Judith Cynthia Aline Keppel , a garden designer from Fulham, was a contestant on series 8 of the UK version of the show on 18, 20 November 2000. She was the first British contestant to win £1,000,000. She later appeared on September 6 and 9 on 2003 with David Seaman and won with £32,000.
She has appeared on the former BBC Two, now Channel 5, quiz show Eggheads since 2003.
The klaxon called time and Judith would return on £16,000 with 2 lifelines still available.
£32,000 (10 of 15) - Not Timed
Whose autobiography has the title 'A Long Walk To Freedom'?
• A: Ranulph Fiennes
• B: Mother Teresa
• C: Nelson Mandela
• D: Mikhail Gorbachev
£64,000 (11 of 15) - Not Timed
Duffel coats are named after a town in which country? '50:50' lifeline used
• A: Belgium
• B: Holland
• C: Germany
• D: Austria
£125,000 (12 of 15) - Not Timed
Complete this stage instruction in Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale': 'Exit, pursued by a …'? 'Phone-a-Friend' lifeline used
• A: Tiger
• B: Clown
• C: Bear
• D: Dog
Judith did not know, so she decided to call her friend Jilly, who was 100% sure it was Bear. She decided to go with her friend and won £125,000.
£250,000 (13 of 15) - Not Timed
The young of which creature is known as a 'squab'?
• A: Salmon
• B: Horse
• C: Pigeon
• D: Octopus
£500,000 (14 of 15) - Not Timed
Who is the patron saint of Spain?
• A: Saint James
• B: Saint John
• C: Saint Benedict
• D: Saint Peter
£1,000,000 (15 of 15) - Not Timed
Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?
• A: Henry I
• B: Henry II
• C: Richard I
• D: Henry V
Judith immediately says "I think it's Henry II..." and a few audience members start to get excited. The excitement and anticipation in the audience increases even more as Judith explains why she's so confident in her answer, culminating with the "Final Answer" heard all around the world, and Chris Tarrant finally uttering these 6 words:
"YOU'VE JUST WON ONE MILLION POUNDS!"
On the Celebrity Edition on the 22nd September 2001, Judith was one of the Phone-a-Friends of celebrity contestants Fiona Phillips and Martin Frizell. Martin reads her their £8,000 question, in 1857, which title was conferred on Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Judith told him she was fairly sure by 80% it was C: Prince Consort, so Fiona and Martin went for C: Prince Consort and got it right.
On the Celebrity Edition on the 2nd March 2002, Judith was one of the Phone-a-Friends of celebrity contestants Andy Gray and Richard Keys. Andy reads her their £16,000 question, in 1857, who starred opposite Marilyn Monroe in the 1957 film "The Prince and the Showgirl"?. Judith told him it was A: Laurence Olivier without Andy reading the choices, so Andy and Richard went for A: Laurence Olivier and got it right.
On the 6th and 9th September 2003, Judith returned to the hot seat as part of the 5th Birthday special, playing with former goalkeeper David Seaman and winning £32,000 to share between their charities after answering the £64,000 question incorrectly.
Keppel now - and still does - appears on the BBC Two quiz show Eggheads, where she and six other quiz champions (including later million pound winner Pat Gibson) are pitted against members of the public.
Keppel is a granddaughter of Walter Keppel, 9th Earl of Albemarle. Her great-grandfather, the 8th Earl, was the brother of George Keppel and the brother-in-law of Alice Keppel, a mistress of King Edward VII and the great-great uncle of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who is thus her third cousin. Through her grandfather, her ancestors include Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, who were the subjects of her one million-pound question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
Keppel's win was the highest-value top prize win on the show ever, worth over £1.7 million ($2.28 million) in 2021. As such, she held the record for the highest-value game show win in the UK until Graham Fletcher won £1.5 million (worth £1.945 million/$2.61 million) on Red or Black in 2012.
She became the second-highest game show top prize winner anywhere in the world at the time of her win, only being beaten by David Legler's $1.765 million win on Twenty-One in the USA earlier in the year.
There was speculation at the time that the win was fixed so that ITV would draw ratings away from BBC One which was showing the last episode of One Foot in the Grave in the same timeslot. However, the ITC cleared Celador and ITV of the allegations.
Judith Keppel's win was broadcast just over one year after John Carpenter's run (19 November, 1999), the first American contestant to claim the million dollar prize on the U.S. version of the show and the first contestant anywhere in the world to answer all 15 questions correctly and claim the top prize. According to Chris Tarrant, Pascal, the confetti operator, had practiced many times before in case "the big day came along", yet on the big day itself it did not happen.
When Judith Keppel won the million, the Confetti Drop that usually accompanies the Million pound win cue did not occur, due to the confetti cannons malfunctioning. The issue, however, was later fixed as the episode continued, and the confetti drop eventually took place at the end of the episode, as the credits were rolling.
Judith Keppel is the first - and only - female contestant to win the top prize on the UK version of the show.
Judith Keppel is the only British contestant to win £1,000,000 in neither the months of September or April.
Chris Tarrant mentions after Judith's win that the Americans (6), South Africans (1), French (2), and Portuguese (2) managed to win the top prize before. However, he didn’t (or forgot) to mention that the Spanish (1), Japanese (3), Israel (1), Indians (1), and Belgians (1) had also done it before.