Back in the early Noughties, the popular gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was rocked by a throughly English heist — and it all started with a cough. Now ITV are dramatising the crime and the ensuing court case, with an all-star cast including Matthew Macfadyen and Michael Sheen.
Here’s everything you need to know about Quiz…
What time is Quiz on TV?
Cast member Michael Sheen (The Queen, Good Omens) posted an image from filming, of himself in character as gameshow host Chris Tarrant (complete with a strawberry blonde wig), in August 2019, so it seems likely that the series won’t air until 2020.
What is Quiz about?
The three-part series, written by James Graham and based on his play of the same name, is a dramatisation of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s infamous coughing scandal. To recap, in the early 2000s, Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diana and accomplice Tecwen Whittock managed to dupe the gameshow’s audience, executives and host Chris Tarrant and cheat their way to winning one million pounds.
The Ingrams were later found guilty of “procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception” in 2003, and were given two years suspended sentences and asked to pay £115,000 (including legal fees), after the prosecution suggested that Diana and Whittock helped Charles win by coughing to indicate the correct answers.
The real Charles Ingram and his wife Diane make a statement outside Court on November 21, 2003 (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
“I was gripped by this story over 15 years ago, and I’m still gripped now,” Graham said. “It’s a very English heist. Putting it onto stage at Chichester and the West End was such a lot of fun, and with a new team we now get to re-imagine the whole story afresh for television.
“I have to pay credit to the late investigative journalist Bob Woffinden, who along with James Plaskett wrote the book Bad Show that kicked the whole creative process off by asking the question – what if the Major is innocent?”
ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill, who commissioned the series, said: “I am delighted to be bringing James Graham’s wonderful play Quiz to screen on ITV. It’s testament to James’ brilliant scripts that Stephen Frears is directing, which together with Left Bank Pictures producing, promises to deliver a very special drama.
“It’s an extraordinary and thoroughly British story and is going to be a real treat for our audience.”
Who stars in Quiz?
Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street, Succession) will play Major Charles Ingram, while Fleabag star Sian Clifford will portray Diana.
Good Omens star Michael Sheen plays host Chris Tarrant, while Peaky Blinders favourite Helen McCrory stars as Sonia Woodley QC.
Fans got a first glimpse of Sheen as the quizmaster in November, complete with his strawberry blonde hair.
Also joining the cast are Mark Bonnar (Humans), Michael Jibson (Les Miserables) and Aisling Bea (This Way Up), portraying Celador’s Television Chairman Paul Smith, Whittock and ITV Entertainment Commissioner Claudia Rosencrantz respectively.