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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire crowns first winner in 14 years

Written by on 11 September 2020

A history and politics teacher has been crowned as the first winner of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 14 years.

Donald Fear, 57, now plans to spend some of his £1m prize money on a motor home to holiday across the UK.

The father of four, who lives in Telford, correctly answered the final 15th question about the death of a famous pirate in 1718.

Mr Fear, who has been married to his wife Debs for 33 years, is the sixth champion in the ITV programme’s 22-year history.

The lucky streak runs in the family as his elder brother Davyth won £500,000 as a contestant on the same programme last year.

Mr Fear and his wife embarked on a caravan trip along the Northumberland coast with his wife after his win.

The couple previously planned to visit Santander, Bilbao and Pamplona in Spain before heading for the Pyrenees, but were thwarted by COVID-19.

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Asked how he would be spending his next holiday, Mr Fear revealed he intended to buy a motor home and visit “wonderful Britain”.

He said: “Much as I’d love to jump on the next plane to the States or something like that, it’s just not an option.

“So for the moment it’s wonderful Britain, probably Wales first of all – so a motor home in Wales is what I’m going to spend my million pounds on.”

Mr Fear is seen at the moment he found out he had won £1million

Jeremy Clarkson, the show’s host, said Mr Fear was like “having the Encyclopaedia Britannica sitting opposite me” and added: “It’s Google, in a head”.

Mr Fear, who described himself as a “bit of a democratic socialist”, said he planned to give at least 70% of his winnings to members of his family and spend the rest on a “comfortable retirement”.

He also rubbished the idea of buying an Aston Martin sports car or moving house, saying: “It’s in a lovely area and I’ve been there for 27 years.”

After winning the second fastest finger first round of Friday’s show, Mr Fear said he was “in the zone immediately”.

However, he admitted: “Then my next thing to negotiate was getting on the chair because I was a bit worried I was going to fall off… because I’ve got quite short legs.

“I was concentrating, I was sitting as absolutely still as I can, so this thing about (me being) cool and calm is actually me trying not to make a complete idiot of myself on national television.”

The final question he answered correctly was: “In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?”

The answer was: Blackbeard.

“I’m a dates man,” he said.

“You don’t be a history teacher for 33 years without knowing a few dates, and the date 1718 and Blackbeard leapt out at me instantly.”

Jeremy Clarkson compared Mr Fear to 'Encyclopaedia Britannica'
Jeremy Clarkson compared Mr Fear to ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’

Mr Fear only used one of his lifelines, 50:50, to win the jackpot, leaving his two “phone a friend” and “ask the host” options unused.

The episodes were pre-recorded without a studio audience due to COVID-19, with contestants given the option of a double “phone a friend” in place of asking the audience.

Mr Fear, who was born in Bristol, said he had since resigned his job as a teacher at Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar school in Newport, Shropshire, whose alumni include former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But he said: “The rules are you have to go at the end of a term.

“Actually, I never investigated the possibility of whether it would be possible not to go back at all – but how unfair to my A-level students that would be?”

Mr Fear added: “I was planning to go in two years anyway just before my 60th birthday.

“As it is, I’m going just after my 58th.”

Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar shared their congratulations on Twitter.

A post from the school’s account reads: “Wow what a performance from as cool as a cucumber Mr Fear! Congratulations from everyone at Adams! ‘I taught it to Year 8 kids!'”

Mr Fear celebrated his win with his brother, who he claimed was the more intelligent sibling.

He said: “He is so pleased for me.

“We went to spend a night in a hotel with our wives last week and got absolutely plastered and he kept poking me saying how pleased and how overjoyed he was by it.”

Ingram Wilcox was the last winner of the top prize, going all the way in 2006.

In all, five contestants previously won the £1 million prize on the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The first was Judith Keppel in November 2000.

For her final question, then-host Chris Tarrant asked: “Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?”

Ms Keppel correctly answered Henry II.

The 15 questions Mr Fear answered correctly to win £1million

1 – £100

In the UK, the abbreviation NHS stands for National what Service?

Humanity / Health / Honour / Household

Correct answer: Health

2 – £200

Which Disney character famously leaves a glass slipper behind at a royal ball?

Pocahontas / Sleeping Beauty / Cinderella / Elsa

Correct answer: Cinderella

3 – £300

What name is given to the revolving belt machinery in an airport that delivers checked luggage from the plane to baggage reclaim?

Hangar / Terminal / Concourse / Carousel

Correct answer: Carousel

4 – £500

Which of these brands was chiefly associated with the manufacture of household locks?

Phillips / Flymo / Chubb / Ronseal

Correct answer: Chubb

5 – £1,000

The hammer and sickle is one of the most recognisable symbols of which political ideology?

Republicanism / Communism / Conservatism / Liberalism

Correct answer: Communism

6 – £2,000

Which toys have been marketed with the phrase “robots in disguise”?

Bratz Dolls / Sylvanian Families / Hatchimals / Transformers

Correct answer: Transformers

7 – £4,000

What does the word loquacious mean?

Angry / Chatty / Beautiful / Shy

Correct answer: Chatty

8 – £8,000

Obstetrics is a branch of medicine particularly concerned with what?

Childbirth / Broken bones / Heart conditions / Old age

Correct answer: Childbirth

9 – £16,000

In Doctor Who, what was the signature look of the fourth Doctor, as portrayed by Tom Baker?

Bow-tie, braces and tweed jacket / Wide-brimmed hat and extra long scarf / Pinstripe suit and trainers / Cape, velvet jacket and frilly shirt

Correct answer: Wide-brimmed hat and extra long scarf

10 – £32,000

Which of these religious observances lasts for the shortest period of time during the calendar year?

Ramadan / Diwali / Lent / Hanukkah

Correct answer: Diwali

11 – £64,000

At the closest point, which island group is only 50 miles south-east of the coast of Florida?

Bahamas / US Virgin Islands / Turks and Caicos Islands / Bermuda

Correct answer: Bahamas

12 – £125,000

Construction of which of these famous landmarks was completed first?

Empire State Building / Royal Albert Hall / Eiffel Tower / Big Ben Clock Tower

Correct answer: Big Ben Clock Tower

13 – £250,000

Which of these cetaceans is classified as a “toothed whale”?

Gray whale / Minke whale / Sperm whale / Humpback whale

Correct answer: Sperm whale

14 – £500,000

Who is the only British politician to have held all four “Great Offices of State” at some point during their career?

David Lloyd George / Harold Wilson / James Callaghan / John Major

Correct answer: James Callaghan

15 – £1 million

In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?

Calico Jack / Blackbeard / Bartholomew Roberts / Captain Kidd

Correct answer: Blackbeard