Fifteen-To-One Millennium Quiz (Channel 4, 1999)
Here’s a look back at another variation on Fifteen-To-One, one of my favourite game shows. The Millennium Quiz was a special edition with modified rules which was shown on Christmas Day 1999 and ran for almost two hours. It was hosted as ever by William G Stewart. As was the case with just about every other programme on TV at the end of 1999, the word “millennium” was inserted into the show’s title rather needlessly, but it was the basis for this edition to feature questions about the history of the world over the past 1,000 years.
Instead of 15 contestants, 25 contestants were invited to take part. They had been chosen from the 25,000 contestants who had appeared on Fifteen-To-One over the previous 12 years. Several series winners and top of the finals board winners were invited to take part, including the then reigning champion Nick Terry who had just won his fourth series, more than any other contestant on the show, and many other familiar faces took part, including our old friend Bill McKaig. All the contestants were playing for a prestigious trophy that had been specially commissioned for the programme.
The rules were different too. In this version, there were not three lives, every contestant started with 100 points. In the first round they would each be asked two questions, scoring ten points for a correct answer, and having five points deducted for an incorrect one. The format for round two was different as well.
In round two, each contestant would be asked five questions, with the same scoring system being used. After a contestant was asked their question, they would be told the category of the next question, and then they nominated a number for who they would like to face that question. At the end of this round the ten lowest-scoring contestants were eliminated.
In the next round, the 15 remaining contestants were again all asked five questions, this time with all them on events that happened in the 20th Century. At the end of this round, the three highest-scoring contestants would go into the final, although there was a tiebreak so even more questions had to be asked before we knew the finalists.
The three surviving contestants then went into the final, which was played in the style of a series grand final. All 40 questions on the buzzer, ten points for a correct answer, a life lost for an incorrect one. After so many questions in this marathon edition of the show, one clear winner eventually emerged. It was Kevin Ashman, who was the winner of series 3, and definitely one of the best contestants to have appeared on the show.
I don’t think that I remember watching the Millennium Quiz the first time round, so it was great to finally see it when it was uploaded to YouTube, and the battle between the contestants was fascinating. I still have the Fifteen-To-One Champion Of Champions Special and the revival to review on here. I’d also like to review The Fifteen-To-One Scrapbook, but that doesn’t seem to have appeared online and I never recorded it myself, if anyone does have a copy to upload I’d be very grateful.