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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK


BBC offers year off work

Gary Lineker launched the 2000 To 1 contest

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has launched a one-off millennium quiz show on BBC One that gives the winner an entire year off work.

Lineker was joined by Scott Chisholm, star of the BBC's promotional film Small People, for the official unveiling of the show called 2000 To 1.

The programme will allow contestants to play for the chance to win double their salary and a 12-month break.

But its main aim is to help raise money for the Children's Promise Millennium Final Hour Charity Appeal.

One hour's salary

Potential contestants will be asked to donate one hour's salary to help the young and to make them eligible to enter.

BBC One Controller Peter Salmon said: "I am delighted to throw the support of BBC One behind the Children's Promise.

"2000 To 1 is one of the most exciting ideas I can think of to thank people for donating to this charity and the lucky person who wins will be the envy of the nation."

[ image: The BBC's Children In Need is one of the charities which will benefit]
The BBC's Children In Need is one of the charities which will benefit
Initially the BBC will take on 2,000 people to try for the chance to have the whole of the New Year free from the daily grind.

In each of five heats, to be broadcast through December, 400 people will be whittled down to just one.

The five finalists will then take part in a quiz on 2000 Today, the 27-hour broadcast starting on millennium eve, during which the winner will be chosen.

Unemployed people are also free to take part in the contest as long as they prove they have made a donation.

Catherine Kelly of the BBC's Millennium Programmes: "A prize money can't buy"
An out-of-work winner would win double the national average wage, around £40,000.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation was confident that an employed winner would not come up against too many objections from the boss.

"The five finalists will have known for around two weeks that they could be in line for the prize so they will have had time to warn their employers, but we will help as much as we can to arrange the year off.

Charity alliance

"No employer will want to be seen not entering into the spirit of the competition.

"We hope this will capture people's imaginations and at the end of the day we can help someone's dream come true. And it's a way of giving something to charity."

Children's Promise is an alliance of seven leading children's charities.

They are Barnardo's, BBC Children In Need, ChildLine, The Children's Society, Comic Relief, NCH Action For Children and the NSPCC.

Cash to pay for the prize will come from High Street retailer Marks & Spencer, which is also paying for ads on commercial channels to promote Children's Promise.

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