Ricky Tomlinson Says Countdown's Richard Whiteley Was A Government Spy

"He was a member of the intelligence services".

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

The Royle Family star and trade union activist made the alleged revelation while speaking to local reporters as he opened Chester's new Wetherspoon pub.

The pub was the same one in which he had helped organise the first ever national building workers' strike in 1972, for which he and other so-called Shrewsbury pickets were later prosecuted and imprisoned for.

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Ricky suggests that the 1973 ITV documentary Red Under the Bed, hosted by the late Richard Whiteley and former politician Woodrow Wyatt, and which featured the defendants and aired on the day the jury retired to deliver its verdict, could have heavily influenced the outcome to convict.

"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," the comedian and TV star told The Chester Chronicle.

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"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."

Ricky also claimed to have evidence to back his allegations, but refused to disclose them to the local paper.

Richard hosted Channel 4's Countdown with Carol Voderman from 1982 until his death in 2005.