Television host seeks solace in Suffolk
QUESTION: How does a celebrity quizmaster spend a night out when he wants to escape the attention of the national tabloid Press?Answer: He pops into the Queen's Head at Eye.
By David Green
QUESTION: How does a celebrity quizmaster spend a night out when he wants to escape the attention of the national tabloid Press?
Answer: He pops into the Queen's Head at Eye.
Customers at the small, market town pub were astonished when Chris Tarrant, host of ITV's popular Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? quiz series walked through the doorway.
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The television celebrity - currently being hounded by national tabloid newspapers interested in his domestic life - took part in some light-hearted banter with locals and bought all of them a drink before heading off in a taxi two hours later.
He also returned the next day to enjoy a pint and a packet of crisps.
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It emerged that Mr Tarrant was staying at the Bedingfield home of a friend - singer/songwriter, Andy Hill.
Queen's Head landlord, Ed Davies, said: “Two blokes came in and I instantly recognised one of them as Chris Tarrant. I couldn't believe that someone like that could just walk into my pub.
“Everyone was gob-smacked and the pub started buzzing.”
Mr Davies said Mr Tarrant has enjoyed some banter with the rest of the customers who had called friends on their mobiles to tell them of the celebrity's presence.
“Soon there was a lot more people in the pub. When one customer phoned his brother to tell him who he was drinking with, Mr Tarrant joined in the fun.
“He took over the phone and pretended his television programme was live and that the customer was already on £500,000 and seeking help in answering the one million pound question.”
Mr Davies said Mr Tarrant and his companion had drunk a couple of glasses of red wine and some whisky before climbing into a taxi.
“He bought everyone in the pub a drink before he left - I can't remember how much the round came to but there was a lot of people here by then,” he said.
The next day Mr Tarrant appeared again - for a lunch-time drink.
“He just sat there talking about football and fishing and how he was going to watch his football team, Reading.
“He told me it was nice to come to a quiet pub and enjoy a drink because the Press are always hounding him. He had to be careful where he went and who he was photographed with.
“He was just a very nice, down to earth man and I would love it if he came in here again,” Mr Davies added.
Meanwhile, media speculation about Mr Tarrant's private life continued yesterday with one national tabloid quoting him as saying his seven-year affair meant "nothing" and that he wants his wife, Ingrid, 52, to forgive him.
The Tarrants announced their separation in mid-September following reports that the 60-year-old had an affair with deputy headteacher Fiona McKechnie, ten years his junior.
The News of the World quoted Mr Tarrant yesterday as saying: "I know this will be hard for most people to understand but she didn't mean anything to me.
"It was nothing and I mean that. It wasn't a big thing, it's over and I regret it and that's the end of it.”
Mr Tarrant was also quoted as saying: “I wish the old girl could forgive me and we could get back together but she doesn't seem to be budging.
"I still love her. We used to have a great life together and a real laugh. We were a great couple and a team - but I can't get through to her.”
He said he feared divorce - "because once the lawyers get involved these things become inevitable”.