It all started with a well-timed cough. In 2001, a former British army major, Charles Ingram, was a contestant on the wildly popular game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Ingram unexpectedly won the £1,000,000 jackpot but was subsequently tried and convicted for cheating, along with his wife and another accomplice. Now the Ingram story is coming to AMC in the new miniseries Quiz, adapted from the 2017 play of the same name by James Graham.
Michael Sheen (Good Omens) lights up the trailer as game-show host Chris Tarrant, so small wonder the miniseries proved to be ratings gold when it premiered last month in the UK. Directed by Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal), the three-part TV adaptation also stars Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) and Sian Clifford (Fleabag) as Charles and his wife Diana Ingram. Michael Jibson (1917) plays the Ingrams' accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, while Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) plays Sonia Woodley, the Ingrams' criminal defense barrister.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was among the most popular shows in the UK in 1999, and Ingram's wife and her brother had both been contestants on the show when Charles decided to follow suit. Producers didn't expect him to proceed beyond the second day of taping—his performance was fairly erratic—but instead he won the top prize. Tarrant didn't suspect anything was wrong as he celebrated with the Ingrams in their dressing room after the show. But production staff became convinced that Ingram had cheated after reviewing the tapes. Diana and Whittock kept coughing noticeably right as Tarrant read the correct answer.