Of all the quiz TV, ITV Play were one of the fairer ones...I won about £15,000 - £20,000 overall as a poor 18 year old college student, still have a folder full of winner letters somewhere! (Back in those days it was a lot of cheques in the post!).
I won mainly via the free web entry route (which they later tightened up) never got sucked in to the premium rate line, except for playing the Rover Return Pub Quiz which I spent roughly £2,000 of mobile phone calls on but there was a reason in that I was consistently getting one of the higher scores in the quiz (I didn't have a laptop with Google open next to the TV at any point of course...) and hence getting through so, so often
If you got through you won a few hundred quid each time and a free go at 'Newton or Ridley' which was basically you guess the correct sequence of 5 bottles hidden behind each either 'Newton' or 'Ridley' and you won a bonus £500, then you could gamble up to £2,500 or something. I won the £500 quite a few times on that too but never gambled because that would be stupid as you would lose the £500 after that point if you guessed wrong so it was no longer a 'free' shot! They once invited me to be in the studio as they had someone pull out at the last minute but sadly I couldn't make it
The advantage was during the day not that many people were watching ITV Play on the Freeview channel, it was rather pointless bothering once they joined ITV1 as the audience and punters trying to get through was obviously much higher. I did however manage to get through to Make Your Play just after midnight on ITV1 once for a simple anagram (it was as simple as P A L P E) for a straight £3,000!
In fact just the other day I was having a clear out and found a Quizmania frisbee and some signed ITV Play postcards from the presenters of This Morning Puzzle Book, I'll take some pictures and upload them at some point! I also had a ITV Play t-shirt and ITV Play slinky at one point but sadly seem to have lost those!
Happy memories and I would like to thank ITV for paying the bills whilst I was a poor student!