Who Wants To Be a Millionaire's jackpot winner announces retirement
17th December 2020

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’s first jackpot winner in 14 years announces he is retiring from his history teaching job so he can start a ‘whole new chapter and a whole new life’

  • Donald Fear, 57, claimed top prize after answering a question about Blackbeard
  • He handed in his notice the day after the show, bringing forward his retirement
  • Mr Fear taught history at Haberdashers’ Adams grammar school in Shropshire

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’s first jackpot winner in 14 years has today retired from his teaching job so he can start a ‘whole new chapter and a whole new life.’

Donald Fear, 57, went the full distance on the quiz show in just 20 minutes in September, answering almost every question without the slightest hesitation. 

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

Mr Fear had planned to retire from his job teaching history at Jeremy Corbyn’s former school in 2022, but he decided to bring forward his plans after his win. 

He handed in his notice the day after he took part in the recorded show, explaining ‘the rules are you have to go at the end of the term, but I’d never investigate the possibility about whether it was possible to not go back at all’.   

Donald Fear, 57, from Shropshire, scooped the £1 million prize during a sensational run on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in September. Pictured: Mr Fear with Jeremy Clarkson on the show

Mr Fear had planned to retire from his job teaching history at Jeremy Corbyn ‘s former school in 2022, but he decided to bring forward his plans after his win 

Mr Fear, who taught for 33 years, claimed the seven-figure prize after correctly answering a question about the death of a famous pirate in 1718. 

Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘I’ve had a long career, worked with some very nice people and I have been very touched this week by how many people have been falling over themselves to give me a good wish.’

Mr Fear plans to travel with his wife following his retirement, and the pair have already ordered a motorhome for when the pandemic passes.

He also hopes to spend more time with his four children and granddaughter.  

‘I was incredibly lucky to be born into the family I was, who support me and have all my life,’ he added. ‘I struck lucky with the win, but the real jackpot was my family.’  

Mr Fear previously explained he planned give at least 70 per cent of his winnings to members of his family and spend the rest on a ‘comfortable retirement’. 

Speaking to The Mirror, he said: ‘To be honest if I had a million pounds, I wouldn’t have a clue how to spend it. I could buy an Aston Martin for instance, but I could get into the thing, but I could never get out of it. I’m fat! 

‘The only other thing you could possibly spend that sum of money on would be moving house but I am very happy with our house.

‘It is in a lovely area and we have been there 27 years and we have lovely neighbours, so why move somewhere else? So I would rather keep the money and give it away to people I love.

Mr Fear, who has been a teacher for more than three decades, said he had been inundated with support from his students who heard he was on the show, but hasn’t let on about his big win

‘A motor home is the only purchase on the horizon. Things may occur to me and I can waste money for Britain but on small, trivial things.’

His older brother Davyth had also been a contestant on the programme last year – but fell at the final hurdle, walking away with £500,000 on September 1.

But as a history buff, Mr Fear knew the answer to his question – In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina? – instantly.

‘The first thing I spotted was that there was a date in there… then a microsecond later I saw that it was 1718,’ he said. ‘Then synapses went, “That’s got to be Blackbeard”. That was the only thing it could be. I’m a dates man.’

The day after his win in the recorded show, Mr Fear handed in his notice as head of history at Haberdashers’ Adams grammar school, which the former Labour leader attended.

He saw out the school term, but will now begin his retirement two years earlier than planned. 

Mr Fear previously explained he planned give at least 70 per cent of his winnings to members of his family and spend the rest on a ‘comfortable retirement’


Mr Fear, who was Head of History at Haberdashers Adams Grammar school in Shropshire, handed in his notice a day after his win but agreed to see out the school term

‘I resigned the day after the show, the rules are you have to go at the end of the term, but I’d never investigate the possibility about whether it was possible to not go back at all,’ he said.

‘How unfair to my A level students would thay have been? They are amazing people and that would have been totally letting them down. 

‘So what I have said is I will do this term and I will make sure my Year 13 students don’t miss out in any way shape or form. 

‘And I’ll make sure the twelves are launched. It never crossed my mind to not to come back at all.’ 

Following his victory, Mr Fear said he went on holiday to Whitley Bay in a caravan the next day.

‘We went to an Italian restaurant and lashed out on a bottle of prosecco in the restaurant,’ he said. 

When asked if his pupils had a nickname for him, Mr Fear said: ‘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!’ 

