Jeremy Clarkson has compared hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? for a run of special shows to being asked to be the Duke of Edinburgh for a week.
The former Top Gear presenter is taking over from the gameshow’s previous host Chris Tarrant for a week of 20th anniversary shows, an opportunity which he admitted has “slightly staggered” him.
Clarkson said: “I was genuinely amazed when they asked if I could do it.
“That really is like, ‘would you mind being the Duke of Edinburgh just for a week?’ – I really wasn’t expecting that.
“It’s the absolute king of shows of that type, so I’m very, very honoured.”
Clarkson, who now hosts motoring programme The Grand Tour, has also shared his admiration for previous contestant Charles Ingram, who in 2001 planted a friend in the audience to cough every time a correct answer was read out.
“It was a ballsy plan wasn’t it, to be able to guarantee that you got into the chair and that your coughing friends could be in the studio audience,” Clarkson said.
“The queue for the studio audience – I mean, Top Gear’s waiting list to be in the audience was 18 years while we were in the hot seat.
“So the idea that you could get those people in to the studio audience … I love a clever crime where no guns are pulled and nobody gets stabbed.”
Ingram received a suspended sentence in 2003 for a deception offence and was saddled with hefty legal bills.
The stint of Millionaire shows will see Clarkson have to answer questions himself if contestants use a newly-introduced fourth lifeline Ask the Host alongside existing options 50/50, Phone a Friend and Ask the Audience.
It may give competitors an extra helping hand as he will have to say if he knows the answer to a question, or share his opinion to what it might be.
But they may not want to ask him questions about golf.
“I’ve made it my life’s mission not to know anything about golf,” he said.
“I would say to anyone appearing on the show that if it’s on golf, you may as well ask the chair you’re sitting on because it’ll have more of a clue than me.”
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? starts Saturday 9.15pm on ITV, and will continue nightly throughout the week at 9pm for a further six episodes.