Why are they famous?: Carol Vorderman

Main Claim: Well I never - brains-and-beauty all in one bird. Mensa member Vorderman has joined the new mid-week Lottery as the thinking gambler's Mystic Meg. She does the kind of vast sums that made you cry before double maths, then turns around with the answer and a dimply smile on Channel 4's Countdown. Only in Britain. If she'd been born a Yank, she'd be on Wheel of Fortune after a tangle with some peroxide. Or she'd be Secretary of State. As we all know, girlies aren't very good at maths, so TV's brainbox has been elevated to rogue genius status.

Appearance: Mumsy clog wearer on barge-art plate. Smiley air hostess- type framed by tulips, advertising the Dutch Tourist Board. The mater familias of a large tribe of barnyard cats.

Dutch Courage: Unfortunately for her, and anyone else in the same predicament, Carol was brought up in north Wales. Her Dutch father scarpered when she was but three innocent weeks old. Carol escaped to Cambridge University. Then, 15 years ago, Mum Jean spotted that Channel 4 was looking for a girl on its quiz show. "I have never looked back," says Carol. "With such a lovely mother, I must be all right."

Family Values: Carol, 36, is married to accountant Patrick King, lives in Berkshire, and is expecting her second child any minute. She sounds very ordinaire, to put it politely. That, of course, is part of her charm, otherwise her lightning numbercrunching ways (IQ: 169) might scare us all away from the telly and into the pub.

CV's CV: Carol appears on around 200 television shows every year. According to the tabloids, her general job description is simply "Brainbox". But that's because chicks aren't normally this clever, you see. She was fired from Tomorrow's World after doing a washing powder ad. Asked to come back, she declared, "The wounds are too deep".

Fame Prospects: Might have to turn antiques or gardening expert or wear a corset in OK! Weekly. She may become one of those Lesley Judd figures, a creaking name in the annals of nostalgia that doesn't quite make it into Trivial Pursuit. However, she's probably too brainy to care, quite frankly. With her family, her IQ, and her sweet smile, may she be happy forever.

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