A history teacher has become the first Who Wants to be a Millionaire winner in 14 years – just 12 months after his brother walked away with £500,000.
Donald Fear, 57, went the full distance tonight in just 20 minutes, answering almost every question without the slightest hesitation.
Mr Fear, who still had three of his lifelines left at the last hurdle, said he was able to answer the £1million question – ‘In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?’ – before he’d seen it properly, because he’d taught piracy one year as a special unit and was very good with dates.
The contestant, who teaches at Jeremy Corbyn‘s former school, whizzed through the questions in just 20 minutes – which is believed to be record time for the show.
Describing himself as ‘a bit of a democratic socialist’, Mr Fear said he planned give at least 70 per cent of his winnings to members of his family and spend the rest on a ‘comfortable retirement’.
Speaking to The Mirror, Donald said: ‘To be honest if I had a million pounds, I wouldn’t have a clue how to spend it. I could buy an Aston Martin for instance, but I could get into the thing, but I could never get out of it. I’m fat!
‘The only other thing you could possibly spend that sum of money on would be moving house but I am very happy with our house.
‘It is in a lovely area and we have been there 27 years and we have lovely neighbours, so why move somewhere else? So I would rather keep the money and give it away to people I love.
‘A motor home is the only purchase on the horizon. Things may occur to me and I can waste money for Britain but on small, trivial things.’
His older brother Davyth had also been a contestant on the programme last year – but fell at the final hurdle, walking away with £500,000 on September 1.
Donald Fear, 57, from Shropshire, scooped the £1 million prize during a sensational run on last night’s show, on which he only used one of his lifelines and knew the winning answer within a ‘microsecond’
Donald Fear is pictured with host Jeremy Clarkson winning the highest prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire
He said he was able to answer the £1million question – ‘In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?’ – before he’d seen it properly
Donald Fear spotted in public for the first time as he returns home from work, where he works as a geography teacher. Donald’s brother won 500k last year on Who wants to be a millionaire and 12 months later Donald is the first person in 14 years to win the million. Hours before the show is due to air! His mother and father posed with him and his youngest daughter as they settled down to watch the episode on Friday night
Donald Fear’s mother posed with him and his youngest daughter as they settled down to watch the episode on Friday night
Donald’s brother Davyth (pictured above) walked away from an ‘easy’ £1million question on a previous Millionaire appearance
But as a history buff, Donald, from Shropshire, knew the answer to his question instantly.
‘The first thing I spotted was that there was a date in there… then a microsecond later I saw that it was 1718,’ he said. ‘Then synapses went, ‘That’s got to be Blackbeard’. That was the only thing it could be. I’m a dates man.’
The day after his win in the recorded show, Mr Fear handed in his notice as head of history at Haberdashers’ Adams grammar school in Shropshire, which the former Labour leader attended.
He will see out the school term, then begin his retirement two years earlier than planned.
‘I resigned the day after the show, the rules are you have to go at the end of the term, but I’d never investigate the possibility about whether it was possible to not go back at all,’ he told the Mirror.
‘How unfair to my A level students would thay have been? They are amazing people and that would have been totally letting them down.
So what I have said is I will do this term and I will make sure my year 13 students don’t miss out in any way shape or form. And I’ll make sure the twelves are launched. It never crossed my mind to not to come back at all.’
Following his victory, Mr Fear said he went on holiday to Whitley Bay in a caravan the next day.
‘We went to an Italian restaurant and lashed out on a bottle of prosecco in the restaurant,’ he said.
When asked if his pupils had a nickname for him, Mr Fear said: ‘None that I know of, though I bet I might be called various things behind my back. I am unmercifully teased by my Politics students who think they know my political leanings!’
He intends to give 70 per cent of his winnings away to family members and to charity and leave himself with just enough for a ‘comfortable retirement’.
‘I’m not going to be a millionaire for very long because I’m giving loads of it away,’ he said.
‘I am deeply conscious of the incredibly distinguished list of previous winners – Eggheads, World Quiz Champions, Mastermind Champion, Brain of Britain, a barrister, a top civil servant…and me!
‘I feel I’m flying the flag for the teaching profession, redbrick universities – I went to Swansea – and historians!’
The father-of-four and grandfather hesitated on only two questions, using his 50/50 lifeline for one of them.
‘I was so fortunate,’ he said. ‘Of the 15 questions, I probably knew 13 immediately before the options appeared.’ He added: ‘A quiz is very easy if you know the answers and I did know the answers.’
He said he is ‘happy’ in the house he shares with Deb, his wife of 33 years. The couple are parents to Kat, 31, Ali, 30, Izzy, 26, and 22-year-old Chris.
