'Countdown' presenter Whiteley was a spy', claims actor Tomlinson
Ricky Tomlinson has claimed that Richard Whiteley, best known for presenting afternoon gameshow 'Countdown' for more than 20 years, was a member of the British intelligence services.
Tomlinson, who appeared alongside Caroline Aherne in sitcom 'The Royle Family', made the startling claim in an interview with the 'Chester Chronicle' as he opened a pub in the city.
In 1972, Tomlinson, a former plasterer, helped to organise the first national building workers' strike in Britain.
He was jailed in 1973, along with his 'Shrewsbury Two' partner Des Warren, after being found guilty of conspiracy to intimidate, unlawful assembly and affray, following altercations at a construction site.
The actor believes that the jury's decision to convict him may have been swayed by an ITV documentary that was aired on the day they retired to deliver their verdict.
The documentary, 'Red Under the Bed', featured Warren and Tomlinson and was presented by the late Whiteley and former politician Woodrow Wyatt, who died in 1997.
Tomlinson said: "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 died in 2005. (© Daily Telegraph London)