Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
I was both fun and a little daunting to appear as Duncan Bannatyne’s ‘phone-a-friend’ on the celebrity edition of the ITV quiz show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ The question was: how do you express the year 2013 in Roman numerals, a choice of answers was given and the correct one was MMXIII.
The programme phones its ‘phone-a-friend’ participants in real time and no editing takes place. You are put straight through to Chris Tarrant and there are thirty seconds to answer - including the time taken to read the question!
Duncan Bannatyne had teamed up with Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford and was stuck on the Roman numeral question, which was worth £20,000. Fortunately I knew the answer - not because of any classical education, I went to comprehensive school in Middlesbrough! - But because I watch the credits on TV shows in my PR job and know how the date is expressed; it changed to MM in the year 2000.
Duncan and Greg stormed the show by going on to win £150,000 for the charities Mary’s Meals, which Duncan has supported for many years, and Sport Aid.
It all goes to show the power of Duncan’s celebrity. He is one of the few really well known business people in the UK. Recognition has worked with him since 1992 and he is a genuinely inspirational character. This one appearance generated tens of thousands of pounds for charity to add to the millions he has raised over the years. He comes across as tough and uncompromising on the Dragons’ Den TV show, which is a true character trait in his business life too but he is also somebody with his feet on the ground and has a real instinct for the needs of people less fortunate than him. Well done Duncan and Greg!