Tension of the big quiz

FINGERS poised and pulses racing.As Stephen Allard sat waiting to play 'fastest finger first' he never dreamt he would actually be sitting in the hot seat opposite Chris Tarrant.

By VICTORIA KNOWLES

Victoria.knowles@eveningstar.co.uk>

FINGERS poised and pulses racing.

As Stephen Allard sat waiting to play 'fastest finger first' he never dreamt he would actually be sitting in the hot seat opposite Chris Tarrant.

With a studio audience of 200 and the glare of the neon lights pinning him to his seat he got ready to play Who Wants to be a Millionaire and came face to face with the man who could make concrete quiver.

"I had to put the Queen's children in order of age. Before this I had resigned myself to the fact I was going home but then suddenly I found myself thinking, "Oh God I am actually in with a chance here".

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"When my name came up and the music went on all my nerves returned and part of me was wishing I was one of the others going home, " laughed the 36-year-old.

Stephen said that during rehearsals he had no luck on the fastest finger and had actually got quite bored.

"I had phoned home and told them not to get too excited because I wasn't very good and would be coming home.

"It was a bit like a pub quiz with lots of stops and starts but once we went live it was very different to watching it on television.

"By the time I took my seat on the chair with Chris it had been a really long day. Chris is a really fantastic bloke and does his best to put people at ease. He has been doing it so long and has the knack of really speaking to you as an individual and not just spouting the same spiel.

"It is so true that is it totally different watching it at home. I became monosyllabic and I was so nervous. When it is you on the verge of winning a lot of money your attitude totally changes.

"The chap who was on before me was a real quiz nut and had spent thousands trying to get on the show. He spent 25 minutes thinking about one question. You don't see that on television but it is a really long drawn out process, " he said.

To add to the tension Stephen, who lives in Ipswich with his wife and two children was a roll over contestant which means he had an agonising six day wait until he could get back to filming and finish the show.

"I was on a roll and then the bell rang and I was told I would have to wait. Believe me it was awful and work for those six days was just a blur.

"When I started filming again I just wanted to get back on and protect my winnings," he added.

Stephen finished filming on Wednesday .

To find out how much he won watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire on ITV on November 2 and 9.

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