Slumdog millionaire dating in real life

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“I noticed the questions weren’t that difficult and the prize money was huge.

I wasn’t aiming for the million; I thought £32,000 would be nice.” Keppel, now 71, told no one except her children when she was accepted on to the programme (her family was “astonished, slightly embarrassed, amazed and, in the end, very pleased that I’d won”), and she was petrified to find herself in the spotlight next to Tarrant, having won the “fastest finger first” round (putting four former prime ministers in the correct chronological order).

The £1 million question was which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine.

When Tarrant announced she had got it right, Keppel smiled, but failed to faint dead away, kiss the host passionately or even break open the bubbly (having given up alcohol around the time of the break-up of her first marriage in 1980).

first burst on to our screens in 1998, it was big, brash and un-British — and deliberately so.

It offered tons more money than any other television quiz, its cameras zoomed in on contestants’ agonised expressions, and its constant music ramped up the tension.

“It means I live in London in the winter, because we film Eggheads in the autumn and in spring, and then I spend half the year in France which is heaven. I just woke up one day and thought, 'I don’t want to moulder away and die in London, I’d like an adventure’.” She is discreet on the subject of her famous cousin, but says they met again recently in Glasgow when the Duchess of Cornwall went to the BBC studios while Keppel was filming.

My family come out to stay, and I revise for Eggheads there, and just … “I have seen her since then, I wouldn’t say I know her well — but we know enough to say hello and recognise each other.” For those who want to emulate Keppel, to what does she attribute her success? I think I have a quirk in my memory that means I remember trivial things easily.

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In fact, when Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel won the top prize on Nov 12, 2000, the then 58-year-old celebrated by going on a four-day money-management course.

Since the win, Keppel’s life has obviously changed, but there is still a whiff of the spirit of adventure that made her dial Millionaire’s premium-rate hotline so many times that BT called to warn her about her bill.

But anyone imagining a lottery winner-style riches-to-rags tale of spend-spend-spend will be disappointed.

And I think there are a lot of women out there in similar situations who maybe don’t have the confidence to go on TV.

It’s a real shame.” She will be glued to the last episode of Millionaire, a celebrity version starring Sir Chris Hoy, the Olympic cyclist, and Rachel Riley, the Countdown presenter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant.

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