Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant loses £93,000 after the audience gives him the wrong answer to £250,000 question (but do YOU know which is correct?)
- Oli Blake from Canterbury was on £125k when he faced a question to get £250k
- He had to match an opening line to a novel but had read none of the four books
- He used his 50/50 lifeline and then asked the audience – and they got it wrong
- Presenter Jeremy Clarkson described his £93,000 loss as a ‘nightmare’
An unlucky Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant threw away £93,000 last night after following the audience’s advice on a tricky literature question.
Oli Blake, 24, from Canterbury, had successfully made it as far as £125,000 in the popular quiz show and could have walked away with the cash.
The financial analyst, faced a question about opening lines from great works of fiction which could have doubled his money to £250,000.
He was asked which novel begins with the words: ‘3 May. Bistritz. Left Munich at 8:35PM.’
With £125,000 in winnings his for the taking, Oli faced a literature question to get to £250,000
Having not read any of the four novels Oli used his 50/50 lifeline but remained none the wiser
He asked the studio audience, but by a ratio of more than four to one, they recommended the wrong answer
Oli responded to the loss of £93,000 with good grace, saying ‘It’s something I now know’
The four options were Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dracula, Heart of Darkness and Frankenstein.
But Mr Blake, who studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, admitted to not having read any of the four novels.
Talking through the options he found himself unable to hazard a guess, so he asked presenter Jeremy Clarkson if he could use his ’50/50′ lifeline to remove two wrong answers.
The computer removed the novels by Joseph Conrad and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley leaving him with just Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Dracula to choose from.
Jeremy Clarkson said to him: ‘If you get it right you’ve got a quarter of a million and you’re two questions from the big one.’
Host Jeremy Clarkson was sympathetic when the gamble didn’t pay off, saying ‘What an absolute nightmare’
The Correct Answers
The cold war spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Spy, by John Le Carre, published in 1974, begins: ‘The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn’t dropped dead at Taunton races, Jim would never have come to Thursgood’s at all.’
Dracula, by Bram Stoker, first published in 1897, opens with ‘JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL (Kept in shorthand.) 3 May, Bistritz. Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.’
The 1899 short novel telling the story of a trip on the Congo River, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, begins: ‘The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.’
And Frankenstein, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in a single weekend when she was just 18 and published in 1818, starts with a letter from the narrator: ‘You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.’
Knowing he could still walk away with £125,000 – and that he would lose £93,000 and drop to winnings of just £32,000 if he got it wrong – Oli went a step further and asked the studio audience.
He said he imagined many of them would have read at least one of the books and would know the answer.
The audience overwhelmingly voted for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with 81 per cent giving him that answer.
Even at the that point, the rules of the game stipulate Oli could still have walked away from the podium, refused to give any answer, and taken home a massive £125,000 in prize money.
But with the audience semingly so sure, he took a risk.
He said: ‘I think let’s go with… let’s do it. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, final answer.’
But with a groan from the audience, the correct answer – Dracula – flashed green on the screen and Mr Clarkson said: ‘It’s the wrong answer.
‘What an absolute nightmare, it’s Dracula.’
Oli seemed to take the reduction in his winnings with good grace, responding: ‘It’s something I now know.’
He went home with winnings of £32,000.
They’ve been wrong before: greatest Millionaire audience fails
The wisdom of crowds – or lack thereof – cost Oli from Canterbury £93,000 last night but it isn’t the first time a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire audience has let down the contestant.
In 2009 a participant named Jill was on £4,000 when she faced a question on Parliamentary tradition which would have doubled her money to £8,000.
Jill used a 50/50 on this question about the House of Commons but still wasn’t sure
The studio audience – by the same margin as last night – got the answer wrong
The question was ‘Traditionally, what is the only occasion when alcohol is allowed into the chamber of the House of Commons?’
The correct answer is the Budget Speech – which the Chancellor usually survives by sipping a glass of whisky – but Jill was very unsure.
She used a 50/50 and then asked the audience, but 81 per cent of them got the answer wrong. She trusted them, and her winnings dropped from £4,000 down to £1,000.