Chris Tarrant OBE

National television and radio star for 40 years – and still going strong – Chris Tarrant graduated from Birmingham in 1967 with a degree in English.

Why he is outstanding

Best known as the sharp-witted quizmaster on the long-running TV quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – and for creating the catchphrases “but we don’t want to give you that,” and “is that your final answer?” – Chris has been a celebrity for 40 years.

After graduating, Chris became an English teacher but didn’t enjoy it very much and decided to pursue his dream of working in television with real determination. His persistence paid off and he began his television career as a newsreader for ATV – his quirky humour and ability to make anything sound interesting got him noticed.

In 1974 he became a national star presenting – not to mention writing and producing – the brilliantly anarchic Saturday morning children’s show Tiswas, which also made a name for Lenny Henry.  

In 1984, Chris joined London’s Capital Radio where he presented an award-winning breakfast show that ran for 17 years. He has also hosted a number of other long-running television programmes, such as Tarrant on TV.

His awards are numerous and include Sony Radio Awards: Radio Personality of the Year in 1990, a Lifetime Achievement Award from ITV in 2000, and the CBE in 2004.

Did you know?

Chris turned down a place at Oxford to attend Birmingham.