Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is the original British television quiz show that offered a maximum cash prize of one million pounds for correctly answering successive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty.

The UK version of the show was the country of origin that set the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise. The first episode was aired on 4th September, 1998 and the last ever episode was broadcast on 11th February 2014. Throughout its history, the show has been presented by Chris Tarrant, who is renowned for his quizzical facial expressions that don't give away the answer at all.

In early 2018, it was announced that Jeremy Clarkson would host the revived series of the show. More news of the show's revival were released on Friday 9th March, when BBC Breakfast announced the show's revival and duration of seven episodes. In mid-April, the official trailer was released on ITV's YouTube channel, and on 25th April, ITV announced that Series 31 will be every evening for a week (beginning from 5th May and ending on 11th May.)

On 13th September 2018, the planned resumption of production was officialy announced, with Jeremy Clarkson confirmed to be returning as the host for a full series, with ten new episodes being broadcast sometime in 2019.

Series Edit

Series No. of episodes Time of broadcast Length of episode
1 11 4th September 1998 - 25th December 1998 30 minutes (60 minutes on the Christmas Special)
2 13 1st January 1999 - 13th January 1999 30 minutes (60 minutes on episodes 2, 9 and 12.)
3 12 5th March 1999 - 16th March 1999 30 minutes (60 minutes on episodes 2, 5, 7, 8)
4 12 3rd September 1999 - 14th September 1999
5 18 5th November 1999 - 26th December 1999
6 7 16th January 2000 - 22nd January 2000
7 13 26th March 2000 - 1st May 2000
8 55 7th September 2000 - 6th January 2001
9 45 8th January 2001 - 26th April 2001
10 45 8th September 2001 - 4th December 2001
11 55 5th January 2002 - 9th April 2002
12 20 31st August 2002 - 28th December 2002
13 22 4th January 2003 - 31st May 2003
14 21 30th August 2003 - 27th December 2003
15 23 3rd January 2004 - 5th June 2004
16 16 18th September 2004 - 25th December 2004
17 25 1st January 2005 - 11th June 2005
18 11 17th September 2005 - 31st December 2005
19 27 7th January 2006 - 8th July 2006
20 13 9th September 2006 - 6th January 2007
21 17 10th March 2007 - 28th July 2007
22 11 18th August 2007 - 30th October 2007
23 19 1st January 2008 - 3rd June 2008
24 18 16th August 2008 - 31st January 2009
25 20 13th June 2009 - 20th December 2009
26 8 13th April 2010 - 8th June 2010
27 11 3rd August 2010 - 23rd December 2010
28 6 2nd April 2011 - 19th December 2011
29 11 3rd January 2012 - 20th December 2012
30 11 1st January 2013 - 11th February 2014
31 7 5th May 2018 - 11th May 2018
32 10 January 1st 2019 - ?

Original 'Ten Night' ExperimentEdit

Originally, the show was set up for a ten night run, that involved the public being able to play by picking up the phone and dialing 0891 44 44 44 and answering a question. Then randomly the computer would pick 100 and then the 10 that answer another question correctly will go through. The show proved to be popular so came back for a real series soon after.

Fastest Finger FirstEdit

10 new contestants are introduced each night after a previous Hot Seat contestant exits. In the first series, after the introductions, the contestants are asked a multiple choice question similar to those given to Hot Seat contestants, and must enter the correct answer on their keypad within 20 seconds. After the time is up, The computer will then give the correct answer, check who got it right, and flash the player who got it in the fastest time; that player advances to the Hot Seat. From the second series until the show's end, the format changed to the version that soon spread to all other versions around the world: The 10 contestants are given a question and four answers, and must put those answers in the correct order, within 20 seconds. After the time is up, the computer will then give the correct order, check who got it right, and flash the player who got it in the fastest time; that player advances to the Hot Seat as before.

