TV quiz show says Gay Byrne is `just the presenter' in dispute over question


"It's nothing to do with him. Gay has absolutely nothing to do with the questions. He's just the presenter."

So said a spokeswoman for Tyrone Productions, the firm that makes Who Wants to be a Millionaire? after presenter Gay Byrne expressed regret over the row involving a contestant.

If an "honest mistake" was made, Gay said yesterday, the production company "will want to do the decent and right thing".

Mr Shane O'Doherty, who says he answered a question correctly but was told his answer was wrong, has threatened legal action.

Tyrone Productions says its investigations are continuing. The matter is not yet closed but research had validated their answer as the "commonly defined correct answer".

Mr O'Doherty, from Knockaire, Dublin, was asked on Sunday's programme "where in the human body is the lunula located - the heart, fingernail, eye, or ear?". He was playing for £125,000.

He used his phone-a-friend lifeline and answered "heart". The programme said, however, the correct answer was "fingernail", which meant Mr O'Doherty left with £32,000.

But a leading cardiac surgeon Mr Maurice Neligan, told RTE yesterday: "There is no doubt about this. It is a definite anatomical term within the heart. It's in all the surgical textbooks of the heart."

Tyrone Productions wrote to Mr O'Doherty on Tuesday after he had queried the answer, saying it had "thoroughly" investigated his claim. The programme was "a popular quiz show and the answers to all of our questions are easily found in general reference books and dictionaries", the letter said.

"We're pretty confident of our stance but in fairness to Shane we're going to go back and look at it. We should have a decision, a final one, in the next few days," the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Mr O'Doherty said he had not signed a legal document preventing him challenging the decision. "I never signed anything that gave away my right to challenge this. Even if I did, there's no court in the land that would uphold that when they're so blatantly wrong," he said.