THIS week a brand-new series of famous quiz show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? is back on our screens. We chatted to quizmaster Jeremy Clarkson.
What have viewers got to look forward to this series?
It’s well worth watching. There are some really good, uplifting moments this series. When you watch someone who is doing really well, and you feel deserves the money, I’m just willing them on.
What do you think are the qualities that make a good Millionaire contestant?
A photographic memory, that seems to be the most important thing. You have to be able to look at the dates of every king and queen and be able to remember them. Rather than allow it to dribble out of the chin! That would be a very useful attribute to have.
And if you can take some risks as well? Well, if you know things then you don’t have to take risks. But risk-taking makes you popular on television.
How much information do you remember after coming across it on the show?
Well, I know the Yellow Pages has ceased production, but I can’t remember the year! It’s useless information that I retain, because I can’t remember the important bit of it.
Do you think you’ve become more intelligent? Knowing things doesn’t make you intelligent. You can know nothing at all – a dolphin knows nothing at all and is quite intelligent. Intelligence is the ability to look at point A and point B and then make an opinion out of those two things. That is what makes you intelligent! Knowing when the Battle of Agincourt was doesn’t make you intelligent, but knowing the effects of the Battle of Agincourt does. I know lots of people who know a lot of things but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re intelligent.
What do you think is the most difficult part of your role?
The usual boring television stuff… remembering not to dribble! Simple things like that. I think television presenters have a particularly easy ride; I don’t think we have any difficult bits. Oh, actually, I know what is difficult for me: I’ve never worked with an autocue and I can’t read it from a long way away because of my failing eyesight!
What other quizzes do you enjoy watching? BBC’s Pointless. It’s a nicely-paced game show. If you’re watching it with a friend or family, you’ve got time like you have on Millionaire to discuss among yourselves what you think the answer is. That is the cleverness of it.
What is the best advice you could give to someone who is hoping to come and play the game?
Don’t waste my time! If you think you might be a bit stupid, just don’t bother making the phone call. Don’t waste my time, don’t waste the viewers’ time and don’t waste our time. There is one man in the current series, and that is the type of contestant we like. We’re looking for great contestants with great stories who we want to get behind and we want them to do well. Everybody likes to see somebody they like have good fortune. That is all we want. Likeable people who know lots of stuff!
In these slightly odd days on lockdown, how are you spending your time?
I’m farming. Getting up at 6am and driving tractors until the sun goes down. And then continuing to drive them, as they’ve got headlights! I’m creating a new wetland area for insects and lizards and voles. But I’ve got a thousand acres to farm. Unfortunately I can’t just sit and watch the insects. But I will say my potatoes are very lovely and my broad beans will be ready soon!