Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – This Telford teacher does

A teacher from Telford delved back into his days teaching in Shropshire to help him become the first Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant in 14 years to win the £1 million jackpot.

Teacher Donald Fear, 57, from Telford, celebrates his £1m jackpot win on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? with show host Jeremy Clarkson, right
Teacher Donald Fear, 57, from Telford, celebrates his £1m jackpot win on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? with show host Jeremy Clarkson, right

History and politics teacher Donald Fear, 57, correctly answered the 15th and final question about the death of a famous pirate in 1718.

The father of four, who has been married to his wife, Debs, a nurse, for 33 years, is the sixth champion in the ITV programme’s 22-year history.

The final question he answered correctly was: “In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?” He said he knew the answer – Blackbeard – because he taught pirates to students at Wakeman School in Shrewsbury, which has since closed and is now home to Shrewsbury Sixth Form College.

“I’m a dates man,” he added. “You don’t be a history teacher for 33 years without knowing a few dates, and the date 1718 and Blackbeard leapt out at me instantly.”

Lucky streak

The lucky streak runs in the family as his elder brother, Davyth, last year won £500,000 as a contestant on the same programme.

Following his win, Mr Fear– who has since resigned from his job at Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar school in Newport, whose alumni include former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – and Debs embarked on a caravan trip along the Northumberland coast. They previously planned to visit Santander, Bilbao and Pamplona in Spain before heading for the Pyrenees, but were thwarted by Covid-19.

Asked how he would be spending his next holiday, Mr Fear revealed he intended to buy a motor home and visit “wonderful Britain”. He said: “Much as I’d love to jump on the next plane to the States or something like that, it’s just not an option.

“So for the moment it’s wonderful Britain, probably Wales first of all – so a motor home in Wales is what I’m going to spend my million pounds on.”

The show’s host, Jeremy Clarkson, said Mr Fear was like “having the Encyclopaedia Britannica sitting opposite me” and added: “It’s Google, in a head”.

Describing himself as “a bit of a democratic socialist”, Mr Fear said he planned give at least 70 per cent of his winnings to members of his family and spend the rest on a “comfortable retirement”.

He also rubbished the idea of buying an Aston Martin sports car or moving house, saying: “It’s in a lovely area and I’ve been there for 27 years.”

Teacher Donald Fear, 57, from Telford, celebrates his £1m jackpot win on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? with show host Jeremy Clarkson, right

After winning the second Fastest Finger First round of tonight’s show, Mr Fear said he was “in the zone immediately”.

However, he admitted: “Then my next thing to negotiate was getting on the chair because I was a bit worried I was going to fall off...because I’ve got quite short legs.

“I was concentrating, I was sitting as absolutely still as I can, so this thing about [me being] cool and calm is actually me trying not to make a complete idiot of myself on national television.”

Mr Fear only used one of his lifelines, 50:50, to win the jackpot, leaving his two Phone A Friend options - he couldn;t have the usual Ask The Audience lifeline as they weren't there due to Covid-19 so he had two phone chances instead – and Ask The Host unused.

Speaking about leaving Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar Mr Fear, who was born in Bristol, said: “The rules are you have to go at the end of a term. Actually, I never investigated the possibility of whether it would be possible not to go back at all – but how unfair to my A-level students that would be?”


Mr Fear added: “I was planning to go in two years anyway just before my 60th birthday.”

Mr Fear celebrated his win with his brother, who he claimed was the more intelligent sibling.

He said: “He is so pleased for me. We went to spend a night in a hotel with our wives last week and got absolutely plastered and he kept poking me saying how pleased and how overjoyed he was by it.”

Ingram Wilcox was the last winner of the top prize, going all the way in 2006.

In all, five contestants previously won the £1 million prize on the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The first was Judith Keppel in November 2000.

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