Who would have thought that a fraud scandal that shocked the entire nation would erupt in a live quiz that rewards millions of dollars in prizes for the winners? Well, such a thing actually happened two decades ago. The scandal took place in 2001 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?, a British reality TV show on ITV. Major Charles William Ingram and his wife, along with another person, attempted to dupe the reality show. So, let’s find out the real story behind what the Major Charles Cheating Scandal is all about? How did he cheat on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The episode of the show in which the cheating scandal took place was never aired. However, all three got caught. The scandal is also known as the Cough Scandal in which Charles made his way to the £ 1million prize. The same scandal became popular again last year after the Quiz drama aired on ITV. The drama portrays the whole Ingrams cough scandal. Matthew McFayden, Sian Clifford and Michael Sheen played the roles of Charles Ingram, Diana Ingram and host Chris Tarrant respectively.

Major Charles Ingram: What’s his cheating scandal?

Major Charles’ cheating scandal took place in September 2001. He won the £ 1million jackpot on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? to the amazement of the studio audience. Chris Tarrant, the show’s host, ecstatically announced that he had won the £ 1million after the former British Army major correctly answered his consecutive fifteen-number quiz question. The same announcement also brought joy to Ingram and buried his head in his hands after screaming.

Charles Ingram and his wife Diane Ingram

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Plus, Chris congratulated him and hugged him on stage while saying he was the most amazing contestant they’ve ever had. The announcement also shocked his wife, Diane, who was watching the crowd. However, it didn’t take long for the couple to lose their fame as they were soon discovered cheating. Charles and his wife were accused of cheating hours after winning the same. They were even arrested in November 2001 for the same reason. The court even found them guilty. But, the couple still claim their innocence, claiming that they did not cheat. The new series, Quiz, also dramatized the scandal in 2020 on ITV.

Major Charles Ingram: How Did He Cheat Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Major Charles Ingram who cheated on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was unique. Moreover, Charles and his wife had been trying since the beginning of the year to register and win the show. He qualified for the preliminary round, Fastest Finger First, on his first attempt in January 2001. But, he did not win in the same. He and Diana entered the series again three months later in the couple’s version of the series. But, they were again disqualified in the preliminary round only. Diana later won £ 32,000 solo in April 2001.

Charles finally made it through the prelims in September with 3.97 seconds. However, Charles struggled in his first five questions after getting past the preliminary round. He has already used two of his lifebuoys; ask the audience and phone a friend on the first seven questions for the £ 2,000 and £ 4,000 questions. Later, the show’s producers thought, he wouldn’t go any further on day two and win. However, Charles and Diana hatched a plan that night to win with Tecwen Whittock. He was the first in the Fastest Finger line-up for the next day’s shoot.

They had expected Whittock to cough for the correct answer when Ingram read the options given to the questions. Charles answered the first five questions correctly. He used lifelines for the sixth and seventh answers. Then Whittock’s cough started from the eighth question. Charles himself answered the ninth question correctly. He used the 50/50 lifeline for the tenth question. However, Diana coughed it up on the tenth question as well. The rest of the questions Charles answered from Whittock’s cough or double cough to the correct answer. Suspicions for their cheating emerged after some people sent the same message to the show. The producers and host replayed and discovered the couple had cheated throughout the game.

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