Media Medium
22 November 2000


Is Tarrant's time up?

He may have found his first Millionaire this week, but adventurous Aries
will soon be urging the show's host, Chris Tarrant, to seek pastures new.

With its first millionaire winner, where does ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire go now? Its horoscope (first broadcast 8:00pm, September 4 1998) shows a quizzical, encyclopaedic Virgo with a mass appeal that comes from generous Jupiter rising in sympathetic Pisces. This is a classic good-luck placing, reflecting the dream prizes that are worth playing for and the show's ethos of a benevolent universe in which no-one is a loser and no-one looks a complete idiot.

Judith Keppel's million pound win on November 20 times to Saturn's transit by square of the horoscope's Venus in regal Leo, a classy, well-connected lady, but there is a darker symbolic undercurrent at work. ITV bosses are said to be furious at accusations that the questions were slanted to allow the show to deliver a knock-out blow against the much-trailed final episode of BBC1's One Foot In The Grave, and it's not surprising to find such suggestions, given the movement of shady Pluto square to the show's Sun last week. Pluto is lord of the underworld, ruler of the dead, signifier of the unconscious and the hidden, and the striking Sun-Pluto symbolism now is an Ariadne thread, drawing together apparently unrelated elements. What does it reveal?

The show was recorded the night before, on SUNday, and the story conveniently leaked to The Sun. This ensured maximum impact for its 9pm slot against One Foot In The Grave (Pluto), showing Victor Meldrew's demise (Pluto). Now look at the million-pound question: "which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?" As an earl's grand-daughter herself, and a relative of Camilla Parker- Bowles, it was somewhat fortuitous that she should be asked a question about the consort of an English king (Sun). Judith Keppel revealed that, by chance, she had visited Eleanor's tomb (Pluto) this summer, so the image of the grave lay at the heart of the final question.

It is also the million-pound moment which the show's presenter, Chris Tarrant, has been waiting for. With all the charm of a benign, attentive Libran, Tarrant was born on a Full Moon in pioneering Aries, with a dose of ironic Scorpio and pukka Saturnian timing (7pm20, October 10 1946, Reading). His horoscope shows that this is the benchmark moment he needs to allow him to move on, and it looks as if his time on the programme is up. Whatever millions ITV might offer to keep him, Neptune crossing his career point at the start of next year heralds a longing to escape, and by March, if contracts allow, his impatient and adventurous Aries will be urging him to move on. The show could then enter a Plutonic half-life, a karmic kick-back for seeing off One Foot In The Grave.

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