Money treeEdit

This was the second and final money tree introduced in 2007 until 2014, and featured 12 questions:

Correct Answer
Walk Away
Miss Answer
Amount Lost for a
Wrong Answer
1 £500 £0 £0 £0
2 £1,000 £500 £0 £500
3 £2,000 £1,000 £1,000 £0
4 £5,000 £2,000 £1,000 £1,000
5 £10,000 £5,000 £1,000 £4,000
6 £20,000 £10,000 £1,000 £9,000
7 £50,000 £20,000 £1,000 £19,000
8 £75,000 £50,000 £50,000 £0
9 £150,000 £75,000 £50,000 £25,000
10 £250,000 £150,000 £50,000 £100,000
11 £500,000 £250,000 £50,000 £200,000
12 £1 MILLION/£1,000,000 £500,000 £50,000 £450,000

Notice that the original had 15 questions between 1998-2007 and 2018-19, and went like this:

Correct Answer
Walk Away
Miss Answer
Amount Lost for a
Wrong Answer
1 £100 £0 £0 £0
2 £200 £100 £0 £100
3 £300 £200 £0 £200
4 £500 £300 £0 £300
5 £1,000 £500 £0 £500
6 £2,000 £1,000 £1,000 £0
7 £4,000 £2,000 £1,000 £1,000
8 £8,000 £4,000 £1,000 £3,000
9 £16,000 £8,000 £1,000 £7,000
10 £32,000 £16,000 £1,000 £15,000
11 £64,000 £32,000 £32,000 £0
12 £125,000 £64,000 £32,000 £32,000
13 £250,000 £125,000 £32,000 £93,000
14 £500,000 £250,000 £32,000 £218,000
15 £1  MILLION £500,000 £32,000 £468,000

In both cases, the values are not cumulative; for example; if the contestant answers the first 2 questions correctly, he or she wins £200, not £300 (i.e. £100 + £200).


There were 3 lifelines available to all contestants prior to the 2010 Clocked version, when a fourth was introduced. Some celebrity specials also gave a fourth lifeline, and a few of the 'milestone' shows.

  • 50:50: The computer eliminates two incorrect answers, leaving one incorrect answer and the correct answer.
  • Phone-a-Friend: The contestant calls one of up to 3 friends, who provided their phone numbers in advance. The contestant has 30 seconds to read the question and answer choices to the friend, who then has the remaining time to offer input.
  • Ask The Audience: Audience members use touch pads to designate what they believe the correct answer to be. The audience choosing each specific option is displayed to the contestant.
  • Switch (2002-2003, 2010–2014): Only becomes available when a contestant reaches £50,000. A contestant may swap their question for a different one. This was used back in 2002 and 2003 when a contestant gets rid of a lifeline. A "Q" symbol will appear on the selected lifeline, therefore, the selected lifeline can't be used again. Originally, this lifeline was called 'Flip' and it was activated when a contestant or couple chose to get rid of a available lifeline to flip a question that they didn't want to answer and had a "F" symbol. That version of Switch was avaliable during the 300th show.
  • Ask the Host (2018-): The host can tell the contestant what he thinks the correct answer is.

Competitions Edit

Telephone Game Edit

During 2003-04, the show featured a special telephone game where viewers had to phone in and to answer questions so that they could win up to a virtual million pounds.

The telephone number was 09064 72 72 72. Phone charges were via BT Landline at a cost of 60p for up to one minute.

However, the telephone game ended in 2004, and the ‘Walkaway Text Game’ followed up several weeks later.

Text Game Edit

See article: Text game (UK).

Tonight's Viewer Question Edit

From S22 EP1 the show featured a competition game called "Tonight's Viewer Question". The competition offered viewers at home to play the game where they had to answer a four-choice question similar to those in the main game, either via SMS or BT Landline. The competition ran through most of the programme, after which the answer was revealed and the programme ended. The telephone number 09012 93 1000 and text number 84644 were used instead of the mobile number 07797 808 900.

