Classic ITV gameshow Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is returning for a special week of shows – with Jeremy Clarkson popping the questions.
The Grand Tour presenter takes the role once occupied by Christ Tarrant to mark the 20th anniversary since the phenomenally successful quiz began.
The new versions will air as a “stripped event” across one week later this spring, consisting of seven hour-long episodes.
As usual, the show will offer members of the public the chance to win £1,000,000 – with each contestant aiming to answer 15 questions to claim the cash. They will be helped along the way by familiar lifelines ask the audience, phone a friend and going 50:50 option with “a number of new twists and turns” also promised by ITV.
Jeremy Clarkson said: “I have always loved the show and am thrilled to be involved with its re- birth. I’m a big fan of quiz shows and I’m looking forward to hosting this iconic TV show and hopefully making a few millionaires!”
He added on Twitter after the news was announced that he “can’t wait to get cracking”.
Can't wait to get cracking with Millionaire. Always loved that show.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) March 9, 2018
Siobhan Greene, Head of Entertainment, ITV added: “It felt like a no brainer to celebrate a show that was a trail blazer of its time and broke the mould. In doing this one off special week, I hope Millionaire will be introduced to a whole new generation. And with TV legend Jeremy Clarkson asking the questions, frankly anything could happen. I can’t wait.”
ITV was unable to confirm why 71-year-old Tarrant is not presenting the return of the show. In 2014 his manager confirmed that he had a mini stroke on a flight from Bangkok to London.
During its time on air Who Wants to be a Millionaire was sold across the world and saw six people win the million-pound jackpot in the UK.
Following its debut in 1998 it ran for nearly 16 years and 592 episodes and was a broadcasting phenomenon which changed the fortunes of ITV.
At its peak in 1999 it was attracting up to 19 million viewers per episode and helped then controller of programmes David Liddiment assert ITV’s dominance over BBC1 in the ratings at the time.
It was also beset by controversy in 2001 when British Army Major Charles Ingram was said to have cheated his way to the prize, allegedly using his wife and another accomplice to help him with the answers by coughing.
He was convicted of deception in 2003 and given an 18-month suspended sentence by Southwark Crown Court. But he has continued to maintain his innocence.