In AMC’s ‘Quiz,’ writer James Graham questions a famous game show scandal

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In AMC’s “Quiz,” Matthew Macfadyen plays Charles Ingram and Sian Clifford plays his wife Diana. The couple was accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2001. Photo credit: Matt Frost/ITV/AMC.

The new TV miniseries “Quiz” was a hit in the UK. Now it’s come to America and is playing on AMC. 

Writer James Graham adapted “Quiz” from his play of the same name. It tells the story of Charles and Diana Ingram, a well-to-do British couple accused of stealing 1 million pounds the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2001. 

Their alleged plot relied on strategic coughs from a contestant-in-waiting who appeared to guide the seemingly hapless Charles to the correct answers. 

In the years since Charles Ingram’s controversial win, the team behind “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” remains convinced of the Ingrams’ guilt, while the couple maintain their innocence. Charles, who was an officer in the British army before the scandal forced him out, was villainized by UK tabloids as “The Coughing Major” (even though he was not the one doing the alleged coughing).  

As a playwright and screenwriter, Graham is a fan of examining culture and current events. He wrote the play “Ink” about Rupert Murdoch and was the screenwriter on the film “Brexit: The Uncivil War.” 

With “Quiz,” Graham says he — along with most of the British public— initially thought the Ingrams were guilty, but explains why he’s since had a change of heart. 

He also talks about how his play “Quiz” inspired a real-life meet-up between the creator of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and the head of a secret organization devoted to rigging the show — and how that meet-up then became a scene in the TV version of “Quiz.”

Credits

Guest:
James Graham - Playwright, screenwriter - @mrJamesGraham

Host:
Kim Masters

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker