It’s the first time since the series was revived with Jeremy Clarkson as host a contestant has reached the top prize.
Donald scooped the top prize for the first time in 14 years and only the sixth time ever, by correctly answering all 15 questions. And to top off his incredible run, he did it with three lifelines remaining. He only used his 50:50 to get him to £32,000. Donald left the chair with 2 x Phone a Friends – there’s an extra Phone a Friend in this series as there isn’t an audience to ask – and Ask the Host in tack and £1,000,000.
The million-pound question saw Donald in luck with a subject he had recently taught as part of his teaching job. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, posed question in 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina? The new millionaire had to choose between Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Bartholomew Roberts and Captain Kidd, correctly noting Blackbeard. It’s the first time the ITV jackpot on the show has been won since Ingram Wilcox in 2006 during Chris Tarrant’s run as original host.
Q: Did you practice the Fastest Finger First round?
“Yes, loads, I watched dozens of old programmes and I would try out the button-pressing in the air. ‘Air’ fastest finger first if you like!
Q: Did you miss not having the audience and friends and family present? Your brother had your parents there when he took part in the show in 2019.
“I don’t think my performance was affected either way by the absence of an audience, but I was bitterly disappointed when I realised that Mum and Dad wouldn’t be able to watch me in the way they did Davyth.”
Q: Did you get more nervous as you had to watch another contestant play first?
“No, though I realised my next chance was very likely to be my last, but at least Hemal, who had bossed every fastest finger first so far, was no longer in the running!”
Q: Do you have any superstitions – if yes, did you do them before the show?
“No, I’m not a superstitious person, though I do believe stuff happens for a reason.”
Q: Did the 15 questions go quickly?
“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.”
Q: Has it sunk in that you are a millionaire and the sixth all time winner of the series, the first in Jeremy Clarkson’s tenure?
“I’m not going to be a millionaire for very long because I’m giving loads of it away! 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!”
Q: How was it keeping such a big secret?
“Very difficult. I’m a natural prattler who doesn’t find it easy to keep his tongue under control!”
Q: What have you been up to since winning? Have you splashed out on anything?
“It has actually been a very sad time, since my father-in-law, my children’s Grampa, passed away on August 12th. I have bought a new TV to watch the show on, and me and Deb spent a night in a posh hotel near Chester with Davyth and his wife Rhiannon.”
Q: How did you celebrate?
“We went on holiday to Whitley Bay in a caravan the day after the show. We went to an Italian restaurant and lashed out on a bottle of Prosecco in the restaurant!”
Q: Where did you watch the show go out?
“At home with our four children and their partners.”
Q: Your father and brother were both your chosen lifelines, what questions would you have needed their help on?
“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.”
Q: What is it going to be like being back at school teaching on Monday?
“The kids in my school and the staff are amazing, fantastic individuals. They all know I’m on the show and they are all rooting 100% for me. I can’t wait to feel the lurve!”
Q: Do your pupils have a nickname for you?
“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!”
‘If you missed tonight’s episode, you can catch up on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on the ITV Hub’