A male stripper who won £70,000 on game shows claims he collusioned his way into the finals of The Weakest Link with contestants.
Mike Stratton, 55, pocketed tens of thousands of pounds in cash and prizes after taking part in 18 TV quiz shows including Bullseye, Decimate and Fear Factor.
And after eight years of trying to have a child with his wife Donna Stratton, 52, he even used £10,000 of his winnings to pay for IVF treatment which helped him have three children.
But the clever dad has now revealed how he made it to the final two on The Weakest Link, claiming he convinced unsuspecting players not to vote him out.
Mike said before the show began filming, he followed individual contestants to the studio’s bathrooms, where they made “secret” agreements not to evict each other.
He then allegedly spoke to seven of the nine participants, without any of them realizing they were part of his master plan.
Mike Stratton revealed how he made it to the final two on The Weakest Link, claiming he convinced unsuspecting players not to vote him out
Mike Stratton, 55, watches Decimate at home in Wigan
Mike Stratton (far right) on the set of the Fear Factor TV quiz – in Argentina
Mike said that several disgruntled contestants who had been eliminated from the quiz noticed that he had stitched them together while he was waiting in the green room for the show to end.
He claimed: “I cheated on The Weakest Link.” Every time someone left the room, I went with them.
“I would say something like, ‘I’ll tell you what, they’re going to vote me and you out immediately, aren’t they?'”
“So I said, ‘I’m not going to vote for you and you’re not going to vote for me, yeah?’ And I did that all day.
“When it came to filming the show, there were only two people I hadn’t done this to.
“My name wasn’t mentioned until there were three of us: me, a girl and this really smart guy.”
“And I looked at the girl and said, ‘You and me in the finals?’ and she said, “Yes,” and we voted this guy out.
“One of the guys in the green room said, ‘Did you hear what he said back then?’ He said to me beforehand that if I didn’t vote for him, he wouldn’t vote for me.’ Another said the same thing.’
He added: “You are allowed to work with other people because there is nothing in the rules against it.”
“It’s just that I did it to everyone, so everyone was mad at me.”
He has now written a book about his experiences, which is available on Amazon
Mike said he first became “hooked” on trivia when his wife gave him a flyer in 2001 for a game show called “Greed,” hosted by Jerry Springer.
The ad was sent to his family’s tanning shop in Wigan, Greater Manchester, where he worked while touring Europe with his male stripper troupe called The X-men.
Mike said he used his charisma and unusual job title to get on the show and was shocked when he walked away with £10,000 during his brief appearance.
This led him to apply for more game shows where he felt he could make a hefty profit in just a few minutes.
He said: “I used this money to buy my wife a new car and we went on holiday to Gran Canaria.”
“And after I achieved one, I started applying for more. Since my job is very interesting, I ran my own strip group and got along better and better.’
Mike said he appeared on both The National Lottery: In It to Win It and The Weakest Link in 2004, where he put his clever plan into action.
The most money he has ever won was £15,000 in 2008 on Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old, where players answer questions from primary school books.
But the dad, who admits he’s not a “general knowledge geek”, said he deliberately chose shows that weren’t too difficult to win as part of his strategy.
Mike appears in an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Mike said: “The Chase is fine, but it’s too hard to win money on it.” But “Beat The Chasers” – that’s a good sequel.
“You can stay there for five minutes or 10 minutes, not be too greedy and walk away with £15,000 to £20,000.”
Mike considers his winnings “gift money” and has spent it on various purchases, including laser eye surgery and IVF treatment that helped his wife get pregnant.
After completing four rounds of fertility treatment between 2007 and 2011, he was able to give birth to his daughter Sophie, now 16, and twins Alex and Daniel, now 11.
Mike added: “After trying for so long you never believe it’s going to happen.” You can imagine the months it didn’t happen and the tears – and that was just me.
“But it’s just another example of how the game shows changed my life. “I never thought we could have as many tries as we did.”
He has now written a book about his experiences, available on Amazon, called How to Get on Game Shows and Win £1000s.
Mike said the key to getting a spot on popular TV quizzes was to present yourself as the outgoing contestant.
He said: “What the game shows are looking for are people who are animated in front of the camera and don’t just give one-word answers.”
“If you can be lively and entertaining, even better.”
Hit game shows Mike has appeared on include: Greed, The Weakest Link, National Lottery: In It To Win It, Fear Factor, 24 Hour Quiz, Perseverance, Beg Borrow or Steal, It’s Not What You Know, Bullseye, Identity, Duel, Are you smarter than a ten year old?, Who wants to be a millionaire? Decimate, freeze.
MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.