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The Secret Millionaire
TSMtitle.jpg
Format Reality television
Created by RDF Media
Narrated by John Lester
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 4 in UK; 1 in US; 1 in AU
No. of episodes 21 in UK; 6 in US; 6 in AU
Production
Running time approx. 48 minutes (per episode)
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 29 November 2006 (2006-11-29) – present

The Secret Millionaire is a reality television show which originated in the UK, in which millionaires go incognito into impoverished communities and agree to give away tens of thousand of pounds (or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the U.S. version). Members of the community are told the cameras are present due to a documentary filming. The UK version is produced by the independent production company RDF Media and was created by Stephen Lambert. It first aired in 2006 on the UK's Channel 4, with a second season playing in 2007.

Contents

Format

Each week a millionaire leaves his/her luxurious life behind, takes on a secret identity and lives undercover in a deprived area of the country for a week to ten days. Living on a limited budget with no modern conveniences they must forge their own way in the community – working and volunteering alongside the locals and finding individuals or projects whom they think deserve a cut of their fortune. On their final day, the millionaires come clean and reveal their true identity to the people they have chosen, surprising them with gifts of thousands of pounds or dollars to improve their lives.

UK version

The first millionaire to appear in the series was 26 year-old Ben Way. A third series of the show began on Channel 4 on 5 August 2008. The first episode of Series 3 featured businessman James Benamor, who has been criticised in the media for investing in the sub-prime market,[citation needed] and sharp practice in his company the Richmond Group.[1] A 10-part fourth series began airing in Spring 2009.

UK towns featured

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Series 1

Episode Original airdate Millionaire Donation
Episode 1 29 November 2006 Ben Way £40,000
Episode 2 6 December 2006 John Elliott £10,000 + £7,500 + job offer
Episode 3 13 December 2006 Charan Gill £10,000 + £15,000 + £5,000
Episode 4 20 December 2006 Paul Williams £10,000 + £10,000 + £10,000*
Episode 5 2 January 2007 Emma Harrison £30,000 + £5,000 + £15,000
  • Not all the amounts of the cheques were shown on camera but the receivers mentioned they received £10,000 each.

Series 2

Episode Original airdate Millionaire Donation
Episode 1 7 November 2007 Gill Fielding £219,000 + laptop
Episode 2 14 November 2007 Chek Whyte £50,000 + home improvement (central heating, new windows, etc.)
Episode 3 28 November 2007 Terry George £30,000 + electric shaver
Episode 4 5 December 2007 Mo Chaudry £29,000
Episode 5 12 December 2007 David Pearl £10,000 + £10,000 + £10,000 + £10,000 + £10,000
Episode 6 19 December 2007 Margaret Heffernan £30,000

Series 3

Episode Original airdate Millionaire Donation
Episode 1 5 August 2008 James Benamor £136,000 + job offer
Episode 2 12 August 2008 Kavita Oberoi £45,000
Episode 3 19 August 2008 Nick Leslau £341,000
Episode 4 26 August 2008 Carl Hopkins £35,000
Episode 5 2 September 2008 Daniel Smith £30,000
Episode 6 9 September 2008 Hilary Devey £136,000
Episode 7 16 September 2008 Gavin Wheeldon £43,700 + laptop
Episode 8 23 September 2008 Caroline Marsh £70,000
Where are they now? 25 December 2008 Most, if not all, from series 3 None

Series 4

Episode Original airdate Millionaire Donation
Episode 1 22 March 2009 Kevin Morley £250,000 + trip to Disneyland
Episode 2 29 March 2009 Gary Eastwood £50,000
Episode 3 5 April 2009 Jennifer Cheyne £70,000
Episode 4 12 April 2009 Jonathan Hick £5,000 + £20,000 + £15,000
Episode 5 19 April 2009 Rob Lloyd £10,000 + £5,000 + £5,000 + £20,000
Episode 6 26 April 2009 Martin Stamp £20,000 + £20,000
Episode 7 4 May 2009 Rob Calcraft £10,000 + £3,000 + £7,000 + £20,000

Series 5

A fifth series aired in autumn 2009 with six episodes

US version

An American version of the show premiered December 3, 2008, on Fox.[2]

Like the British version, the Fox show features wealthy benefactors each week that go undercover in the most deprived neighborhoods of the United States. For one week, the millionaires mingle within the community and live on a very low-cost budget; this the very first time doing so for many of them. At the end of the show, the millionaires reveal their identities and proceed to donate a minimum of $100,000 (which they sometimes divide among the recipients).

Fox has aired six episodes of the hour-long series, including a two-hour premier. The millionaires have included Internet Advertising tycoon Gurbaksh Chahal; Todd and Gwen Graves, of the restaurant chain Raising Cane's; Century Software founder Gregory Haerr; DUB Magazine founders Myles and Cynthia Kovacs; attorney, broker and sportswear entrepreneur Gregory Ruzicka, and his son Cole; and Baltimore, Maryland civic leader and Baltimore Ravens NFL cheerleader Molly Shattuck.[2]

Season one aired on FOX. Season two will consist of six hour-long episodes broadcast on ABC.[3]

Season 1

Episode Original airdate Millionaire Donation
Episode 1 December 3, 2008 Gregory and Cole Ruzicka $125,000 + toys
Episode 2 December 3, 2008 Gwen and Todd Graves $300,000 + grill + playground goods
Episode 3 December 10, 2008 Cynthia and Myles Kovacs $150,000 + car
Episode 4 December 11, 2008 Gurbaksh Chahal $90,000 on camera*
Episode 5 December 17, 2008 Molly Shattuck and her mother $190,000 + toys
Episode 6 December 18, 2008 Gregory Haerr and brother Paul $150,000
  • Although the minimum required donation is $100,000, during the Episode 4 airing with millionaire Gurbaksh Chahal only $90,000 was shown (two $35,000 donations & two $10,000 donations). However, the total donations exceeded $100,000 and also included a birthday fund and computer lab. Chahal was the pilot episode for the US series.[4]

Australian version

The Australian series Secret Millionaire Australia was aired in 2009. It consisted of six shows hosted by Russell Crowe. More than $750,000 was given away in grants to individuals and community groups.[5]

Awards

The British version of Secret Millionaire won the Rose d'Or Award in 2007 for best reality series.[6]

Footnotes

External links


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