WHO Wants To Be A Millionaire? viewers were left devastated tonight after a clever contestant lost out on the £1million prize – despite knowing the right answer.
Retired GP Andrew Townsley got within touching distance of making Who Wants To A Millionaire? history on tonight’s show, only to fall at the final hurdle.
The Glasgow-based doctor, who uses a wheelchair because of progressive multiple sclerosis, took home £500,000 after deciding to not take a punt on the final question.
The only thing standing between dad-of-two Andrew, 53, and becoming the sixth ever winner of the show was a tricky question about the oldest motorsport event from a choice of four.
After his Phone a Friend failed to come up with the answer, Andrew decided not to risk dropping back to his £64,000 safety net – even though he had an inkling that turned out to be right.
One fan said: "Absolutely gutting he would have won the million pound question, but how many of us would actually have played that question considering how much was at stake? Walking away with 500k was definitely the smart decision."
Another added: "Just got the million quid question right. Still that fella getting 500k is class well done to him."
Someone else said: "As much as £500k would be incredible, you'd still be absolutely spewing that your guess was correct! That said it's probably easier to make that guess with nothing riding on it!"
Andrew sailed through the early questions, barely breaking sweat as he got to the £125,000 mark without even debating using a lifeline.
He put host Jeremy Clarkson under pressure to help him win £250,000 and asked the audience to reach half a million.
But he wasn't prepared to risk dropping back down to £64,000.
After taking the money, Andrew was given the chance by host Jeremy Clarkson to attempt the question without risk — and got it right.
Asked how close he was to taking the plunge for real in an exclusive interview with The Sun, Andrew said: “Oh I was close. It was very tempting, being offered that much.
“I thought, ‘hmm, how close am I? Sixty per cent?’ But I was actually 50/50. If I still had the 50/50 lifeline I would have."
This wasn’t Andrew's first appearance on a quiz show. Since retiring five years ago because of his health he has tackled BBC’s Impossible and Pointless and Channel 4’s Fifteen To One.
Andrew’s career came to a sudden end when his condition became so bad he could no longer treat patients.
Progressive MS, which he was diagnosed with in 2000, causes muscle weakness and spasms.
Early in the show he told Jeremy he wanted to take Paddy to see Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada – but the coronavirus lockdown has thwarted most of his spending plans.
Andrew added: “My holiday plans have all fallen through a little. We were hopefully going to go and see the cricket in Australia, but again that’s looking a bit doubtful.
“I want to ensure there’s a bit for my two sons, who are 19 and 22, then having a bit of a financial cushion in this unsettled world.
“I honestly don’t know what my long-term plans will be. With my MS, it just means planning, and anything I do is more expensive.”
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