The viewers who answered the question correctly won £1,000 by having their entries selected randomly. Entries costed a maximum flat rate of £1.

Parodies Edit

The IT Crowd Edit

  • In the third episode "Fifty-Fifty", Daniel Carey was a contestant on the show. But, not physically shown in the episode.

£32,000 or £64,000 (10 or 11 of 15) - Not timed
Who composed 'The Wooden Prince'?
"50:50" and "Phone a Friend" lifelines used
• A: Bartók • B: Chopin
• C: • D:
Daniel first used 50:50, eliminating C & D, then phoned Jen Barber asks her for dinner with him tomorrow night, she says yes. She unfortunately does not know the answer to the question and gives Daniel the wrong answer, costing him £31,000.

The Jonathan Ross Show Edit

  • In an episode of the show with Jonathan Ross as host and Chris Tarrant as contestant parody was shown.

£6.07 and a mint - Not timed
How quickly does Olly Murs drink a pint of milk?
"Ask the Audience", "Phone a Friend", & "50:50" used
• A: 3 seconds • B: 5 seconds
• C: 7 seconds • D: 10 seconds
Ask the Audience Results: A: 25% • B: 25% • C: 25% • D: 25%
Chris wanted to take the money but wasn't allowed so he asked the audience. Since all the results came back at 25% each he asked to Phone a Friend, he was only allowed to phone Keith Lemon, who thought it was 3 seconds. Jonathan Ross suggested to use 50-50 so Chris did which took away A and D. Keith then phoned them back saying it was 5 seconds. Chris then made 7 seconds his final answer which was incorrect, so he didn't win the money or mint.

Kelly Edit

In episode on 22nd November 2001, Gerry Kelly, a host of a UTV talk show Kelly (1989-2005) appeared in a 'special' edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Chris Tarrant (without the studio audience), who also appears as a guest on the chat show. This episode was broadcast shortly after it was revealed that criminal proceedings had started against Charles Ingram, who won £1,000,000 by cheating. Mr. Kelly walked away with £32,000, answering the £500,000 question wrong.

Harry and Paul Edit

  • In an episode of Harry and Paul, Derek Anderson is on the show with a fake Chris Tarrant and is asked the following question:
£100 (1 of 15) - Not TImed
2 + 2 = ?
• A: 5 • B: 8.735
• C: 186 • D: 4
Derek says that A has a ring to it, but so does B. He doesn't think it's C but doesn't know why. He also says it could be D, or A, or B. Chris Tarrant has to hurry him so he goes for D. Chris looks at him, sighs deeply and reveals...that he just won £100!

The two then shoot the stage up with assault rifles.


See: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK version)/List of Contestants


