Rachel counts down to new arrival

RACHEL Riley is quite literally counting down as we speak on Tuesday. The co-host of Channel 4’s Countdown is five days overdue with her second child, but she’s not panicking.

Her first, Maven, was two weeks late, so she’s being patient.

Amusingly, the previous day she had texted me to confirm the time of the interview, writing: “As long as I’m not in Labour I’m free to chat.”

I quipped in response: “Interesting you’ve spelt labour with a cap ‘L’. I hope you’re not joining them lol.”

Reassuringly for someone who has been so vocal in the battle against antisemitism and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, she blamed predictive text.

Thirty-six-year-old Essex-born Rachel told the Jewish Telegraph three years ago how she faced antisemitism on social media on a daily basis.

Almost everything she had posted to her now near-700,000 Twitter followers had at least one or two comments which are classed as antisemitic under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

Even though Corbyn is long departed, she believes there will always be antisemitism and points to the current rise in Jew-hate.

She confessed that this week had been a bad one as far as antisemitism is concerned.

“I changed my [social media] settings so I don’t get it,” she told me, “but they’re still all on line. I block all of them.”

Enough of antisemitism, though, Rachel has a new book out (published yesterday) — naturally about maths.

At Sixes and Sevens: How to Understand Numbers and Make Maths Easy is precisely as it sounds.

She explained why she had written it: “I like helping people with maths. I’ve done it since I was little in school, when your classmates want a bit of help.

“Obviously, my position is known as a maths person, I get some maths homework questions sent. And, ‘can you help me with my daughter’s this and my son’s that?’.

“Over lockdown, I noticed that the standard of questions that I was being sent had gone up quite a lot, because so many more people were at home trying to help their kids with home-schooling.

“And they were just trying to attempt it for the first time in a really long time.”

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