Livewire - February 7, 2014

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By Charles Graham

I shall miss Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Gripping, occasionally frustrating but always watchable, it has been one of television’s greatest game show triumphs.

Chris Tarrant, who had presented so many dud quiz shows we lost count of them (does anyone remember Lose a Million?) proved the perfect host.

And because of its potentially life-changing format, it is one of the few programmes which made big news, whether it be the elite top prize winners or the notorious cheat Major Charles Ingram.

I do regret that it went totally “celebrity” though. One-offs when famous folk entered for charity were fine, different and commendable.

But it lost its way when it forgot that its biggest attraction was the ability to turn an ordinary Joe Bloggs into a millionaire in front of your eyes on live TV. Heck, it was such a successful idea that it went global and they also made a movie about it.

It was a pity the first UK winner was filthy rich already, but never mind. There were plenty of other great moments, not least when Wigan’s own Egg Head Pat Gibson hit the jackpot.

That it has ended now Tarrant has hung up his mic this week is a shame.

I’d like to think it will make a comeback one day when viewer nostalgia takes hold.

The series commissioners will certainly find it tricky to replace Millionaire with something as humanly dramatic.