So can you answer the 15 questions that earned him a fortune?   

1 (£100) Q:In the UK, the abbreviation NHS stands for National ‘what’ Service?

Humanity / Health / Honour / Household

2 (£200) Q: Which Disney character famously leaves a glass slipper behind at a royal ball?

Pocahontas / Sleeping Beauty / Cinderella / Elsa

3 (£300) Q:What name is given to the revolving belt machinery in an airport that delivers checked luggage from the plane to baggage reclaim?

Hangar / Terminal / Concourse / Carousel

4 (£500) Q: Which of these brands was chiefly associated with the manufacture of household locks?

Phillips / Flymo / Chubb / Ronseal

5 (£1K) Q: The hammer and sickle is one of the most recognisable symbols of which political ideology?

Republicanism / Communism / Conservatism / Liberalism

6 (£2K) Q: Which toys have been marketed with the phrase ‘Robots in Disguise’?

Bratz Dolls / Sylvanian Families / Hatchimals / Transformers

7 (£4K) Q: What does the word ‘loquacious’ mean?

Angry / Chatty / Beautiful / Shy

8 (£8K) Q: Obstetrics is a branch of medicine particularly concerned with what?

Childbirth / Broken bones / Heart conditions / Old age

9 (£16K) Q: In ‘Doctor Who’, what was the signature look of the fourth Doctor, as portrayed by Tom Baker?

Bow-tie, braces & tweed jacket / Wide-brimmed hat & extra long scarf / Pinstripe suit & trainers / Cape, velvet jacket & frilly shirt

10 (£32K) Q: Which of these religious observances lasts for the shortest period of time during the calendar year?

Ramadan / Diwali / Lent / Hanukkah

11 (£64K) Q: At the closest point, which island group is only|50 miles south-east of the coast of Florida?

Bahamas / US Virgin Islands / Turks and Caicos Islands / Bermuda

12 (£125K) Q: Construction of which of these famous landmarks was completed first?

Empire State Building / Royal Albert Hall / Eiffel Tower / ‘Big Ben’ Clock Tower

13 (£250K) Q: Which of these cetaceans is classified as a ‘toothed whale’?

Gray whale / Minke whale / Sperm whale / Humpback whale

14 (£500K) Q: Who is the only British politician to have held all four ‘Great Offices of State’ at some point during their career?

David Lloyd George / Harold Wilson / James Callaghan / John Major

15 (£1M) Q: In 1718, which pirate died in battle off the coast of what is now North Carolina?

Calico Jack / Blackbeard / Bartholomew Roberts / Captain Kidd

ANSWERS 

1: B, Health

2: C, Cinderella 

3: D, Carousel 

4: C, Chubb 

5: B, Communism

6: D, Transformers

7: B, Chatty 

8: A, Childbirth 

9: B, Wide-brimmed hat & extra long scarf 

10: B, Diwali 

11: A, Bahamas 

12: D, ‘Ben’ Clock Tower 

13: C, Sperm whale 

14: C, James Callaghan 

15: B, Blackbeard 

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE – THE BIG WINNERS 

Chris Tarrant asks the million pound question to Judith Keppel

Judith Keppel – November 2000

Judith is to date UK Millionaire’s only female winner, and made history when she was the first contestant to scoop the top prize.

She went onto return to the show in 2003 for a winners special and with the help of David Seaman won £32,000 for charity.

David Edwards – April 2001

Former physics teacher David Edwards stunned viewers when he reached the coveted final question.

He also appeared on a winners special with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, winning £32,000 for charity.

Robert Brydges – September 2001

Robert – a former banker – appeared on Millionaire just 11 days after Charles Ingram’s infamous stint, and had even been sat in Winners Row while the show was being filmed.

He reached the final question with relative ease, and with the help of a 50:50 received the famous seven-figure cheque.

Pat Gibson – April 2004

Pat Gibson scooped the top prize in April 2004

Pat proved to be one of Millionaire’s best-equipped contestants by the time he reached the £1 million question, as he still had two lifelines to use.

With the help of a 50:50 and Phone-A-Friend, he was crowned winner, and is now a regular in the world of professional quizzing and on BBC’s Eggheads

Ingram Wilcox – September 2006

Ingram was the most recent contestant to win Millionaire, and shared his winnings among his five children.

The retired civil servant from Bath moved into a new home in France a year after appearing on the show.

 

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