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Q: Why is Paddy demanding an investigation after losing pounds 16,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? A: Because he gave right answer to question involving Giant's Causeway but Tarrant told him it was wrong.

Byline: ALEXANDRA WILLIAMS and RONAN McSHERRY

AN Irish contestant on tonight's ITV version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? could become the first punter in the show's history to successfully challenge the quiz.

Viewers will see Paddy Herron, 43, sent packing with just pounds 1,000 after host Chris Tarrant tells him he has wrongly answered the pounds 16,000 question.

But the quiz expert was so confident he was correct on the programme, which was recorded on April 2, he refused to let the matter lie - especially as the question referred to the Giant's Causeway, just 40 miles from his home.

Now a host of leading experts are backing the solicitor and Millionaire makers Celador have launched an investigation.

Paddy, from Coalisland in Co Tyrone, told the Mirror: "I was absolutely gutted. I was so certain I was right and now it seems that everyone else thinks so too."

Paddy, the lawyer who worked on the match-fixing case involving footballers Bruce Grobbelaar, Hans Segers and John Fashanu, was certain he knew the answer to the pounds 16,000 ($22,000) question.

Tarrant said: "The Island of Staffa is said to be at one end of which route? A: The Pennine Way; B: The Road To The Isles; C: Watling Street or D: The Giant's Causeway?"

Paddy answered B after carefully eliminating the other three options, pointing out that the Giant's Causeway was the only one that was definitely not a "route".

But Tarrant stunned the confident contestant by telling him he was WRONG and the answer was in fact the Causeway.

Paddy said: "Even if I had all my lifelines left I wouldn't have used a single one of them because I was so sure of the answer.

"The Giant's Causeway is as much a route as Bombay Duck is duck. Everyone knows that the Causeway is a rock formation and that Bombay Duck is fish.

"The people at Millionaire have been great to me and I'm not wanting to go to the highest court in the land or anything stupid.

"But I would like it to be investigated.

"It's a wee bit frustrating because everyone in Ireland knows the Causeway's not a route.

"To coin a phrase, I was as sick as the proverbial when I was kicked off the show.

"I was about to win pounds 16,000 and then suddenly I was back down to pounds 1,000 when I was so sure I was right."

The National Trust For Scotland, owners of the Island of Staffa - an uninhabited isle in the Inner Hebrides in the west of Mull - agreed with Paddy.

Spokeswoman Francoise Van Buuren said: "The Giant's Causeway is not a route. The connection with Staffa is the type of rock.

"We would say the answer is The Road To The Isles."

Although The Oxford Dictionary definition of causeway is "raised road across low ground or water", the Giant's Causeway is a natural pier into the water.

The Island of Staffa is more than 80 miles from the Causeway. The Road to the Isles is just 15 miles.

Leading academic specialists have also cast doubt on the validity of the question.

Kevin Mc Garry, tourism manager of the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site, has contacted the producers of Millionaire.

In a letter he wrote: "If one were to attribute to the question its clear meaning, the Giant's Causeway would be removed as an answer option.

"This is because there is not nor has there ever been, a route of any type between the Giant's Causeway and Staffa. I was surprised to be told that the Giant's Causeway was the correct answer.

"The question is confusing, misleading and most certainly should have been posed in a very different form."

He added that if he had been on the show, he may also have answered B - The Road to the Isles.

Geology experts at Queen's University in Belfast confirmed there never has been any natural link or route between Staffa and the Giants Causeway.

And leading geologists of the British Geographical Survey Organisation said that while the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway and the Island of Staffa are similar in structure, they were actually formed millions of years apart.

Although many people believe them to be linked, any similarity is purely coincidental.

A spokeswoman for Millionaire said the programme was investigating Paddy's claim.

She said: "We are aware that Paddy is contesting the question.

"We are looking into the matter. We would not like to speculate what we would do if Paddy was found to be correct."

She added that when questions are set, four different reference points are used.

CAPTION(S):

PRESENTER: Chris Tarrant; WRONG: Giant's Causeway; ISLE GET YOU: Paddy, right, was asked about Staffa island
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 17, 2003
Words:794
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