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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 12:28 GMT
'Millionaire' legal contracts urged
Judith Keppel and Chris Tarrant
Chris Tarrant with the UK's first 'millionaire' winner, Judith Keppel
A leading Irish lawyer has recommended that contestants in Who Wants to be a Millionaire should reach prior agreement with friends they plan to phone for help during the show.

Ward McEllin, who is president of the Republic of Ireland's Law Society, believes prior written agreements should be drawn up between contestants and their nominated "friends" before the questions begin to fly.

This agreement should address issues such as the division of prize money and a friend's liability if he offers the wrong answer.

Mr McEllin said such contracts could save friendships and avoid legal disputes.

"Unfortunately when money becomes involved, friendship can go out the window," he said.

Gay Byrne; Quiz show host
Gay Byrne: Hosts Irish version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire
"Anyone who was agreeing to help a friend on the programme should have the agreement in some form of writing, to avoid doubt at a later date.

"I think it could save friendships - if there is not some type of agreement, friends could fall out."

Mr McEllin believes the percentage which the winner would share with the friend should increase as the help received became more pivotal as the prize money increased.

The Republic of Ireland version of the show has been running since October and is hosted by Gay Byrne who previously compered the longest running TV chat show in the world, RTE's Late Late Show.

The largest prize money won on the show, which draws contestants from both sides of the border, is 125,000.

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See also:

01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Millionaire 'toff' fights back
20 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Questions on the path to 1m
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Millionaire moments
13 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Byrne to host 'millionaire' show
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