Teacher rues loss of TV fortune after phone disaster. Nicola Porter reports
An English teacher who lost pound;15,000 after crashing out of ITV quiz show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? admitted this week: "All I saw was pound signs."
Dave Clark faced staff and pupils at Cwrt Sart comprehensive school, Neath, on Monday after going home from the popular show on Saturday night with just pound;1,000.
The pub quiz lover thought he was certain to go away with at least Pounds 32,000 after being asked which nationality film director Milos Forman was - even though he used a phone-a-friend lifeline.
"I was sure he was Hungarian and Robert, my chosen phone-a-friend, thought it might be," said Mr Clark. "I was gutted when the answer was Czechoslovakia, and I later discovered other friends on my list knew that."
Mr Clarke, a father-of-five from Port Talbot, breezed through early questions in the prime-time show after winning fastest finger first in the first round.
Contestants who make it through have three lifelines as they make their way towards the elusive million-pound question that only four contestants have previously answered correctly.
However, Mr Clark said years of practice in pub quizzes at Aberavon rugby club in Port Talbot should have put him in good stead.
"I will probably never experience that amazing adrenalin-fuelled feeling again," said Mr Clarke. "All I could see was pound signs and I knew then I was going away with more money than when I came - it was a question of how much.
"Pupils and staff at the school have been great and really supportive, and have not rubbed it in that I lost so much money."
Quiz host Chris Tarrant commiserated with Mr Clarke during an after-show drink. Mr Clark said he seemed "genuinely upset" for him.
When introduced on to the show, Mr Clarke had some light banter over the Welsh language.
In a reply to a question, he told Mr Tarrant: "Not all people in Wales speak Welsh."
However, he said more and more people spoke Welsh - especially teachers.
"If I taught in another area of Wales I would probably have to speak it," he admitted.
Mr Clark said he would be sharing his pound;1,000 winnings from the show, that was filmed just after Easter, with his pub quiz pals. However, he is staying tightlipped over his performance in his biggest TV challenge yet - Mastermind.
Although he has already been in the famous black chair he would only divulge his chosen specialist subject: the summer Olympics 1896 - 2004.
A spokesperson for the comprehensive school said: "Dave is great, a real character. We were all sorry to see him lose out."