Jeremy Clarkson snub: Chris Tarrant claimed Millionaire host can’t recreate show’s ‘buzz’

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Jeremy, 60, has spent nearly three years in the hot seat of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The former Top Gear presenter took on the ITV show reboot, which was brought back with a few new features. Contestants have a ‘second safety net’ amount and the controversial ‘Ask The Host’ option.

The new lifeline led to a lot of criticism for Jeremy after he gave an incorrect answer during the celebrity edition of the show over Christmas.

Jeremy, who has been a motoring journalist for nearly four decades, told Ronni Ancona the wrong answer for a question about Britain’s longest motorway.

The host, who also fronts Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour, said that the M1 was the longest – not the M6, which is correct.

Jeremy admitted that he would “never hear the end of it” before it was shown to be wrong.

His gaffe led his former foe, Piers Morgan, to poke fun at him on Twitter. 

Piers wrote: “At least I know the longest motorway is the M6…”

His snarky comment followed a “humiliating” defeat on the show on Boxing Day, when he lost £15,000 by getting an answer wrong.

Piers’ tweet continued to mock Jeremy by stating that he knew and he hadn’t “hosted a car show for 8,000 years”.

In 2018, Jeremy stated “God help them” if a contestant “chooses that lifeline”.

He told The Radio Times: “If it’s Seventies prog rock music, I probably will – if it’s anything other than that, I probably won’t.”

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It seemed that Piers wasn’t the only person who wasn’t keen on the new Millionaire host. 

Chris Tarrant, who fronted the show from 1998 until 2014, revealed that he wasn’t taken by Jeremy either.

In 2019, he told the Daily Star that Jeremy could never recreate the same “buzz” he experienced on Millionaire. 

Chris also admitted that he had missed the first run of the new host’s show because he “was in France, fishing”.

He continued: “And no, not to get away from it, that was just where I happened to be.”

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Later when quizzed on Good Morning Britain about whether he had watched Millionaire, Chris admitted that he felt “disloyal”.

Instead of tuning in to see contestants work their way through 12 questions in a bid to win the £1million jackpot – he was watching Luther.

Chris joked about feeling guilty that he had watched a BBC show instead of an ITV one and that it was a crime drama – that starred Idris Elba.

He said: “I watched Luther. I feel very disloyal.”

In another interview, Chris was asked whether he felt “bitter” about “being overlooked by producers” for the show’s reboot.

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He told the Daily Star: “I genuinely couldn’t care less. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it again.”

Chris pulled out of the show after suffering a near-fatal stroke in 2014, while he was flying home from Burma. 

He had been filming Extreme Railways for Channel 5 but since then the trip haunted him. 

Chris said: “It was absolutely bloody terrifying – we were 39,000 feet up and I thought, ‘I’m actually going to die up here.'”

He admitted that choosing someone like Jeremy was a good idea to start afresh after the indelible mark he left on the show.

Chris said: “They had to get someone very different from me, so Clarkson is probably not a bad shout.”

Despite claiming not to care who took over the Millionaire, he took a sly dig at it being unlikely that Jeremy could attract the same audience. 

Chris said: “What they will never have is the great buzz we had.

“Particularly in our first year, that was an amazing time.”

Despite the remark, Chris wished Jeremy “good luck” for the show and revealed he was glad to have a lighter work schedule.

He said: “I used to work like a dog.”

Jeremy Clarkson will return with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which airs at 8pm Sunday on ITV. 

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