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Charles Ingram

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Charles Ingram and his wife Diana

Charles Ingram appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire UK on shows scheduled for broadcast on September 15-18, 2001. He won a million pounds, however it was later discovered that he cheated his way there.

Night 1Edit

On the first night of his game, when he got into the hot seat, he got through the first four questions without using any lifelines. On the fifth question, he still didn't use a lifeline, but took a while to answer. On both questions 6 and 7, he used a lifeline on each of them. He used two of his lifelines early on. After 7 questions, he won £4,000 but then the show ran out of time, so he had to return the next day to continue.

After the ShowEdit

Having watched and recorded several episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, the Millionaire team thought that if you used two of your lifelines by the end of the night, you've usually struggled up to that point and you're expected to last only a couple of questions and be gone. The host Chris Tarrant thought that Charles chances of winning £32,000 were the chances of going to the moon in a rocket. Since he only had one lifeline left Chris expected Charles to get to £16,000 and be on his way. He was in for a big suprise...

Meanwhile, Charles and his wife Diana Ingram, who accompanied Charles in the audience called one of the Fastest Finger Contestants. Tecwen Whittock, who would appear on the next show that night. It is here, it is alleged, where Tecwen joins the Ingram's scam to cheat to the million, and this is where the "Major Fraud" begins. Diana Ingram later claimed she alone had spoken with him and purely to wish him good luck

Night 2Edit

On the next night, before starting the game, Chris asks Charles if he has a strategy. Charles said that he was a little defensive on the last show so he's going on the counter-attack. But what everyone doesen't know is that his real strategy is to cheat. On nearly every question that night he would try to say all four choices by giving a humourous comment on each of them. Then Tecwen, who's the FFC seat right behind Charles, coughs immediately after Charles says the correct answer. After the first question of the night (£8,000) some of the millionaire team are starting to think there's something strange going on. They expected him to struggle, but he seemed to be doing fine. During the later questions, Charles chooses to play it safe and check around all the answers multiple times leading to more constant coughing from Tecwen. After passing the £32,000 mark, he obviously had the option to walk away with what he had, but he had his eyes on the bigger prize and greed took over. As they got closer to the million, Tecwen's coughing draws attention not only from the millionaire team, but the FFC's as well. Larry Whitehurst, Tom Lucy and Robert Bryndges noticed that when Tecwen coughed, he made a really loud one. If they were coughing, they wouldn't want anyone to hear it and they would try to keep it silent, so they knew he was coughing loudly for a reason. They noticed during the £500,000 question that he semed to cough only after the answer that was correct. They wondered, "Is this guy giving Charles the answers?" They decide to pay attention to Tecwen during the million pound question. They knew the answer to the question before the four choices came up, so they were really able to focus on Tecwen. Of course, they didn't want him to cough otherwise they knew he was cheating, but they wanted him to cough to know that they're right. After Charles says the right answer, they hear Tecwen cough and they got him. As the show went to commercial after Charles guessed, the millionaire team were sure something was wrong and they thought they should stop the recording. But the director said no and they had to just finish the recording and worry about Charles cheating later. After coming back on the air, Charles is declared a millionaire and the most amazing contestant they ever, ever had. Everyone applaudes except for Larry, who knew he was cheating. He was disappointed in the applauding and wondered if he was the only one there who knew Charles' cheated, but he wasn't. Tom and Robert, were just as unimpressed. After Charles and Diana walk off the set, they hugged. Then the team searched Charles for any devices but came up empty handed. The Ingrams then go to their dressing room. But instead of celebrating, they have a huge quarrel. The millionaire team heard arguing was going on and were now 100% sure something was up. Apparently, Diana who organized the scam only wanted to make it to £64,000 and leave so they would have less of a chance of getting caught. The millionaire team also thought if the two wanted to escape scot-free without getting caught, they should've stopped at £125,000. But greed took control of Charles and he carried on to the million. The team knew that since they won a million, they should've been happy, but they're not. The team knew something was wrong, but couldn't make out what, so they had to finish the recording before searching for evidence of cheating. While the Ingrams were arguing, Tecwen Whittock made it to the hot seat, immediately after Charles. He had availed himself of the chance to drink several glasses of water in the brief break and as a consequence his cough was now gone and he was fine. Tecwen didn't last long though. He got the £4,000 question right, but the £8,000 one wrong, so he left with £1,000, and that's when the show ended.

After the show (again)Edit

the show was over, the team started searching for evidence. They took all the tapes from the cameras and put them all up on a screen. Before long, they noticed that all the coughs were linked to the questions and finally figured out what was going on.

