She wanted to be a millionaire

3rd October 2003 at 01:00
... but had to settle for pound;1,000. Helen Ward on one classics teacher's torrid encounter with Chris Tarrant

Where was the 1970 football World Cup held? a) Mexico b) by the handles c) isn't that the question which teacher Liz Mills got wrong on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and lost pound;7,000?

"I said Mexico," said the Cambridge classics graduate, "and then changed my mind and said Sweden."

"As soon as Chris Tarrant asked if it was my final answer, I knew I had it wrong because the audience groaned."

Miss Mills rang the quiz show's entry line in February when she was on a postgraduate certificate in education course at King's College, London.

Her turn in the hot seat came in September, just as she started work as a classics teacher at the private pound;21,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey school.

She said: "It was a nice way of breaking the ice with the pupils. It was only my second week there and so I was very new to them."

The first day of filming, a Wednesday, ended with Liz having answered the pound;4,000 question. Then she had a week back at work being coached by her pupils, before returning to the Elstree studio to continue the quiz.

She said: "Some pupils were asking me questions, such as what was the capital of Bermuda. On the second day of filming, I even went into school first and taught three Greek lessons before going to the TV studios."

On returning she got one more question right, worth pound;8,000, before faltering on the world cup question, worth pound;16,000.

She said: "People were so nice. Working in a girls' school it was the perfect question to lose on, because so many people said they had no idea and everyone thought it was really hard."

Miss Mills did not go home empty-handed though - she has a cheque for pound;1,000.

"I think I'll spend it on something frivolous," she said. But I haven't even cashed the cheque yet - it is just nice to look at."

Only one teacher, physicist David Edwards, a former winner of TV's Mastermind, has gone all the way in the quiz, winning pound;1 million in 2001.

Before that, teachers had among the worst record on the show, winning an average of pound;8,400 in the first six series.

Could you have done better?

Liz Mills's Millionaire questions...

1. pound;100

Which of these would be tossed using a pitchfork?

a Spaghetti, b Hay, c Caber, d Pancake

2. pound;200

Adults still under maternal domination are said to be 'tied to their mother's...' what?

a Shoelaces, b Pyjama cord, c Apron strings, d Hair ribbons

3. pound;300

An aperitif is usually drunk before doing what?

a Going to bed, b Eating a meal, c Hunting, d Getting married

4. pound;500

Which of these is a strand of yarn or rope?a Fry, b Ply, c Sly, d Wry

5. pound;1,000

Which of these phrases is cockney rhyming slang for 'face'?

a Snail's pace, b Briefcase, c Tennis ace, d Boat race

6. pound;2,000

Which of these is a book by the zoologist Desmond Morris? a The Naked Primate, b The Naked Gorilla, c The Naked Ape, d The Naked Baboon

7. pound;4,000

The South China Sea is part of which larger body of water? a Pacific Ocean, b Atlantic Ocean, c Arctic Ocean, d Indian Ocean

(Liz Mills used "phone a friend" lifeline here).

8. pound;8,000

Which singer released an album of duets called 'Reload' in 1999? a David Bowie, b Tom Jones, c Paul McCartney, d Elton John

9. pound;16,000

Which country hosted the 1970 Football World Cup Finals?

a Chile, b Sweden,c England, d Mexico

(Liz Mills got this one wrong, so walked away with pound;1,000)

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