Sir Alex Ferguson in 2004.

When Sir Alex was on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'

Wednesday 15 April 2020 12:20

'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' is currently in the news with ITV's screening of 'Quiz' on three successive nights this week.

The drama is based on Major Charles Ingram's controversial winning of the top prize and Michael Sheen is among the cast, playing host Chris Tarrant.

Sir Alex Ferguson first appeared on a charity version of the popular game show in 2004, alongside Eamonn Holmes, but was left extremely frustrated at failing to answer the £64,000 question correctly. Indeed, some seven years later, he was still stewing on the subject, as he brought it up with Inside United, our official magazine!

Sir Alex Ferguson and Eammon Holmes, who took part in the popular show.

"Well, I was on it with Eamonn Holmes in 2004 and we phoned Brian McClair – but he was useless!" recalled Sir Alex, with typical candour. "We had to give the name of the rooster in The Good Life. Now, I'd never seen it, so I had no idea, but the options were Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin and Rasputin.

“We were going for £64,000, so we asked the audience and there was no decisive answer. Then I phoned Brian but he had no idea either, which surprised me because, in fairness, he's a bright lad. So we used our 50-50 and it was either Trotsky or Lenin.

"We went for Trotsky and, just as we locked it in, Eamonn tells me the family in The Good Life were socialist farmers. Well, if he'd have said that earlier, I could have worked out it was Lenin! Although both were socialists, Trotsky was a bit of a dissident and became a bit of a radical. He was eventually assassinated in Mexico under Stalin's orders.

“Anyway, I wouldn't ask Brian again. My wife would be good, you know. You need somebody who has a good general knowledge of all areas, but particularly science, botany and biology. Classical music and art, as well. Those questions always crop up at the end."


Brian McClair was Sir Alex's 'phone a friend' during the episode that aired on Christmas Eve in 2004.

For the record, The Good Life is a sitcom that originally aired between 1975 and 1978 on BBC1 and Sir Alex appeared on the show for a second time, again with Holmes, in 2013. 

On that occasion, they won £50,000 for Manchester United Foundation.

These are the questions the pair successfully answered in 2004:

Q: Which symbol is used by a teacher to signify a wrong answer?
A: Cross.
Q: If you find something very amusing, you are said to be tickled...?
A: Pink.
Q: Which of these phrases means to co-operate with someone?
A: Play ball.
Q: What is the name of the stress that causes metal to break after repeated use?
A: Metal fatigue.
Q: Which fish gives its name to a type of gull?
A: Herring.
Q: Which tennis player married actress Tatum O'Neal in 1986?
A: John McEnroe.
Q: A kruggerand is a coin made from which metal?
A: Gold.
Q: The film ‘Runaway Jury’ is based on novel by which writer?
A: John Grisham.
Q: The chemical aspartame is most commonly used as what?
A: Sweetener.
Q: ANZAC Day is held on the anniversary of the beginning of which military campaign?
A: Gallipoli.

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