Tarrant: Austerity helped kill Millionaire quiz show

Chris Tarrant, the presenter of ITV's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, said the show was cancelled because of the public's reaction to the recession.

Chris Tarrant with the show's first £1 million winner Judith Keppel in 2000. Credit: PA

The 67-year-old presented the popular quiz show for 15 years before deciding to quit and instead of blaming the lack of a millionaire in recent years, he said austerity helped kill off the programme.

Tarrant told The Daily Telegraph: "People were saying, 'I’ve got 10 grand, I’m not going to risk that.’ I only gave away £80,000 in three nights.

"Now I know that still sounds a huge amount of money but at the height of the show it used to average about £100,000 per night.

"As a nation we’ve stopped gambling. So the public shows aren’t working and we’re running out of celebrities with a brain cell so where are we going to go?”