Charles and Diana Ingram are chuffed that ITV drama Quiz raises new questions surrounding the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? ‘coughing major’ scandal.
Major Ingram was one of the rare contestants to scoop the £1 million prize on the gameshow in 2001, but was subsequently arrested following claims he cheated.
Accusations were levied that someone had been planted in the audience to help Charles – he would read each answer to a question aloud, and the plant would ‘cough’ on the correct answer, ensuring his victory.
Quiz, which started its life as a play on the West End, adapts these real-life events into a thrilling three-part drama that explores both the creation of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and the national obsession it caused, resulting in the controversy.
Both Diana and her brother had both been contestants on the show before Charles, with the Major’s brother-in-law being part of a nation-wide syndicate obsessed with rigging their chances of earning a spot on the competition
The three episodes take place right from the moment Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to ITV right up to the Ingrams’ trial, which became a public and media spectacle. The narrative echoes a trial too; specific episodes are framed through the eyes of the prosecution and defence.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press at a preview for Quiz, writer and creator James Graham revealed that the Ingrams spoke to production – and seemed pretty happy that the narrative of the show takes a ‘balanced’ view of the scandal.
‘We spoke to everybody [involved],’ Graham said. ‘We deliberately engaged with them very early on.’
The couple are played by Spooks star Matthew MacFadyen and Fleabag’s Sian Clifford, with the role of Chris Tarrant being taken on by Michael Sheen.
Graham continued: ‘We invited them on to the set, they met Sian and Matthew.
‘I think, I hope, that since we are raising the possibility that all is not as it seems, they seem quite pleased that this conversation is being had.’
The writer’s sentiment was echoed by Clifford, who said the couple were ‘thrilled’ to see their story being adapted for the small screen.
Following a lengthy trial, Charles and Diana were eventually convicted on a single count of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception.
They both served a two-year suspended prison sentence alongside co-defendant Tecwen Whittock and ordered to pay around £115,000.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Tarrant was totally oblivious to the scandal which was unfolding before his very eyes at the time.
‘No, no [I had no idea],’ he told Eamonn Holmes on This Morning. ‘Because – and you know this – the guy was winning a million pounds. There were people roaring, screaming.
‘I mean God knows what he was doing. What an incredible contestant”, we just thought it was mad but brave.’
Quiz airs on ITV this April.
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