Charles Ingram Controversy: The Real Story Behind the Massive Coughing Scandal! The Questions Were Answered About How Charles Ingram Defrauded a Millionaire.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was a staple of American television about two decades ago. At its height, one-third of the UK population was watching.
The show’s most infamous episode, however, was never shown.
In 2001, Major Charles Ingram won £1 million through fraud in what is now known as the “coughing incident.”
Quiz, a new ITV drama, features Matthew McFayden (Succession) as Ingram, Sian Clifford (Fleabag), and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, The Damned United) as host Chris Tarrant, all of whom bring this controversy to life.
Read on to find out what really happened…
Ingram’s history with WWTBAM
The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? set was not Ingram’s first time at the rodeo. On January 27, 2011, he advanced to the show’s “Fastest Finger First” round, where participants compete to be the first to correctly answer a single question and move on to the “real” quiz. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get a position on the throne.
After three months, he and his new wife Diana tried out for the couples edition of the program, but they too bombed in the Fastest Finger First round.
In April, Diana tried to earn the reward on her own. By the end of the first round, she was sitting across from Tarrant and had won £32,000.
Ingram’s time came in September after he won the contest for fastest finger first in 3.97 seconds.
How the coughing scandal worked
On the first day of shooting, Ingram had some trouble keeping up. After answering the first five questions correctly, he was forced to use his lifelines on the following two rounds, the £2,000 question (about Coronation Street) and the £4,000 question (about the location of the River Foyle).
Production staff and show veterans alike believed that Ingram was doomed to fail when he returned the next day.
But that night, he and Diana plotted with a man called Tecwen Whittock, who was scheduled to appear on the next day’s episode of Fastest Finger First.
Each potential answer to a question would be read out by Ingram, and Whittock would cough when he heard the correct response.