The last £1million winner on the show was retired civil servant Ingram Wilcox in 2006.
When Mr Fear was speaking with host Jeremy Clarkson after reaching the £1,000 milestone, he spoke of his brother Davyth’s time on the programme.
‘When I applied to the show I didn’t know how much he won,’ Mr Fear said.
Mr Fear, who has been a teacher for more than three decades, said he had been inundated with support from his students who heard he was on the show, but hasn’t let on about his big win
Mr Fear, who is currently Head of History at Haberdashers Adams Grammar school in Shropshire, handed in his notice a day after his win but will see out the school term
He described himself as ‘lucky’ and said he wouldn’t have known a question about This Morning which came up in the previous episode
‘I said my aim is to get one step further than my brother has. When I found out where he got to I thought ah, maybe not.’
Speaking of when they would play from home, he added: ‘He has three years on me, I would say Dave would win 90 per cent of the time.’
During Mr Fear’s 20 minutes on the programme – thought to be a possible new record – Mr Clarkson said it was like ‘sitting next to the internet in a pink shirt’.
Just before answering his final question, Mr Fear said: ‘I taught piracy one year at a special unit.
‘I do remember Blackbeard died in 1718 off the coast of North Carolina. Blackbeard, final answer.’
Mr Clarkson then announced: ‘Donald fear, you’ve just won a million pounds!’
The contestant, who still had three lifelines left, responded: ‘That was absolutely incredible, how easy was that!’
When asked how he knew the answer, Mr Fear said: ‘Well I taught it!’
Mr Clarkson said: ‘You’ve beaten your brother – how does that feel?’
Mr Fear said: ‘He’ll be very pleased for me, that’s the sort of person he is.’
Mr Fear said that he plans to give 70 percent of his winnings away to family members and to charity and leave himself with just enough for a ‘comfortable retirement’
The contestant, who still had three lifelines left, said upon winning: ‘That was absolutely incredible, how easy was that!’
Following his win, Mr Fear and his wife embarked on a caravan trip along the Northumberland coast.
They previously planned to visit Santander, Bilbao and Pamplona in Spain before heading for the Pyrenees, but were thwarted by Covid-19.
Asked how he would be spending his next holiday, Mr Fear revealed he intended to buy a motor home and visit ‘wonderful Britain’.
He said: ‘Much as I’d love to jump on the next plane to the States or something like that, it’s just not an option.
‘So for the moment it’s wonderful Britain, probably Wales first of all – so a motor home in Wales is what I’m going to spend my million pounds on.’
The show’s host, Jeremy Clarkson, said Mr Fear was like ‘having the Encyclopaedia Britannica sitting opposite me’ and added: ‘It’s Google, in a head’.
After winning the second Fastest Finger First round of Friday’s show, Mr Fear said he was ‘in the zone immediately’.
However, he admitted: ‘Then my next thing to negotiate was getting on the chair because I was a bit worried I was going to fall off… because I’ve got quite short legs.
‘I was concentrating, I was sitting as absolutely still as I can, so this thing about (me being) cool and calm is actually me trying not to make a complete idiot of myself on national television.’
The final question he answered correctly was: ‘In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?’
The answer was: Blackbeard.
‘I’m a dates man,’ he said.
‘You don’t be a history teacher for 33 years without knowing a few dates, and the date 1718 and Blackbeard leapt out at me instantly.’
Mr Fear only used one of his lifelines, 50:50, to win the jackpot, leaving his two Phone A Friend options and Ask The Host unused.
The episodes were pre-recorded without a studio audience due to Covid-19, with contestants given the option of a double Phone A Friend in place of asking the audience.
Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar shared their congratulations on Twitter. A message said: ‘Wow what a performance from as cool as a cucumber Mr Fear! Congratulations from everyone at Adams! ‘I taught it to Year 8 kids!”
Mr Fear celebrated his win with his brother, who he claimed was the more intelligent sibling.
He said: ‘He is so pleased for me.
‘We went to spend a night in a hotel with our wives last week and got absolutely plastered and he kept poking me saying how pleased and how overjoyed he was by it.’
Ingram Wilcox was the last winner of the top prize, going all the way in 2006.
In all, five contestants previously won the £1 million prize on the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
The first was Judith Keppel in November 2000.
For her final question, then-host Chris Tarrant asked: ‘Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?’
Ms Keppel correctly answered Henry II.
Mr Fear admitted he had practiced the Fastest Finger First round by ‘button-pressing in the air’ while watching dozens of old programmes.
He said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ when he realised his mother and father would not be able to watch him in the hotseat, due to the lack of live audience.
