Clare Balding has reflected on a meeting with Anne Robinson, revealing the pair traded insults during an appearance on The Weakest Link.
As Anne's character has been called into question in recent weeks, Clare, 50, weighed in on her experience with the presenter.
'She's a crusty old cow!': Clare Balding has recalled being fat-shamed by Anne Robinson when she appeared on The Weakest Link back in 2005
Clare - who appeared on The Weakest Link in 2005 - said on Gabby Logan's The Mid-Point podcast: 'Many years ago I did The Weakest Link when she was presenting it, and I got through to a head to head against Graeme Le Saux who as you will know is very very bright. Luckily I did okay and I won.
'Through the course of it, Anne had been very cutting and had talked a bit about when I was an amateur jockey, and why did I give up?
I said: "look at me, I got too heavy, right." So then she would constantly use the line of "who ate too many cookies?"'
Tough cookie: Anne, 77, was known for her acid tongue when she presented the BBC gameshow and is now said to be embroiled in a feud with her new co-stars on Countdown
Clare continued: 'I said in the interview at the end: "Well, Anne used my weight as a stick to beat me with, but if that makes the crusty old cow happy, that's fine!"
'I thought "they'll never use that"... It goes out and they used that as the last line!
''Two days later I got a handwritten letter on lovely headed paper from Gloucestershire. "Dear Clare, I watched your edition of The Weakest Link. You sparkled, and your intelligence and wit…". Da da da.
'It was all really nice and I thought: "Thank God she didn't see the interview at the end." I turned over the page and it said: "I do hope we work together soon. With love, the Crusty Old Cow".'
Clare's comments come following reports Anne is at daggers drawn with her younger female counterparts Rachel Riley, 35, and Susie Dent, 56.
Anne is said to have had Rachel's microphone muted after complaining that the maths expert was 'too chatty' with contestants before filming. She's also said to be irritated by Rachel's timekeeping and habit of spending time on her mobile phone.
Rachel, for her part, is said to find Anne 'difficult and mean'. She's joined in this view by Dictionary Corner's Susie.
There are also suspicions over the source of a story about Susie's marriage break-up — which became public just weeks after Anne joined the show in June.
These have added to divisions between Anne and the show's two experts. Matters are so fraught that more than one source associated with the show believes