New ITV drama Quiz tells the story of Who Wants to be a Millionaire cheating scandal - here's how to watch

A new series is airing on ITV tonight (Monday 13th April), telling the story of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire cheating scandal of 2001.

Everything you need to know about the new ITV drama Quiz (Photo: ITV)
Everything you need to know about the new ITV drama Quiz (Photo: ITV)

A new series is airing on ITV tonight (Monday 13th April), telling the story of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire cheating scandal of 2001.

Quiz is based on an episode of the game show in which British Army Major Charles Ingram scooped £1 million, making it one of the only times the jackpot had been won.

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However a darker side of the win soon came to light when Charles, his wife Diana and supposed accomplice, Tecwen Whittok, were arrested on suspicion of cheating using well-timed coughs from the audience.

Here’s what you need to know about Quiz - and the true story behind it.

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    What is Quiz about?

    In 2001, Who Wants to be a Millionaire was at the centre of a famous scandal when contestant Charles Ingram managed to cheat his way to the maximum prize of £1 million.

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    Charles appeared over two episodes of the quiz show - his first episode being cut off due to running out of time, and then reappearing the next day to finish his run.

    By the time recording finished on his first day, it didn’t seem likely that he would go far - by the time he reached the £4,000 question, Charles had used up two of his three lifelines. As a general rule of thumb, the production team deem anyone to have used more than one lifeline before reaching a five-figure cash isn’t going to go far.

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    However, everything changes when Charles comes back to finish recording his episode. Tecwen Whittock is sitting directly behind him, where the Fastest Finger First contestants sit, and Charles has adopted a new habit of reading aloud every answer.

    Working with his wife Diana and accomplice Tecwen Whittock in the audience, Charles would muse aloud the possible answers to questions posed by host Chris Tarrant.

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    When he would mention the correct answer, a cough would sound from the audience.

    During the final rounds of Charles’ questions, the production team had began to notice the recurring coughing sounds.

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    Philip Davies, the studio floor manager, would say in court: “There is always coughing during recording, but it’s generally irregular, not systematic.”

    When the taping of Charles’ episode finished, the production team immediately begin to review the footage of the episode.

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    The episode was subsequently pulled from being broadcast, with Celador Productions (the production company behind Who Wants to be a Millionaire) informing Charles of this, and also that his £1 million prize is being withdrawn.

    The Ingrams and Whittock are all arrested later upon suspicion of deception.

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    All three were later found guilty after a lengthy trial which took place at Southwark Crown Court in 2003. The Ingrams were sentenced to 18 months in prison and Whittock to 12 months.

    Each of the trio were also fined £15,000, and a further £10,000 for prosecution costs.

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    Despite the outcome of the trial, the Ingrams have always claimed their innocence.

    Who is Charles Ingram?

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    Charles Ingram was born on 6 August 1963 and was son to John Ingram, a retired RAF wing commander and his wife Susan, a theatre set designer.

    Charles spent most of his education years at a private boarding school, Oswestry School, where he became a member of the Combined Cadet Force and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award. He then went on to study at Kingston University, gaining a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.

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    In 1986, Charles trained for the British Army at Sandhurst and was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Engineers - he was promoted to captain in 1990, and then again to major in 1995.

    Charles met his future wife Diana when she was training to be a teacher at Barry College in South Wales, and were married in November in 1989. The two have three children.

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    Ingram was dubbed ‘The Coughing Major’ after the story of the cheating scandal got out, and was ordered by the Army Board to resign and give up his rank of major in 2003.

    Since then, Charles went on to write two books - The Network, published in 2006, and Deep Siege, published in 2007.

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    What can I expect from the series?

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    Quiz is written by James Graham (Brexit: The Uncivil War, Coalition) and is based on his play of the same name, which was adapted for the West End.

    The ITV drama aims to look at both sides of the story - did they do it or are they innocent?

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    Graham said: “[Charles] was painted in the press as an idiot, someone who couldn’t have possibly known the answers to those questions.

    “But you forget that he has a degree in engineering, and he applied to be accepted into Mensa and succeed, thereby putting him in the top two per cent of IQs in the country.”

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    But on the other side of the coin, speaking to Radio Times, Graham said: “He behaved quite strangely in that chair, he played the game like no one has ever played that game before, and I still watch it and go, ‘What are you doing? Why are you convinced that it’s one thing, and then you change your mind to another answer?”

    However, host Chris Tarrant doesn’t hold any reservations in relation to the question of the couple’s innocence.

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    Speaking to This Morning, Tarrant said: “I sat through so many hours with the police and fraud squad tapes of [Charles’] show, and he is so guilty.

    “It’s like once you lock into it, it’s like oh, for god’s sake.”

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    Who is starring in Quiz?

    Playing the titular couple, Matthew Macfayden (Ripper Street, Succession) will play Charles Ingram, and Sian Clifford (Fleabag, Vanity Fair) will play his wife and possible accomplice Diana Ingram.

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    Playing the secondary alleged accomplice is Michael Jibson (1917, Saints & Strangers) as Tecwen Whittock.

    Taking on the role of Who Wants to be a Millionaire host Chris Tarrant is Michael Sheen (Good Omens, The Good Fight) and Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders, His Dark Materials) as Sonia Woodley QC.

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    Also joining the cast is Mark Bonnar (Guilt, Defending the Guilty) and Aisling Bea (Living with Yourself, This Way Up).

    When can I watch it?

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    The show is a three part series, with the first episode airing tonight, Monday 13 April, at 9pm on ITV.

    The following episodes will then take place on Tuesday 14 April and then episode three on Wednesday 15 April, all at 9pm.