When asked if the 15 questions passed him by quickly, he said: ‘Looking back I wished I’d expanded a bit more on some of my answers, particularly the £500,000 one. I was desperate though to ensure that the other contestants got a go too.’
Mr Fear’s retired pharmacist father and previous contestant brother were his chosen lifelines.
When asked what questions he would have needed their help on, he said: ‘Dad is a retired pharmacist with the most amazing scientific knowledge of anyone I know. Anything body-related, diseases etc would have been referred to him.
‘My brother was the back-up Phone a Friend and he was there for basically anything! My other Phone a Friend, Terry, was for the popular culture, sport and celebs questions.’
Brother of tonight’s winner had previously scooped £500,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Last year Davyth Fear, 60, from Caernarfon, Wales, who flew through the questions and secured an impressive £500,000 with his phone-a-friend lifeline still available, was left stumped when reaching the final round by a question dubbed as ‘easy’ by fans of the quiz show.
The retired geography teacher – whose episode first aired in September 2019 – decided to walk away with half a million pounds – and says that helping his family out with his winnings has been ‘the best bit.’
Speaking of the first thing he spent his money on, Davyth exclusively told FEMAIL: ‘I helped my family out. I’ve got a brother, two sisters, nephews and nieces and helped them. I gave them a cash sum.’
‘One of them spent it on new windows for his new house, I’ve got one in university and they’re keeping it safe for afterwards just in case, while my sister likes diving, so spent it on a motor home.’
He continued: ‘I’m not interested in big cars, or fancy watches. I bought myself a nice camera. The money takes the pressure off.
‘We’d already bought a house and so on, so I didn’t need to prove anything by buying this, that and the other. It’s just a matter of being able to enjoy life and not necessarily spend stupidly and enjoy what we have.’
‘My life isn’t too different to anyone else I would think, since we’ve all been in lockdown.’
‘I’m enjoying being at home and taking the dog for a walk in the morning, not meeting anyone else. We had three months of glorious sunshine, so I’ve been spending time in the garden.
But while he hasn’t splashed his cash on materialist items, Davyth, who has always loved travelling, did take a dream trip to Uganda.
‘My wife needed a new hip and two new knees,’ he explained. ‘She had the hip done but is still waiting for her two knees, so I did go on holiday to Uganda to see the chimpanzees.
‘I went by myself to see the gorillas and so on because you’re in the mountains she wouldn’t have been mobile enough to make it.’
‘Which of these people was born the same year as Queen Elizabeth II?’ host Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) asked before presenting Davyth with the options: ‘Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Marilyn Monroe.’
Retired geography teacher Davyth Fear, from Caernarfon, Wales, flew through the questions – securing an impressive £500,000 with his phone-a-friend lifeline still available. But he was stumped when reaching the final round by a question dubbed as ‘easy’ by fans (above)
As for the future, he added: ‘I’ve always liked travelling. It’s not on the agenda for the next year or so because my wife still needs two knee operations, but she’s always wanted to go to Antarctica, so we would like to go on the cruise to see the penguins.’
‘My wife also wants to go to Canada to see polar bears, so perhaps that’ll happen in the next couple of years.’
Davyth went on to explain that he retired full-time as a teacher around four years ago, and was a supply teacher from then on.
‘I was thinking about giving up being a supply teacher anyway last year, but after winning all this money, I didn’t need to make that decision, did I?’ he said.
However, after the episode aired last night, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire viewers were left ‘screaming at the TV’ after Davyth walked away from an ‘easy’ £1million question.
Speaking of the viewers reaction, Davyth said: ‘It’s easy if you know it. I was guessing at the £2, 000 and £4, 000 question.
‘The question about goosebumps I didn’t know and that was probably the hardest question for me. I didn’t want to risk a lifeline and I didn’t know the answer. It was an educated guess.’
Jeremy Clarkson read the question: ‘Which of these people was born the same year as Queen Elizabeth II?’ before presenting Davyth with the options: ‘Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Marilyn Monroe.’
Davyth won the £500,000 after using his second to last lifeline and asking the audience for help with the penultimate question (seen above)
Having thought the correct answer was Audrey Hepburn before ringing a friend who claimed it to be Judy Garland, Davyth decided not to risk it and walked away with half a million.
Queen Elizabeth II was born in 21 April 1926, which was the same year as Marilyn Monroe.
Judy Garland was born four years earlier in 1922, while Audrey Hepburn came along in 1929 – making Julie Andrews the youngest with a birth date of 1 October 1935.
Viewers watching the episode yesterday were left sunned with the uncomplicated question, worth £1million.
One person wrote: ‘Easy question for the £1million,’ while another said: ‘Screaming at the TV! For a million pounds!’
