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Originally a British TV show, presented by Chris Tarrant the format was soon bought by TV companies across the globe.

The full game works like this:

Viewers phone a premium rate phone number, to apply to appear on the show. Random applicants are auditioned on the phone, then 10 appear on each show.

The ten contestants are asked a question which involves sorting four items (e.g. sort "Two,Three,Four,Five" into alphabetical order). The contestant who gets the correct answer in the least time takes centre stage for the quiz.

The contestant is asked 15 questions, each of which is a four-option multiple-choice question, one at a time. Each question earns them more money -- it rises (almost) exponentially:

£100
£200
£300
£500
£1,000 *
£2,000
£4,000
£8,000
£16,000
£32,000 *
£64,000
£125,000
£250,000
£500,000
£1,000,000

The contestant may choose not to answer a question at any time, and retire with their winnings so far. If they get a question wrong, they lose everything the won since the last milestone. The milestone questions are the ones marked with a "*". For example, if you had already won £64,000 and then were to answer the £125,000 question wrongly, you would take home £32,000 (the milestone value), losing £32,000.

Along the way, there are likely to be questions to which the contestant won't know the answer. To help them, they have three lifelines, each of which they may use once: