In September 2001, an episode of Chris Tarrant’s ITV quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was filmed – and it fundamentally changed the lives of many of the people involved. That’s not just because Major Charles Ingram won the £1 million prize, but because the “Coughing Major” was then accused and convicted of cheating: of working with wife Diana Ingram and accomplice Tecwen Whittock to game the system.
But what happened after the headline-grabbing court case wrapped up in 2003? Here’s what we know…
Where are Charles and Diana Ingram now?
Charles and Diana Ingram (played by Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford) were found guilty in April 2003. They were each fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs, and were sentenced to 18 months in jail – suspended for two years.
The couple, who have three children, have always maintained their innocence. But the years since their conviction have been a rough ride.
Quiz writer James Graham told us: “They lost their reputation, the Major was kicked out of the army, they went bankrupt I think – I think now they’ve been made bankrupt four times.”
And Sian Clifford, who plays Diana, added: “You don’t need to dig very deep to find out what happened to them. I mean, they were persecuted and harassed by the press but also by the public, their pet animals were all attacked, their dog was killed, I mean it’s pretty gruesome. Their children were bullied so much they had take them out of school.”
Things were difficult in the years after the trial, with Major Charles Ingram losing his army job.
For whatever reason, the couple quickly signed up for a rash of TV and reality show appearances: in 2003 they did Celebrity Wife Swap, followed by Hell’s Kitchen, Celebrity Poker Club, and Celebrity Fear Factor UK.
The last time they were seen on screen was in a 2006 “Celebrity Couples Edition” of The Weakest Link. That same year, Charles told Jon Ronson by email that “we are in desperate straits.”
Nowadays, Diana makes and sells jewellery at local markets and online. She writes on her website: “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.”
What did Tecwen Whittock do next?
Father-of-four Tecwen Whittock was 53 when he was convicted for his role in the ‘conspiracy’. He received a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £10,000 with £7,500 costs.
Whittock (played in the drama by Michael Jibson) was a business lecturer who had worked at Pontypridd College in Wales for 25 years, but thanks to the scandal he was facing a disciplinary hearing – and quit his job before the meeting took place.
In 2003, after putting his house up for sale, he said: “I could sit here for the next year or two quite easily without any money problems. But my pension is not due to start until I am 60 and obviously I have got to find alternative sources of income until then.
“If I wanted to I could go and sign on unemployed, but I have worked since I left university and I have never been unemployed. I am doing various things including after-dinner speaking and writing a book, because obviously there is my side of the story to tell.”
Whittock did not go on to publish a book, and it’s very hard to find any recent information. He would be around 70 years old now.
What has Chris Tarrant done since?
Chris Tarrant (played in the drama by Michael Sheen) continued to present Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? until the quiz show ended in 2014. It was revived in 2018, but this time with Jeremy Clarkson as host.
In recent years, the 73-year-old has presented a variety of TV shows about railways include the documentary series Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways – the latest editions of which are The Train in Spain and Conquering the Alps. He also continues to appear as a guest on TV chat shows and radio talk shows.
This article was originally published on 9 April 2020