  • The old episodes of the show are still being repeated on the "Challenge" channel, and for a while ITV1 also broadcast interesting moments from the old episodes of English and foreign versions in the program "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Classic.
  • The oldest contestant is 75 years old (Bernard Marco, 11th November 1999), and the youngest is 18 years old (Michelle McGeachy, 5th March 1999). The average age of the participant is 41 years. The most frequently played participants were named John, the participants - with the name Ann.
  • The average result in the Fastest Finger First is 6.41 seconds.
  • The total winnings are almost £60,000,000. The average total winnings for the episode are £114,238, the average winner is £50,200, the average male contestant win is £49,600, the average winnings of the female contestant is £48,500.
  • Martin Skillings, Ben Bartle, Gerry Lennon, Diane Hallagan, Dougie Wilson, Rob Mitchell and James Plaskett were the seven contestants in the UK to save all three lifelines for the £250,000 question.
  • The biggest loss in the game was £218,000 by Duncan Bickley and Rob Mitchell 
  • The biggest loss of the famous couple was £468,000 by Laurence and Jackie Llewelyn Bowen. After that, the host again called them into the studio, where they heard the Top Prize question for the second time and eventually took £500,000. The most money ever officially lost by a couple was £93,000 by Robert Brydges & Judith Chalmers and Russell Grant & Sheila Ferguson.
  • The total duration of the show is 10 days 15 hours 30 minutes (September 4, 1998 - May 11, 2018), if you watch it continuously through YouTube.
  • The show was also appeared by contestants with the same names and surnames: 1st Martin Smith on March 6, 1999 & 2nd Martin Smith on March 13, 1999; 1st Chris Elliot (November 20th, 2000) & 2nd Chris Elliott (Series 21); 1st Phil Smith (Series 20), 2nd Phil Smith (Series 21) & 3rd Phil Smith (Series 27).
  • The most "expensive" series was 2000-1 series, where £7,782,000 was won, presumably due to three Top Prize Winners being crowned (Judith Keppel, David Edwards and Robert Brydges, not Charles Ingram, due to the infamous scandal)
  • The total number of contestants in the UK version's history is 1,840 people (in the hot seat - 402).
  • Craig Logue is one of the few contestants, who used all three lifelines before the fifth question.
  • The smallest prize the contestant has taken is only £500 (Cheryl Turner and originally Sheridan Booth).
  • The fastest contestant in Fastest Finger First was Jonathan Pash (aired on April 15, 2008), who managed to press the keys in just 0.97 seconds.
  • Charles Ingram was infamous as being the only UK contestant, who was caught in deception and deliberate cheating. Thanks to the walkie-talkie and the fan in the studio, who coughed the right number of times on each question, he won £1 million.
  • The most widely watched episode in the 20th century was the episode on March 7, 1999, which was watched by 19,210,000 people (2nd place in the ITV weekly rating board), and in the 21st century - episode on January 19, 2000 (15,880,000 people, 4th place in ITV weekly rating board).
  • On November 30, 2002, the 300th anniversary show was shown. While the contestants used the Ask the Audience lifeline, TV viewers were also given the opportunity to correctly answer this question: for each of the four answers, a phone number was provided so that the viewer could give the answer that he thinks is right by calling the appropriate phone number.
  • In September 27, 2003 and February 25, 2006 episodes, there were two cases of a 100% vote (on the £1,000 and £4,000 questions), when after the contestant used the Ask the Audience lifeline, 100% of the audience voted for the (correct) answer.
  • In the March 31, 2007 episode, the right order for Fastest Finger First was (you guessed it!) A-B-C-D.
  • In 2008, a fortuneteller predicted that Richard Ronaldson (appeared on November 18-December 2, 2008) at the age of 35 would become the sixth Million Pound winner, but her prophecy did not come true and he won only £10,000.
  • In the July 18, 2009 episode, there was an unusual case on the £20,000 question: Gill O'Donnell took advantage of the Ask the Audience after 50:50, but 81% of the audience answered the for wrong answer, and she lost £9,000.
  • On December 23, 2010, the Christmas special episode aired. The show was live and the audience had the opportunity to win up to £500,000, answering the question correctly by phone (release review).
  • From December 6, 2011 to 2014, in the Russian TV channel "Questions and Answers" were episodes of 2007-2010 with the Russian translation, including the clocked series.
  • On July 10, 2012 during the game of Donna Hearnden, the "Ask the Audience" failed to work (A - 0%, B - 0%, C - 0%, D - 0%) due to a technical failure with the keypads, as a result of which Chris Tarrant asked the audience to pick up pre-prepared tablets with the letter of the correct, in their opinion, answer. Most raised the plate with the correct answer. This also happened on November 9, 2012 on Joe Pasquale & Phil Tufnell's £10,000 question. But, ironically, this incident happened on their fifth questions.
  • On October 1, 2000, the 100th episode, October 11, 2001 - the 200th episode, on November 30, 2002 - the 300th episode, on March 19, 2005 - the 400th episode and on March 18, 2008 - the 500th episode aired.

References Edit

External linksEdit