It's so easy for first quiz show millionaire

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A PIECE of history was made yesterday when a woman became the first British quiz show contestant to win pounds 1m. Or rather, when a contestant on a quiz show correctly answered a question that any literate English GCSE pupil would have known instantly.

Clare Barwick, 35, from Worthing, West Sussex, beat 32 other competitors on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio. She won the pounds 1m prize in the final stage of the contest by correctly answering the question: "Which of these two writers was really a woman - George Eliot or T S Eliot?"

Mr Evans succeeded in stealing the thunder of ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which has so far failed to find a pounds 1m prize winner. But the latter at least sticks to the quaint tradition of declaring a contestant a loser if they get a question wrong. The pounds 1m winner yesterday got one of her 10 answers wrong, but who's counting? Under the Evans rules, since her rival also got it wrong she was allowed to continue.

Ms Barwick who beat Daron Cole, 35, from Belfast, said the first thing she would buy would be a West Ham United FC season ticket for her son, Alfie, 17 months. Almost overcome by emotion, the training consultant, who is expecting her second child in June, said she would definitely allow the money to change her: For a start, she planned to quit her job but had not told her boss yet.

Breakfast Show listeners have been competing for the right to take part in the final by answering two of three questions correctly. Mr Evans will give another pounds 1m away on his Channel 4 show TFI Friday on Christmas Eve. "It's the first time pounds 1m has been given away on TV or air in the whole world," he said.

Luckily for Virgin, the publicity generated from the stunt, sorry, competition will more than make up for the prize money given away. As Mr Evans candidly put it: "If you take it off what we've made it makes it easier to bear."

The correct answer, of course, was George Eliot, whose real name was Mary Ann Evans - no relation.