The following week, Charles received a call from Celador Productions. He was told that there were suspicions of the activities he took part in during the recording and the suspicions were referred to the police. Therefore they wouldn't be airing the show or rewarding him with his cheque. Charles obviously said he wasn't doing anything suspicious and said goodbye. During the phone call, Charles didn't feel upset at all. He just said thanks for telling him and hung up. What the millionaire team was telling him (that he cheated them of a million pounds) expected an upset reaction.

The trialEdit

With that, the game was up, for Charles, Diana and Tecwen. They had no other choice but to resort to one idea: they didn't do it. Charles said he swore that he did not cheat and he didn't recall hearing any coughing. Diana claims she never met Tecwen, but throughout the night, she was looking in his direction. The jury was shown the tape of Charles's million pound run and heard all of Tecwen Whittock's coughs in isolation better than one could hear it in a broadcast. The jury found the trio guilty and the judge said to give up any hopes that they were entitled to the million.

Trial aftermathEdit

The Ingrams were both sentenced to 18 months in prison while Tecwen was sentenced to 12. The sentences were all suspended, something which surprised many people in view of the amount of money involved. The Ingrams had to pay total court fees of £115,000 rather than receieve the million pounds. The trio appeared on one talk show after another and their story remained the same. They didn't do it. Their reputations were ruined. They risked everything to cheat to a million and lost it all. Charles now repairs computers for a living. Robert Brydges, one of the Fastest Finger Contestants who caught Charles red-handed, started writing a book called The Third Millionaire after he, two weeks later, indeed became the show´s true third millionaire.

Months after the recording, Charles run was finally aired along with a couple of interviews from the team with Chris Tarrant as the host. A documentary was also aired called Who Wants to be a Millionaire Major Fraud, featuring Charles run to the million, interviews from the team and FFC's who suspected cheating and the coughs in isolation just like the jury heard them at the trial. The documentary was followed up by a special called The Final Answer, where it was announced that Celador Productions, the company that made Who Wants to be a Millionaire UK, plan to make a movie based on the fraud called Millionaire: The Movie, but over a decade has passed since the Major Fraud and the movie has not yet been seen. Since 2004 James Plaskett has been arguing with author Bob Woffinden in favour of innocence for all 3 of them. His first essay being called 'Is The Coughing Major Innocent?'

Charles QuestionsEdit

Bolded answers are correct.

Night 1: Since Tecwen Whittock wasn't an FFC on this night, there was no cheating.

100 pounds Q: On which of these would you air laundry?

A: Clothes dog B: Clothes horse C: Clothes rabbit D: Clothes pig

200 pounds Q: What name is given to a person who is against increasing the powers of the European Union?

A: Euro-sceptic B: Eurostar C: Eurotrash D: Eurovision

300 pounds Q: What is butterscotch?

A: Shortbread B: Pavement game C: Garden flower D: Brittle toffee

500 pounds Q: Which of these is the nickname for a famous Scottish army regiment?

A: Black Cat B: Black Widow C: Black Sea D: Black Watch

1,000 pounds Q: The Normans, who invaded and conquered England in 1066, spoke which language?

A: German B: Norwegian C: French D: Danish

2,000 pounds Q: In 'Coronation Street', who is Audrey's daughter?

A: Janice B: Gail C: Linda D: Sally

  • On this question, Charles asked the audience. 89% said Gail so he agreed with the audience.

4,000 pounds Q: The River Foyle is found in which part of the United Kindom?

A: England B: Scotland C: Northern Ireland D: Wales

  • On this question, Charles calls his friend Gerald for help. Gerald says he is 99% sure that it's Northern Ireland so Charles agrees with him.

Night 2Edit

This is where Tecwen Whittock joins in and helps Charles cheat

£8,000 Q: Who was the second husband of Jacqueline Kennedy?

A: Adnan Khashoggi B: Ronald Reagan C: Aristotle Onassis D: Rupert Murdoch

  • Charles immediately thinks it's Aristotle Onassis, and Tecwen coughs immediately after Charles says his name. After two coughs, Charles is confident.

£16,000 Q: Emmenthal is a cheese from which country?

A: France B:Italy C: Netherlands D: Switzerland

*This is the only question of the night that Charles knew the answer to without getting help from Tecwen.

£32,000 Q: Who had a hit UK album with 'Born To Do It', released in 2000?

A: Coldplay B: Toploader C: A1 D: Craig David

  • On this question, Charles doesn't know the answer, and neither does Tecwen, so the plan is out the window. Charles uses the 50:50 and is left with A1 and Craig David. Charles needed help, but none was coming. Knowing that her every move was being recorded, Diana Ingram, who was in the audience, took a huge gamble and coughed twice, hinting that the second answer is correct. After beleiving for a long time that it was A1, Charles changes his mind and goes with Craig David.

