Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is a British television game show based on a format devised by David Briggs, Steven Knight and Mike Whitehill and produced by Sony Pictures Television and 2waytraffic (previously Celador) which offers a maximum cash prize of £1-million for correctly answering successive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty.
The show was exported to many other countries, including South Africa, all of which follow the same general format. It premiered in the UK on ITV on 4 September, 1998.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? premiered in South Africa on DStv's BBC Entertainment channel on Tuesday 22 September 2009, at 19h30. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 4 premiered on BBC Entertainment on Sunday 29 April 2012, at 17h20. New episodes broadcast in a double bill, weekly, for the first two weeks, after which it changed to single episodes weekly. There are 41 episodes in the fourth season.
Chris Tarrant hosts arguably the world's favourite quiz show as members of the public are invited into the hot seat to answer up to 15 questions and possibly walk away with a life-changing sum of money.
Since its launch in the UK in 1998, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world, and most countries now have their own version of the show.
It has courted controversy with allegations of contestants cheating, and an episode of the Indian version of the show serves as the backdrop to Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of the Best Film Oscar at the 2009 Academy Awards.
Contestants get into the hot seat by being the quickest in the Fastest Finger round where potential contestants compete to put four options in the correct order as quickly as possible.
From there, the contestant is given three lifelines – Ask The Audience, 50:50 and Phone A Friend – which can often make the difference between leaving with a fortune or leaving empty-handed.
The show has made several people millionaires over the years, and celebrities regularly compete on special editions of the show to raise money for charity. It's also spawned a number of household catchphrases, with perhaps the most oft-quoted being "Is that your final answer?"
The continuing appeal of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? lies in the drama that unfolds on screen as contestants gamble with large sums of money, while host Chris Tarrant amiably attempts to help them keep their cool and go for the big money prizes.
Series exclusive to BBC Entertainment
Premiere: 22 September 2009 | Finale: Unknown | Tue-Wed, 19h30
Premiere: 30 June 2010 | Finale: 7 September 2010 | Tue-Wed, 19h30
Premiere: 8 September 2010 | Finale: 26 January 2011 | Tue-Wed, 19h30
Premiere: 29 April 2012 | Finale: 20 January 2013 | Sundays, 17h20