Quiz: What happened to Charles and Diana Ingram and everyone else involved in the Who Wants to be a Millionaire coughing scandal?

The drama series about the 2001 ITV quiz show scandal is being watched by millions, but what happened to everyone involved in the affair after the trial ended?

By Alex Fletcher Published: 15 April 2020 - 12.24pm
ITV Matthew Macfayden as Major Charles Ingram in Quiz

ITV’s three-part mini-series Quiz, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as Charles and Diana Ingram, looks back at the phenomenal success of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in the 1990s, the secret groups who tried to gain an advantage over the show’s producers and the downfall of the Ingrams and their plan to win the million-pound jackpot.

Quiz, written by James Graham, casts doubt over the guilt of the couple and presents a more human side to the Ingrams which was somewhat lost amid the tabloid furore at the time of the scandal.

But what happened to everyone involved in the ‘coughing major’ incident after the Ingrams' trial ended?

Major Charles Ingram (played by Matthew Macfadyen) and Diana Ingram (Sian Clifford)

Sian Clifford and Matthew Macfayden as the Ingrams in Quiz ITV

The Ingrams were each given prison sentences suspended for two years and handed fines, defence costs and legal fees amounting to £115,000.

Charles was ordered to resign his commission by the Army Board and also faced prosecution on charges of insurance fraud over a claim on a burglary at his home.

Following the huge amount of publicity the court case generated, the Ingrams became minor celebrities and for a couple of years were regulars on reality TV series and gameshows.

Charles competed in Channel 4 sports series The Games, while the couple took part in The Weakest Link, Hell’s Kitchen, Celebrity Fear Factor and Celebrity Poker Club, and appeard on an edition of Wife Swap with Jade Goody and Jeff Brazier.

A report from The Sun in 2019 claimed that the Ingrams had declared themselves bankrupt for a fourth time.

Sian Clifford as Diana Ingram in Quiz ITV

The couple now live in Bath and Diana sells handmade jewellery.

On her website, it states: “I offer exclusive collections of exquisite Murano glass necklaces, bracelets and earrings, and a diversifying collection of crystals, gold and pearl jewellery for formal, informal and everyday wear.”

Although they lost in court and many involved in the affair, including presenter Chris Tarrant, believe that it’s an open and shut case, one person who offered sympathy to the Ingrams was journalist Jon Ronson.

Ronson, who attended every day of the trial, said he initially believed the Ingrams were guilty of a badly hatched plan to cheat their way to winning, but after being contacted by quizzer and writer James Plaskett – who also won £250,000 on the show – he started to have doubts about their guilt.

Plaskett, who wrote the book Bad Show: The Quiz, The Cough, The Millionaire Major, argues that the coughs were caused by unconscious triggers rather than a planned plot.

Chris Tarrant (played by Michael Sheen)

Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant in Quiz ITV

Although Tarrant had been a household name since the 1970s thanks to his work on shows such as Tiswas and his radio career on Capital FM, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was by far the biggest moment of his career.

Hosting the show for 30 series across 16 years, Tarrant’s quirky presenting style was part of the show’s appeal as he wrung out incredible tension and drama whenever a contestant seemed unsure of their final answer, while simultaneously encouraging them as they inched towards the seven-figure jackpot.

He hosted several more big money quizzes such as The Great Pretender in 2007 and The Colour of Money in 2009, but neither matched Millionaire’s success. In recent years he has focused on documentary films such as Extreme Railways and World’s Busiest Train Stations for Channel 5.

Tarrant still believes that the Ingrams were guilty and said that the least credible part of Quiz was the doubt it cast over the court verdict.

Paul Smith (played by Mark Bonnar) and David Briggs (Elliot Levey)

Mark Bonnar and Elliot Levey as Paul Smith and David Briggs in Quiz ITV

The biggest winners in the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? story were the game show’s creators, including Paul Smith and David Briggs.

The production company Celador became a global player off the back of the show’s success and in 2008 they produced the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, which told the fictional story of a contestant on the Indian version of the show who was suspected of cheating his way to the jackpot.

David Briggs, who developed the idea with Mike Whitehill and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, went on to work on other quiz shows including The National Lottery Winning Lines, Britain's Brainiest and The People Versus.

Paddy Spooner (played by Jeremy Killick)

One of the most fascinating characters in Quiz is the mysterious Paddy Spooner.

He features in serial quizzer and former contestant James Plaskett’s book about the series and the Ingrams. Plaskett claims Spooner’s ‘syndicate’ were well known on internet forums as ‘Spooner’s People’, offering advice to aspiring contestants.

Former Millionaire contestant James Sorrie told the Daily Mail that he met Spooner on a number of occasions, but turned down the offer of his services.

“Sometimes they’d even phone me up while the programme was being recorded, saying they’d just got another one of their people into the chair and made lots of money. They’d be in a party mood because of the winnings they’d brought in,” said Sorrie.

According to the Mail, Paddy Spooner and Paul Smith met last year for lunch to talk about what really happened with the Millionaire syndicate.

Tecwen Whittock (played by Michael Jibson)

Michael Jibson as Tecwen Whittock in Quiz ITV

The Ingrams achieved a low level of success off the back of their Millionaire infamy, but Tecwen Whittock, who was found guilty of being their accomplice, disappeared from the public eye.

He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and £25,000 fine.

The former lecturer set up his own website after the scandal, offering “interesting and humourous anecdotes” on the after-dinner speaking circuit.

Actor Michael Jibson confirmed to BT TV that Whittock's son had visited the set of Quiz during filming.

David Liddiment (played by Risteard Cooper)

Risteard Cooper as David Liddiment in Quiz ITV

David Liddiment’s time as director of programmes and channels at ITV coincided with the launch of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

His TV career also included commissioning Pop Idol, Men Behaving Badly and working as an executive producer on Coronation Street from 1987 to 1991.

After leaving ITV he went on win a Gold Medal from the Royal Television Society, was appointed a founding member of the BBC Trust and in 2015, became a non-executive director at FremantleMedia.

Writing in Broadcast, he was very complimentary about Quiz.

Although he said some of the details weren’t entirely true, he argued that "to judge this mini-series through the filter of factual accuracy is to miss the point”.

He added: “The writing is beautifully detailed and brought to life by a brilliant understated performance from Matthew Macfadyen”.

Claudia Rozencrantz (played by Aisling Bea)

Aisling Bea as Claudia Rozencrantz as Aisling Bea in Quiz ITV

ITV’s Controller of Entertainment from 1995 to 2005 is celebrated as one of the most successful TV executives of all time, and helped turn Ant and Dec from kids' TV stars into the biggest TV personalities in the UK.

During her time at ITV, she helped launch Pop Idol, I’m a Celebrity, the X Factor, Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent.

Under her watch, ITV had a light entertainment renaissance and notched up some of the biggest TV ratings hits of the last 30 years.

After leaving ITV, Rosencrantz went to work for Living TV Group and then the Jamie Oliver Media Group, where she worked as CEO during the TV chef’s successful Sugar Rush campaign.

In 2018, she set up Studio 1, which commissioned Dame Edna Rules the Waves for BBC One.

Quiz concludes on Wednesday, April 15 at 9pm on ITV.

Catch up on Quiz on the ITV Hub.

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