Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a quiz show which ran for years and years under the hosting of Chris Tarrant, and spawned countless versions abroad as well as being the cornerstone of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.
Interestingly, Tarrant wasn’t even asked whether he wanted to be part of the show’s return, so, while Jeremy Clarkson is only, so far, contracted for seven straight nights in a row, does this mean that ITV are considering making him a long-term prospect? As long as he doesn’t punch a producer (as he did with Top Gear before going on to make a hash of The Grand Tour, he’ll probably do okay. I just hope they don’t base its potential solely on extremely hyped-up ratings.
The quiz is a basic premise of 15 questions, allowing you to jump ship with the money they had after each five questions, each with a multiple choice answer, and with lifelines such as 50:50 (ditch two of the four answers), Ask The Audience or Phone a Friend, but sa time went on, they tweaked it here and there and, despite Tarrant saying that the show could run for 100 years based on its original premise, it came to an end on February 11th 2014, with its most notable episode being the ‘coughing Major’ one in 2001.
With the original-style set and the original theme, it all felt immensely dated from the moment it began, with Clarkson even making reference to the Major, asking for ‘no coughing’ from the audience.
Oh, and they’ve tweaked it again with a fourth helpline, Ask The Host, which I don’t think is a great one, as he’ll be biased towards you if he knows the answer and gives it to you. Also announced, and on the show, is a further tweak – while the ‘get out’ options are normally after each five questions, you can now set the second of these, so you don’t have wait until 10 questions (£32,000) to get there. Naturally, the first one stays at 5 questions (£1,000), all of which are generally quite easy, unless you’re bit thick like the first guy who needed “Ask The Audience” on the second question.
That said, the dumb thing is that you can set the second ‘get out’ from any point as you go along, rather than right at the start which would’ve made sense, since you can decide whether or not to set it after each question completed and if, for example, you set it at £8,000 just after you win £4,000, and you don’t feel you can answer the £8,000 question, you still go away with £4,000 rather than the first ‘get out’ of £1,000… the latter I’m sure being how things were when this first started, so I guess that was another tweak added as it went along, so people win more money overall, but still an amount that ITV can afford.
I won’t bother listing the questions here, since that’s the point of watching the show and they’ll all be on the ITV Hub once each episode is broadcast.
Overall, this programme’s return is rather mediocre and nothing spectacular. It passed a very slow hour, and I won’t be back for another episode as I’ve seen enough. They’ve not really bothered to update it and I think the show stopped for a reason: people had enough of it. It’s way too slow, and when we got to the halfway mark, the same first contestant was still plugging away, and had only answered 8 questions.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Jeremy Clarkson continues tomorrow night at 9pm, and then every night at the same time up until Friday May 11th, and after broadcast, each episode will be on the ITV Hub. It’s unlikely to be on Blu-ray or DVD afterwards.
Episode 1: 3/10
Presenter: Jeremy Clarkson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.