It’s a bittersweet time for Chris Tarrant. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has not only recently celebrated its 15th birthday, but has now bowed out of the limelight for good.
The final episode of the dream-making game show aired last week, and in the company of celebrities Dom Joly, James Nesbitt, Dave Myers, Rachel Riley, Kevin Bridges and Chris Hoy, Chris doled out those all-important questions for the very last time.
WWTBAM? is now the most internationally popular TV franchise of all time - airing in more than 100 countries world wide - and has even been thrust into many families’ Christmas Day festivities in the form of a board game.
It’s the end of an era, and so it’s only fitting that the man at the centre of it all would have a few words to say about the highs, lows and controversies surrounding such a phenomenally successful programme.
In an hour-long programme Chris takes a look at some his favourite memories of the show, which debuted in 1998, recalls the contestants that made the biggest impressions and discusses the million-pound moments, including the first winner, Judith Keppel.
The lucky lady would be the first of five millionaires, while the sixth big winner, the ‘coughing major’ Charles Ingram, made headlines worldwide after cheating. He was found guilty of deception in 2003 amid one of the biggest scandals game-show television had ever seen (mind you, he’s been booked for all kinds of reality programmes over the years, so he’s probably having the last laugh). No doubt Chris will have something to say about that incident, as well discussing key moments from umpteen celebrity editions of the show.
There’s been no end of familiar faces wanting to get involved in one of our biggest game shows. The likes of Fern Britton, Sir Alan Sugar, Patsy Palmer and even the big man himself Simon Cowell have all tried their hand at reaching the dizzying heights of that £1million marker. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife Jackie, amid great controversy, nearly hit the jackpot, but chose to walk away from the £1million question.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will go down in television history - after all, the premise proved so entertaining that Danny Boyle used it as the focus of his Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
But how does the presenter feel about its demise?
“I’ll miss it but I won’t be hugely sad,” Chris told The Telegraph. “I’ve had the best of it. When we first started, I thought we might get four years if we were lucky.”
And even though Chris is now 67, he’s got no plans to slow down. In fact, he explained to the Telegraph that he’s busier than ever.
“All my mates say I should retire, and Jane [his partner] says I should - but I tell her I’ll be at home all week, driving her up the wall. The reality at the moment is that I’m so busy I can’t think.”
Something tells us this isn’t the last we’ll see of Chris Tarrant...