Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Irish TV series)

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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Ireland).jpg
Presented by Gay Byrne
Country of origin Ireland
Running time 60 minutes
Original network RTÉ One
Original release 17 October 2000 –
29 March 2002

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was the Irish version of the British quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which aired on RTÉ One from 2000 to 2002 and presented by Gay Byrne. The format was the same as on the British show, and the 15 incremental prize amounts had the same numeric values, from 100 up to 1,000,000. These values were denominated in Irish pound in 2000 and 2001, and in euro in 2002, after the euro changeover.[not verified in body]


The Irish version was made by Tyrone Productions under license from Celador, the British originators. The stage, music, and format were identical to the original British format. The quizmaster was Gay Byrne, who was famous as the longtime host of The Late Late Show, and was making one of several returns from retirement. The top prize fell from IR£1m (€1,269,738) to €1m after the euro changeover at the beginning of 2002. The prize money was funded by a combination of a premium-rate telephone number which candidates had to ring to be selected as contestants, and £7m from headline sponsor eircell, which was then the mobile phone brand of eircom.[1]

The show had several runs over consecutive Sunday evenings. After two years the initial sponsorship contract ended. No further sponsor was found, and production ceased.[citation needed]

Lunula controversy[edit]

In June 2001, contestant Shane O'Doherty was asked, as the 13th (£250,000) question, in what part of the body the lunula was. He used his phone-a-friend lifeline to ring a physician, who said it was in the heart, which was the answer he then gave. The required answer was the fingernail, and so O'Doherty's winnings fell from £125,000 back to the guaranteed £32,000. In fact, a lunula is any crescent or moon-shaped structure, including both the white base of the fingernail and the segments of the semilunar heart valves.[2] O'Doherty protested that, since both answers were correct, he should not have been eliminated. He threatened to sue the producers, and the controversy generated media debate for two weeks. Eventually he was allowed to return to the show. He was asked another question, and opted to pass and keep the £125,000 he had previously accrued.[3] The replacement question was also criticised as flawed; it described John Pius Boland as an "Olympic gold medallist" even though the medals received by winners at the 1896 Olympics were actually silver.[4]

2002 money tree[edit]

  1. €100
  2. €200
  3. €300
  4. €500
  5. €1,000 (1st guaranteed sum)
  6. €2,000
  7. €4,000
  8. €8,000
  9. €16,000
  10. €32,000 (2nd guaranteed sum)
  11. €64,000
  12. €125,000
  13. €250,000
  14. €500,000
  15. €1,000,000 (top prize)

2000-01 money tree[edit]

  1. £100 (€127)
  2. £200 (€254)
  3. £300 (€381)
  4. £500 (€635)
  5. £1,000 (€1,270) (1st guaranteed sum)
  6. £2,000 (€2,539)
  7. £4,000 (€5,079)
  8. £8,000 (€10,158)
  9. £16,000 (€20,316)
  10. £32,000 (€40,632) (2nd guaranteed sum)
  11. £64,000 (€81,263)
  12. £125,000 (€158,717)
  13. £250,000 (€317,435)
  14. £500,000 (€634,869)
  15. £1,000,000 (€1,269,738) (top prize)


  1. ^ Doherty, Christine (23 July 2000). "Millionaire show will offer Eircell a rich marketing opportunity". Sunday Business Post. TCH. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  2. ^ lunula medical dictionary
  3. ^ "'Millionaire' contestant returns for second show". Irishtimes.com. 1 July 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  4. ^ Minihan, Mary (5 July 2001). "Question on gold medallist queried". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 February 2010.