A third boasted: ‘When you get a million pound question right before the answers are revealed!’, as a fourth viewer added: ‘I knew the answer to the million pound question before the options came up.’
Davyth was a contestant on the 4th episode of the 33rd Series of the UK version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the 10th contestant to win £500,000.
He was praised by the audience at home for his intelligence after flying through the first couple of questions without assistance.
So can you answer the 15 questions that earned him a fortune?
1 (£100) Q:In the UK, the abbreviation NHS stands for National ‘what’ Service?
Humanity / Health / Honour / Household
2 (£200) Q: Which Disney character famously leaves a glass slipper behind at a royal ball?
Pocahontas / Sleeping Beauty / Cinderella / Elsa
3 (£300) Q:What name is given to the revolving belt machinery in an airport that delivers checked luggage from the plane to baggage reclaim?
Hangar / Terminal / Concourse / Carousel
4 (£500) Q: Which of these brands was chiefly associated with the manufacture of household locks?
Phillips / Flymo / Chubb / Ronseal
5 (£1K) Q: The hammer and sickle is one of the most recognisable symbols of which political ideology?
Republicanism / Communism / Conservatism / Liberalism
6 (£2K) Q: Which toys have been marketed with the phrase ‘Robots in Disguise’?
Bratz Dolls / Sylvanian Families / Hatchimals / Transformers
7 (£4K) Q: What does the word ‘loquacious’ mean?
Angry / Chatty / Beautiful / Shy
8 (£8K) Q: Obstetrics is a branch of medicine particularly concerned with what?
Childbirth / Broken bones / Heart conditions / Old age
9 (£16K) Q: In ‘Doctor Who’, what was the signature look of the fourth Doctor, as portrayed by Tom Baker?
Bow-tie, braces & tweed jacket / Wide-brimmed hat & extra long scarf / Pinstripe suit & trainers / Cape, velvet jacket & frilly shirt
10 (£32K) Q: Which of these religious observances lasts for the shortest period of time during the calendar year?
Ramadan / Diwali / Lent / Hanukkah
11 (£64K) Q: At the closest point, which island group is only|50 miles south-east of the coast of Florida?
Bahamas / US Virgin Islands / Turks and Caicos Islands / Bermuda
12 (£125K) Q: Construction of which of these famous landmarks was completed first?
Empire State Building / Royal Albert Hall / Eiffel Tower / ‘Big Ben’ Clock Tower
13 (£250K) Q: Which of these cetaceans is classified as a ‘toothed whale’?
Gray whale / Minke whale / Sperm whale / Humpback whale
14 (£500K) Q: Who is the only British politician to have held all four ‘Great Offices of State’ at some point during their career?
David Lloyd George / Harold Wilson / James Callaghan / John Major
15 (£1M) Q: In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?
Calico Jack / Blackbeard / Bartholomew Roberts / Captain Kidd
1: B, Health
2: C, Cinderella
3: D, Carousel
4: C, Chubb
5: B, Communism
6: D, Transformers
7: B, Chatty
8: A, Childbirth
9: B, Wide-brimmed hat & extra long scarf
10: B, Diwali
11: A, Bahamas
12: D, ‘Ben’ Clock Tower
13: C, Sperm whale
14: C, James Callaghan
15: B, Blackbeard
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE – THE BIG WINNERS
Chris Tarrant asks the million pound question to Judith Keppel
Judith Keppel – November 2000
Judith is to date UK Millionaire’s only female winner, and made history when she was the first contestant to scoop the top prize.
She went onto return to the show in 2003 for a winners special and with the help of David Seaman won £32,000 for charity.
David Edwards – April 2001
Former physics teacher David Edwards stunned viewers when he reached the coveted final question.
He also appeared on a winners special with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, winning £32,000 for charity.
Robert Brydges – September 2001
Robert – a former banker – appeared on Millionaire just 11 days after Charles Ingram’s infamous stint, and had even been sat in Winners Row while the show was being filmed.
He reached the final question with relative ease, and with the help of a 50:50 received the famous seven-figure cheque.
Pat Gibson – April 2004
Pat Gibson scooped the top prize in April 2004
Pat proved to be one of Millionaire’s best-equipped contestants by the time he reached the £1 million question, as he still had two lifelines to use.
With the help of a 50:50 and Phone-A-Friend, he was crowned winner, and is now a regular in the world of professional quizzing and on BBC’s Eggheads
Ingram Wilcox – September 2006
Ingram was the most recent contestant to win Millionaire, and shared his winnings among his five children.
The retired civil servant from Bath moved into a new home in France a year after appearing on the show.