Judith Keppel will be retiring from Channel 5’s puzzle show Eggheads, it has been announced.
His hit show will return Monday for its 24th series and third outing on Channel 5, but will not see Keppel return to the questionnaire.
Keppel, 80, was one of the original Eggheads to join the show in 2003 after becoming the UK’s first winner of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in the year 2000.
“I love doing it, but I’ve been doing it for 19 years and my memory is definitely not what it used to be,” she told the PA news agency of her retirement from Eggheads.
Eggheads saw teams of contestants try to beat a panel of expert questions on their general knowledge test.
The show started in 2003, aired on the original BBC and moved to Channel 5 in 2021, with current presenter Jeremy Vine joining the show in 2008.
Keppel said it was a “difficult” decision but added: “I’ve been doing it for 19 years and I’m pretty old. I had a terrible decade birthday one day (she turned 80 in August) and I noticed that I couldn’t study as well as I did.
“So I just thought it was time to go.”
The TV quiz star, who is a distant relative of Queen Consort, said making Eggheads was “a lot of fun”.
“Because it was a game, we all got in really well,” she said. I love all the behind-the-scenes stuff and makeup and wardrobes and all that. I mean, it’s just great fun, the whole thing, it’s fun. “
When asked what she will miss most about Eggheads, she said: “I think the interesting thing that I will remember is to focus.
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Judith is happy to be a teammate, with a real sense of ridiculousnessChris Hughes on Judith Keppel
“Because it was so good for me that I started reading the newspaper, concentrating. Of course, now that I remove any sports pages there, there is no need to do so, no need to read about pop music or anything like that.
“So I think I’m going to be exposed to a lot of popular stuff.
“And I probably won’t be as focused as I used to be.”
For her final question on Millionaire, then-host Chris Tarrant asked: “Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?”
Miss Keppel gave the correct answer to Henry II.
Reminiscing about her £1million win from 2000, she recounts the question of winning as something that crossed her path in the months leading up to her TV show appearance.
She said: “I just think I got incredibly lucky, because I think there’s a huge amount of luck involved with all the puzzles because no one can answer each one for them.
“I was just very lucky with the questions. I’m not athletic and I don’t have pop music, and I don’t have the science for that either, that’s all my weaknesses.
“I was really, very lucky with the questions and especially the last one, because I had just visited – the question was who Eleanor of Aquitaine was married to – and I had just driven back home. two months through France, and arrived at this huge church which was empty, and in the church there were four tombs, and one of them was Eleanor, one of which was her husband, Henry II, and her son grandmother, Richard I and his wife.
“I mean, it’s really extraordinary. Because I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t entered this church. “
Eggheads showrunner Kevin Ashman, who has been on the show since 2003, said: “We will miss Judith immensely.
“She gave a real feel to the class… I remember a team came in to prepare and they had a spreadsheet of our strengths and weaknesses.
“Judith they’ve identified as being good at history, art, books, as you’d expect, but they’ll also put her down for ‘luxury stuff’ regardless of what genre that includes.”
Another Eggheads man, Chris Hughes, said: “Judith is fun to be a teammate, with a really ridiculous feeling.
“If she finds something funny, she will start giggling.
“I invited her out for afternoon tea once, and after our third pot of tea, she carefully wrapped her smoked salmon sandwich and chocolate macaroons and stored them in her bag. “
The presenter, Vine, said: “I think for all of us, sadly, she was my great friend on the set, because she used to sit next to me and we would spend most of our time together. time to laugh.”
He added: “Judith is really TV quiz royalty. Because she’s, in the UK, the only woman to ever win a Millionaire and the first ever to win a million dollars.
“So she has those two things, that’s how we all discovered her, the whole country discovered Judith Keppel right away, that’s a very powerful thing, and she’s a real one. interesting person, you know, for years I had to know her…we were really friends. “
Egghead returns to Channel 5 on October 10 at 18:30.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/judith-keppel-announces-retirement-from-channel-5s-eggheads-42053299.html Judith Keppel announces retirement from Channel 5’s Eggheads