November 30, 2020

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire teacher used ingenious ‘cold-blooded’ plan to win

Staffordshire physics teacher David Edwards hatched a meticulous plan when he entered Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2001.

Not only did the then 54 year old want to get into the chair, but he wanted to make sure he walked away with enough cash to retire.

As a Mensa Superbrain and past Mastermind winner, David knew he was in with a chance if he could just get onto the show and past the tricky Fastest Finger First selection round.

And to do that, his first step was to cleverly calculate how many times he would need to call to get a place, devoting £1,000 to his cause.

David Edwards shares a glass of champagne with wife Vivian and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Chris Tarrant

Next up, having been beaten at Fastest Finger First during a previous appearance, David – whose story is revisited in tonight’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: The Million Pound Question – obsessively practiced until he had it down to a fine art.

“I find the fastest finger round the hardest but I knew if I got into the chair I had a realistic chance of winning a lot of money,” he told the Stoke Sentinel at the time.

And when the big day came, David had no trouble seeing off the competition to get into the coveted hot seat.

David Edwards hatched a clever plan to get himself on the show
David Edwards hatched a clever plan to get himself on the show

“This was pretty cold-blooded,” he told the Guardian of his method in 2001.

“I wanted to win a lot of money, ideally enough to retire on.”

In April 2001 he became the show’s second winner, pocketing £1million after identifying that Quercus Robur as the Latin name for a type of tree.

But it wasn’t the victory he’d imagined. “When I realised I had won I remember feeling an anti-climax as the last question had gone and there were no more for me to answer,” he said. “I’ve obviously got a warped mind.”

The thrifty general knowledge champ – who competes for Wales in international quizzing – went straight back to work and only moved 200 yards down the road to a bigger house with wife Vivian.

After winning, David just went back to work
After winning, David just went back to work

He also bought a holiday home in France and used some of his cash to pursue his love of traditional Northumbrian sword-dancing.

“One million is a life-changing sum of money but you have to put it in perspective,” he once told The Sun, explaining his frugality.

“It is not the sort of amount you can live a playboy lifestyle on. Winning allowed us to retire a few years earlier than we would have done, but the way we live hasn’t changed that much.

“It’s a comfortable amount of money. We did buy a few things that we wouldn’t have done otherwise but nothing too extravagant – there is no Bentley sitting on the drive.”

Following his success, David went on to compete in both series of Are You an Egghead? in 2008 and 2009.

*Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: The Million Pound Question airs Sunday, November 29 at 8pm on ITV

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