£64,000 Q: Gentlemen v Players was an annual match between amateurs and professionals of which sport?

A: Lawn tennis B: Rugby Union C: Polo D: Cricket

  • As the cheats play for more money, the coughs become more constant. Charles checks all the answers and two coughs from Tecwen tells Charles it`s Cricket.

£125,000 Q: 'The Ambassadors', in the National Gallery, is a painting by which artist?

A: Van Eyck B: Holbein C: Michelangelo D: Rembrandt

  • It takes two coughs from Tecwen for Charles to be certain that it`s Holbein. At this point, the gaps between Tecwen's coughing and Charles being certain of an answer are becoming shorter. The team believed that if Charles chose to walk away now, they wouldn't have caught him, because they wouldn't have lots of evidence that he was cheating. If Charles chose to go higher, which he did, chances are a lot more coughs would be caught on tape and therefore a lot more evidence for the millionaire team. So far, Tecwen didn't cough lots of times, but he would start coughing a lot more constantly as greed takes over and Charles chooses to keep going.

£250,000 Q: What type of garment is an Anthony Eden?

A: Overcoat B: Hat C: Shoe D: Tie

  • This is another question where Tecwen doesen't know the answer, so he decides to ask one of the Fastest Finger Contestants next to him if he knew. The contestant Tecwen asked was Tom Lucy, who started becoming suspcious after Tecwen asked him. Tom thought that Tecwen turned towards him and asked him just for something to say, but once he made it to the million, Tom knew what was going on for sure.

Tom/Tecwen conversation caught on tape:

Tecwen: What's that?

Tom: It's a hat.

Tecwen: That's what I thought.

Tom: Geez...I wish I was up there.

Tecwen: You ever worn one of them?

Tom: I haven't but Anthony Eden wore them - very popular in his days.

Armed with the answer, Tecwen was ready. On this question, it took three coughs this time instead of two for Charles to choose hat. At this point, the two men are starting to over do it.

£500,000 Q: Baron Haussmann is best known for his planning of which city?

A: Rome B: Paris C: Berlin D: Athens

  • On this question, Charles nearly blows the scam. Right off the bat, he thinks it's Berlin, but it's not. He forgets to slowly say all the answers and doesen't give Tecwen a chance to help. Tecwen then takes a huge risk and coughs, but then loudly whispers 'No!'. He broke the code by creating a signal that means the answer Charles is saying isn't right. But Charles continues to think it's Berlin, so Tecwen makes a new signal which is a nose-blow, trying to tell Charles that it's the all-stop signal. When Charles rules out Paris, Tecwen coughs hinting that it's correct and Charles is stopped mid-sentence. Charles once again thinks it's Berlin and Tecwen does his all-stop signal. All the noise Tecwen was making started drawing the attention of Larry Whitehurst and started to wonder if he was sending Charles a signal. Larry listens carefully as Charles checks around all the answers and when he says Paris, he hears Tecwen cough, making Larry suspicious. After saying Paris two more times, and two more coughs from Tecwen, Charles finally goes swith Paris. This makes a total of four coughs and two nose-blows in a single question, and nobody is aware that Charles is cheating except for Tom and Larry.

£1 MILLION Q: A number one followed by one hundred zeros is known by what name?

A: Googol B: Megatron C: Gigabit D: Nanomole

  • Larry knew the answers before the four choices came up, so he was really able to eavesdrop on the private conversation between Charles and Tecwen. Tecwen once again asks Tom what he thinks it is.

Tom: It's a Googol.

Tecwen: That's what I thought.

Tecwen now has the million pound answer. Charles is thinking Nanomole. He said that he never heard of a Googol, but Tecwen has, so he coughs. Larry is waiting for Tecwen to cough after Charles says Googol. As soon as Charles does, Tecwen coughs and Larry has them red-handed. At the same time, Larry doesen't want him to cough, but he does because he wants to know that his suspicion is right. He visits all the answers again to check with Tecwen. Although he never heard of a Googol, he`s actually thinking it is even though he just thought it was a Nanomole. As he says Googol again, Tecwen coughs a second time. Chris Tarrant reminds him that he's going for the one he never heard of, just because he never heard of it (Wow, what an odd sentence). Charles checks all the answers a third time and on Googol, Tecwen delivers. After saying Googol one last time, Charles finally plays a Googol. Charles asks Chris not to go for a break, but he does. After coming back, Chris recaps exactly how Charles approached the million pound question. He tore up the check for £500,000...and announced that he just won a million pounds and said he was the most amazing contestant they've ever had...that is, until they dicovered he cheated.

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