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The game (show) drain

It's been a good week for … quiz show fans

It's been a good week for … quiz show fans

Gameshow enthusiasts can look forward to some new brain fodder this year after ITV announced two new programmes. Ejector Seat - to be presented by Andi Peters, below - will see contestants thrust out of their seats if they fail to correctly answer a series of questions. The 21st Question involves participants in a winner-stays-on format as they work their way through 21 difficult general knowledge challenges. Question number one is: which popular TV gameshow has just been axed?

It's been a bad week for … would-be millionaires

In 15 years it has spawned five millionaires, inspired an Oscar-winning film, been involved in a high-profile court case and generated a catchphrase that has become part of the lexicon. So you might want to phone a friend for therapy now that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is going to the big television studio in the sky.

Presented by Chris Tarrant, the show - which became a global success - captivated millions of viewers and fed a nation mesmerised by aspiration. Why has it died? In the age of austerity, have we binned the dream of winning big? Or is £1 million just not big enough anymore?

"People used to say 'I'm going to go for it - it's the only chance I'll ever have to win a million quid," recalls Tarrant. "But in the last series people were happy to be out of here after 10 minutes with £20,000. And who am I to blame them? It's the recession. That 20K could get them out of debt, let them take the kids on holiday for the first time in years. People daren't risk it in the way they used to."

Actually, I reckon it's not so much to do with the money, just fickle viewers hankering after a new concept.

Countdown, Pointless, Eggheads … they all chunter along nicely with a loyal fanbase more interested in exercising their brains than watching people win loads of dosh. As for the participants, they're just striving for a cheesy trophy to adorn the mantelpiece and 15 minutes of fame to prove that their general knowledge passes muster.

Of course, no-one has any general knowledge any more. We just use Google instead. But Tarrant's show might well prove popular with daytime viewers over a cup of tea. So could "Who Wants Some Millionaire's Shortbread?" be a winner? We'll maybe find out after the break …

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