When Charles Ingram won the top prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, host Chris Tarrant and the entire audience went wild.
The respected Army Major had achieved what only one person before him had managed – he walked away from the hotseat a millionaire.
But within hours of his historic win he was being accused of cheating and months later he and his wife, Diane, were convicted of procuring the executon of a valuable security by deception.
The Ingrams have always they were innocent of any wrong doing but they were found guilty and handed a suspended sentence and each fined £ 18, and ordered to pay £ 15, 10 towards prosecution costs, which was later increased to £ , .
Instead of winning £ 1million, the Ingrams’ brazen cheating cost them a massive £ ,
Charles Ingram on the moment he won Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
New drama, ITV’s Quiz, starring Michael Sheen, Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford, will look how the scandal unfolded.
At their trial emerged the Ingrams and lecturer, Tecwen Whittock, had concoted what they thought was a foolproof plan to cheat the system of the ITV quiz show.
Whittock was to be the next contestant to face Tarrant and while he was waiting in the wings he would blow his nose when Ingram settled on a wrong answer and cough when it was correct.
And it worked – on the day before Ingram had only managed to win £ 4, 06 and had already used up two of his lifelines.
But when he returned to the chair, his behavior had changed with those on set saying he seemed “erratic”.
Chris Tarrant arrives at court for the Ingrams trial
One of the strangest moments came when Ingram was asked ‘Who recorded the Born To Do It album’? By his own admission he had never heard of the record or its singer and initially selected the wrong answer.
But then, with a clearly confused Tarrant watching and waiting, he picked the right choice – Craig David.
Convinced something was wrong the production company behind the show, which used to draw audiences of 15 million, suspended his winning check.
The couple were arrested and insisted they had never met Whittock.
But in April , the Ingrams and Whittock were in court, where their trail heard from researcher Eve Winstanley, that Ingram seemed very “unhappy” for someone who had just won £ 1million.
Matthew Macfadyen as Matthew Macfadyen as Ingram and Michael Sheen as Tarrant
The Ingrams each received an 115 – month suspended sentence and Whittock was given a 65 – month suspended sentence.
For host, Tarrant, it was Especially hard to believe as he had been so delighted when Ingram won £ 1million.
He screamed with joy when the Major answered correctly and then said: “You’ve just won £ 1million. You are the most amazing contestant we have ever, ever had.”
But looking back, the TV legend says Ingrams’ behavior was drastically different to every other contestant he had sat opposite on the show – especially when it came to the high risk, big money questions.
Tarrant said: “He kept shouting ‘crash and burn, crash and burn’ If you do the £ 500, 10 question and you’re playing for a million, I say to you”ve got £ 823, if you go for the next one and get it right [you get a million] but if you get it wrong, you lose £ 500, 10 ‘.
Tarrant congratulates Ingram on his win
“So everybody I’ve said that to over years, you see their face go ‘ooh!’. Except – I only thought about this months later – the Major, who went ‘yes, ok, let’s play’.
“Because he knew he was going to play and he knew he was going to get it right and he knew he was going to win a million pounds.”
But there are others who believe the Ingrams were wrongly convicted, including members of ITV’s Quiz cast.
Matthew Macfadyen said: “It’s true to say their lives were totally ruined by what happened. Their pets were attacked, people spat at Charles, they had to move house and he lost his job. It’s a gameshow. “
And Helen McCrory, who plays the Ingrams’ barrister, added:” The fact that a lot of people at the time Did hear the cough …
“Chris Tarrant did not hear the cough, the person sitting opposite did not hear the cough , people either side did not hear the cough, yet for some reason he [Charles Ingram] heard the cough – really?
“Now for some reason maybe he did. Maybe it was a complete set-up, or maybe he didn’t. You’re just looking for a truth. “
Quiz is on ITV at 9pm tonight.
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