Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Chris's Final Answer - TV review: 'Tarrant isn't quite on the money'
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Wednesday 12 February 2014
In 1998, Capital FM breakfast programme presenter Chris Tarrant was asked to host a new game show on ITV. "Cash Mountain" had the largest cash prize in British television history, but might never have also become the world's most successful quiz, if it hadn't been retitled. Who wants to be a Millionaire? Pretty much everyone.
At its peak, the Saturday night stalwart was watched by one in three of the British population, but Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has gradually wound down operations to the occasional celebrity specials, and last year ITV announced that it would end for good following Tarrant's retirement. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Chris's Final Answer, was the last one and a chance to reflect on the phenomenon it once was.
You can keep your million quid, I'd rather get my hands on Tarrant's magical elixir of youth. The man hasn't aged a day in 15 years. Then again, the dim lighting in the Millionaire studio is rather flattering. This clip show saw Tarrant sat in his usual seat, introducing extracts with his usual delivery style, and so, sadly, it was too stiffly showbiz to offer any candid behind-the-scenes insight. Maybe in another 15 years?
It would have been fascinating, for instance, to hear what our host really made of Major Charles Ingram, the eccentric 2001 contestant whose cough-cough conspiracy led the way to a million pound win – swiftly followed by a conviction for deception. Or whether he personally found it less satisfying to watch the already-loaded banker Robert Brydges walk away with the jackpot. We did get to see some entertaining footage of Tarrant's equivalents in WWTBAM's various international versions. The Japanese host, Chris's favourite, speaks entirely in Japanese, save for barking a sharp "final ansah!" at apparently random intervals.
So that's it, then. No more chances for ordinary Britons to escape everyday drudgery by becoming instant millionaires.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant