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Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 15:33 GMT
The Millionaires' club
John Carpenter
John Carpenter was the first Millionaire jackpot winner
Judith Keppel's 1m win on ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire? puts her into an exclusive club of quiz show winners. BBC News Online's Darren Waters looks at the fate of other jackpot takers.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? has spawned 80 versions around the world and is watched by more than 200 million people.


I answered 15 questions... I didn't pull anybody from a burning building

Dan Blonsky

But the show has only ever had 14 winners and Mrs Keppel's win is the biggest of them all.

The USA can boast six jackpot winners - the greatest number of winners of any country showing the programme - but $1m is no match for 1m.

In the US the first thing that Millionaire jackpot winner Dan Blonsky did was delist his telephone number.

Like the other winners of the programme he became an instant celebrity.

Click here to see the questions that made millionaires

The day after his victory was broadcast he spent 11 hours fielding interviews.

He said recently: "People come up to me saying, 'You're my hero' and that's crazy.

"I mean, I answered 15 questions on a TV game show. I didn't pull anybody from a burning building."

Press interest

He has also suffered the same level of press interest that surrounds Mrs Keppel.

Tabloid newspapers probed into his love-life, just as Mrs Keppel's distant family connection to Camilla Parker-Bowles has caused a fuss.

The winner of the $1m reality game Survivor Richard Hatch has been swathed in notoriety since he collected his winnings, and the programme has been condemned as a fix by other contestants.

Most of the jackpot winners have quit their jobs and some, such as Hatch, have gained more than just 15 minutes of fame.

The million-dollar winner of the reality game show has made a book deal, called 10 Survival Secrets: How to Make A Million Dollars, Lose 100 lbs. And Live Happily Ever After.

Since Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was first broadcast it has raised significantly the stakes for TV quiz shows and TV prizes.

In the US, Survivor subsequently offered its $1m prize, while programmes such as Greed, It's Your Chance of a Lifetime and The New Twenty-One also offer six-figure prizes.

In the UK last year, Clare Barwick and Ian Woodley won 1m each courtesy of Chris Evans and Virgin Radio.


John Carpenter's question: "Which US President appeared on the TV series Laugh-in?"

A: Richard Nixon.

Dan Blonsky's question: "What is the distance between the Earth and the Sun?"

A: 93m miles.

Clare Barwick's question: "Which of these two writers was really a woman? George Eliot or TS Eliot?"

A: George.

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