Judith Keppel

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Judith Keppel
Born Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel
(1942-08-18) 18 August 1942 (age 72)
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Known for First winner of the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Eggheads
Spouse(s) Desmond Leon Corcoran (1964-1980) (divorced)
Neil Shand (1985-1987) (separated)
Children Sibylla Monacella Corcoran (born 1966)
Alexander Martin Desmond Corcoran (born 1968)
Aline Rose Corcoran (born 1972)
Parents Walter Arnold Crispin Keppel (father)
Relatives Arnold Keppel, 8th Earl of Albemarle (great-grandfather)
Walter, 9th Earl of Albemarle (grandfather)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (second cousin once removed)

Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel (born 18 August 1942)[1] was the first one-million-pound winner on the television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in the United Kingdom. She is also the only woman in the United Kingdom to have won it and also the first person to win a million or more on a British television game show. She also has appeared on the BBC Two quiz show Eggheads since 2003.

Personal life[edit]

Keppel's father was a Lieutenant Commander in the Fleet Air Arm, who moved with the family to various naval postings around Britain until they settled in London when she was 17. She took A-levels and completed a secretarial course, and married her first husband Desmond Corcoran, an art dealer. The couple went on to have three children, Sibylla, Alexander, and Rosie, but divorced in 1980. In 1985 she married comedy script writer Neil Shand. They separated in 1987. [2]

Keppel is the granddaughter of Walter, 9th Earl of Albemarle. Her great-grandfather, the 8th Earl was brother-in-law of Alice Keppel, the mistress of King Edward VII and was the great-uncle of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.[3] The Duchess of Cornwall is therefore her second cousin once removed. Through the noble lineage of her aforementioned grandfather, her genealogy can be traced back to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, who, coincidentally, were the subjects of her Million Pound Question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?[edit]

£1 million (15 of 15) - no time limit
Which King was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?
• A: Henry I • B: Henry II
• C: Richard I • D: Henry V
Keppel's £1 million question

Keppel appeared on the 20 November 2000 episode of the UK edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, becoming the 12th winner in the world and the first in the UK to win one million pounds. At the time, she was a garden designer living in Fulham with severe monetary issues, and ran up a huge debt with BT in the process of applying.[4] There was speculation at the time that the win was leaked to the press so that ITV would draw ratings away from BBC One which was showing the last episode of One Foot in the Grave in the same timeslot. However, the Independent Television Commission cleared Celador and ITV of the allegations.[5]

Keppel's victory was achieved exactly a year after the first Millionaire winner was broadcast, when John Carpenter became the first winner of the U.S. version of the show as well as the first winner worldwide.

Keppel now appears on the BBC Two quiz show Eggheads, where she and four other quiz champions are pitted against members of the public.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Mosley (ed.), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (London: Burke's Peerage, 1999)
  2. ^ Woods, Judith (4 August 2001). "Thank God, I don't have to move to France". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ Sir William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle thePeerage.com
  4. ^ "Come On Down: The Game Show Story". ITV1. 17 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Millionaire? cleared of ratings 'fix'". BBC News. 15 January 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
First winner
Top prize winner on
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (UK)

20 November 2000
Succeeded by
David Edwards