retired to deliver their verdict.

Former ‘Countdown’ host Richard Whiteley with his co-presenter Carol Vorderman in 2005. Photo credit should rea: Yui Mok/PA
Former ‘Countdown’ host Richard Whiteley with his co-presenter Carol Vorderman in 2005. Photo credit should rea: Yui Mok/PA

The documentary, Red Under the Bed, featured his "Shrewsbury Two" partner Des Warren and Tomlinson. It was presented by the late Whiteley and former politician Woodrow Wyatt, who died in 1997.

Tomlinson claims the film was “designed, written, made and paid for by the security services”.

“I’ve got documents at home, which are printed ‘confidential’, ‘strictly confidential’, ‘not to be seen’, but it involves the likes of Ted Heath, Woodrow Wyatt," he told The Chester Chronicle.

"And we’ve just discovered that they made a film which went out on television the night the jury were out considering the verdict called Red Under the Bed and it was so anti-trade union that two of the jury changed their mind and brought a majority verdict in of 10-2 guilty.

"We found out this week that the film was designed, written, made and paid for by the security services. Woodrow Wyatt was a member of the security services and unbelievably so was Richard Whiteley who hosted the show. Richard Whiteley from Countdown was a member of the intelligence services.”

Whiteley​, who was famed for his outlandish clothing, jolly temperate and penchant for puns, passed away in 2005. The game show presenter died after a heart operation.

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