John Richard Whiteley, OBE DL was an English television presenter, and journalist.
He was most famous for his 23-year stint as presenter of Countdown, a letters and numbers arrangement game show broadcast daily on Channel 4. An edition of Countdown was the launch programme for Channel 4 at 4:45 pm on 2 November 1982, and Whiteley was the first person to be seen on the channel, discounting a programme montage. Despite being a highly intelligent man, he enjoyed projecting an image of an absent-minded eccentric. His trademarks were his jolly, avuncular manner; his fondness for excruciatingly bad puns; and bold wardrobe, particularly jackets and ties.