North Devon’s Scott Burgess was on tenterhooks last night (September 9) as he climbed back into the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? chair with big money to win or lose.
Audiences saw Tuesday night’s episode of the hit ITV quiz show close with the Braunton 25-year-old entrepreneur Scott sitting at £32,000.
But there was no safety net set and although one right answer would net him £64,000, one wrong answer would lose the maker of alcoholic ice cream £31,000.
A heroic effort saw him net the £64,000 and the Gazette spoke to the co-founder of ice cream business Good Times Roll today (September 10).
Scott said it had been an incredible experience and ‘completely surreal’.
He said: “I knew I was incredibly lucky to get on the show because so many apply for it. It was only three weeks before that I knew I was going to be on the show and the first thing I did was watch an episode back.
“I think I got about seven of the 10 questions wrong! So I locked myself in a room for three weeks with a set of encyclopaedias.”
His sister and his parents got involved and they made computer templates of ‘pretty much every show’ that Scott could practice for the ‘fastest finger’ round on, accompanied by a Rubik’s timer.
Show day came and Scott said: “Getting yourself in the chair is the highest pressure. I was visibly shaking – they had to stop at one point and ask ‘are you okay?’.
“The first one I played just felt like a dream, the money did not seem real at all. But then because I had to go away for the night and come back the next day, it felt like I had that cash. When I had that £32,000 I was so terrified of losing it.
“Jeremy Clarkson was amazing as well, he is honestly incredible. I did not know what to expect but he was really friendly, he was just such a great guy and in control of the whole thing.”
When Jeremy introduced the Wednesday night show he referred to Scott’s youth, saying: “Last time out, we had a foetus in the chair called Scott Burgess, who knew nothing about flooring or where the Andes were, but despite this he was doing rather well.”
With three lifelines remaining, Scott’s £64,000 question was: ‘Who was Secretary General of the United Nations on January 1, 2000?’
He used his 50:50 lifeline to reveal two options – Antonio Guterres or Kofi Annan. Scott decided to use his first ‘phone a friend’ and called his friend Julian, who instantly said ‘Kofi Annan’ but then said he was ‘pretty certain’.
On tenterhooks, Scott was left unsure so called his second friend Mandy, who also said Kofi Annan but admitted she wasn’t 100 per cent sure.
A bag of nerves, Scott made his choice of Kofi Annan and his relief was obvious when Jeremy confirmed he had won £64,000.
The £125,000 question was described as ‘a free shot’ as Scott would go home with £64,000 no matter what.
The question asked: ‘The Tracy brothers in the TV show Thunderbirds were named after the astronauts from which spaceflight programme?’
Scott said he had not even seen the show, but chose Apollo as it was a well-known successful programme.
A regretful Jeremy Clarkson ruefully admitted this was his specialist subject and ‘as a result I can tell you it’s the wrong answer’, revealing the name of the programme as Mercury and the names of the astronauts involved.
But nonetheless, Scott still went home with £64,000, far more than most manage.