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Sir Alex Ferguson returns to Millionaire


Hello Roy, it’s Chris Tarrant here. I’ve got Sir Alex with me’.


Sadly, this is just me playing a fantasy game of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. On ITV on Thursday, in a live celebrity version of the quiz, it was in fact a fella called Jon who received the call from the host.

He was enlisted to help Eamonn Holmes raise money for charity with his partner who he referred to throughout as ‘boss’, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Only days ago, Fergie was on the BBC being installed as SPOTY’s first ever ‘Diamond’ geezer. And very happy and relaxed he looked too.

Winners: Sir Alex Ferguson and Eamonn Holmes won £50,000 for the Manchester United Foundation
Winners: Sir Alex Ferguson and Eamonn Holmes won £50,000 for the Manchester United Foundation

Gamble: Answering this question correctly would have taken them to £150,000, but their wrong answer dropped them back to £50,000
Gamble: Answering this question correctly would have taken them to £150,000, but their wrong answer dropped them back to £50,000


Now, he was in even chirpier mood, and even more laid back in an open-necked shirt, his hair just a little windblown, as he took his place in the dugout alongside one of the best known of Manchester United’s celebrity fans.

Mind you, unlike when he was cajoling his players, or instructing the fourth official on how much added time he required, it was the venerable Irish TV host who did most of the talking.

Indeed, it was Eamonn who told Tarrant, wearing a white shirt and red tie, that he and Fergie ‘appreciated you turning out in club colours’. But Chris has been in the big chair for a few years now, and was ready for him. ‘It’s actually a present from Arsene Wenger’, he replied.

It was probably lucky it wasn’t Roy Keane on the other end of the phone. Perhaps for more than one reason! Because the question was about who ‘Carmen’ was in Margaret Thatcher’s diary. Do you reckon Fergie’s former midfield general would have known that was her hairdresser?

It kept them on target for some serious prize money but even if up until then, the ‘boss’ still hadn’t really chipped in. Having failed to bring anything to the party on a Wham! question, it was Eamon who saved their bacon early on that one.

Larks: Carol Voderman and Caroline Quentin also appeared on the special live show
Larks: Carol Voderman and Caroline Quentin also appeared on the special live show


Disappointment: The pair previously appeared on the show in 2004 and won £32,000
Disappointment: The pair previously appeared on the show in 2004 and won £32,000

However, he did start to come into his own. He was all over the answer about which day of the week a team from Sheffield had adopted into their club name. And he knew full well that the Norwich chairman had the biggest selling cook books of all time. ‘She held the record up until a few weeks ago’, he told Eamon, who  might have been eyeing up Jamie Oliver as an option. But the boss had spoken. Delia Smith it was.

It turned out, in conversation with Chris, that Fergie is actually a bit of a quizzer even away from the bright lights of an ITV studio. He told him that one of the grandsons takes on the Tarrant role ‘and the three sons battle it out with me’. Although one can imagine the name is already on the trophy before the contest even starts. We all know who the winner is in that house!

Easy: The first question raised a smile from Fergie, and both answered it quickly
Easy: The first question raised a smile from Fergie, and both answered it quickly


Secret fan? Ferguson also knew the answer to question two, about the recent X-Factor show
Secret fan? Ferguson also knew the answer to question two, about the recent X-Factor show


That's not fair: The pair were even asked a football question
That's not fair: The pair were even asked a football question


Slightly tougher: Ferguson and Holmes didn't know that the minimum wage had been increased to (B) £6.31
Slightly tougher: Ferguson and Holmes didn't know that the minimum wage had been increased to (B) £6.31


Delia fan: The former Manchester United boss knew that Delia Smith had sold a record number of books
Delia fan: The former Manchester United boss knew that Delia Smith had sold a record number of books


Phone a friend: The duo had to ask a journalist to give them the answer to the question about Margaret Thatcher
Phone a friend: The duo had to ask a journalist to give them the answer to the question about Margaret Thatcher


50/50: Answering this question correctly meant they were guaranteed to win at least £50,000
50/50: Answering this question correctly meant they were guaranteed to win at least £50,000


No answer: They had to use their switch lifeline to get out of answering this toughie
No answer: They had to use their switch lifeline to get out of answering this toughie

Back to the action, and just like the old days at OId Trafford, Fergie had the crowd on his side. The majority of the punters knew what the two men down on the field of play were unsure of. What was the minimum wage for over 21’s? Sort of symbolic, really. Given both of their trades, they may have been tempted to suggest something in the region of two grand?

‘Wasn’t worth guessing’, whispered Eamon to Fergie. ‘No, no’, answered Fergie. Not a man to leave anything to chance.

The boys were still going strong at this point and we had the chance to hear Sir Alex utter a sentence I imagine he has never said before. Or is likely to again. I for one will remember forever the immortal words, ‘I’m thinking seahorse’ falling from his lips.

Delight: Their guess of Norway took Ferguson and Holmes up to £75,000 - Chris Tarrant was also delighted
Delight: Their guess of Norway took Ferguson and Holmes up to £75,000 - Chris Tarrant was also delighted


Walking away: Sir Alex and Eamonn Holmes leave the stage after bagging £50,000
Walking away: Sir Alex and Eamonn Holmes leave the stage after bagging £50,000

However, in the end, it was the common house brick that undone them. Both seemed pretty unequivocal about the name for the indentation in them. ‘Newt’ they cried, almost as one. But as I’m sure you’re all screaming at your computer screens now, the answer is in fact ‘frog’.

And so it was that it was a slightly larger slimey green thing than they had thought was to be their stumbling block. Nevertheless, they still raised £50,000 for charity and Sir Alex had another notch in his belt on his post ‘boss’ charm offensive.

Of which, during one of the ad breaks, we saw a smiling Tom Daley trailing the fact that ‘Splash!’ would be making a return in January. I wonder? Fergie, dig the trunks out!
Sir Alex Ferguson returns to Millionaire Reviewed by admin Ucop on 6:51 AM Rating: 5

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