Of course, whether the Ingrams and Whittock are truly guilty of cheating is still being debated. Some make the case that “Millionaire” producers simply did not want to “cough” up the £1,000,000. There is a reason why “Slumdog Millionaire” was an incredible box-office hit. Actually, as boring as it sounds, a credible box-office hit. The producers were accused of tweaking the sounds to make Whittock’s cough more noticeable than they were.
Also, there were mentions of other previous “Millionaire” winners like Judith Keppel where audience members also coughed during the events of her episode. While the truth remains unknown, one thing we can assure you is that Whittock’s coughing didn’t help Ingram during his line of questioning in court. That lifeline had certainly expired.
The Producers Have to Pay Up
This point made the defense’s case stronger. If Whittock was such a genius and knew all the answers to Charles Ingram’s final round of questions, why didn’t he just win the £1,000,000 relying on his intelligence? This would have been fair play. Another point bolstering the defense’s case is the question of the original airing. As stated, the original episode wasn’t aired. Only two years later was it released to the public.
The production and technical crew could have gone through the recording and simply highlighted Whittock’s coughing – among all the other noises – to be used to strengthen their case against Whittock and the Ingrams. Even Tarrant admitted to not hearing the coughing during the live show. The producers had to “cough” up £1,000,000.
The prosecution, however, won in the end. Diana Ingram’s initial coughing during the £32,000 question seemed to be the catalyst for Whittock’s own coughing owing to his allergies. Furthermore, when the production and technical crew reviewed the recording, it became clear as light that coughing seemed to be the modus operandi for the thieving three’s route to winning the £1,000,000.
Not only could a cough clearly be heard every time Ingram voiced the right answer, but it showed a change in Ingram’s demeanor – his supposed positive demeanor that miraculously brought about his incredible win. And incredible it was – especially for the producers, for they gave no credibility whatsoever to the trio.
A Revisit from the Show’s Former Ghost
Early we mentioned that Major Ingram and co. love trivia quiz shows. You might think that after the enormous scandal, having to go to trial, and the subsequent disgrace the family suffered, the Ingrams would call it quits on quiz shows. That hasn’t been the case. The Ingrams have appeared on quiz shows such as “The Games,” “Wife Swap,” and “The Weakest Link.” We have to give the former major and his wife credit here.
“The Weakest Link” presenter, Anne Robinson has been known as a formidable and unapologetic host. She’s not afraid to give contestants a bit of lip and a contestant such as Ingrams would make easy targets. Nonetheless, the Ingrams made appearances on the show for the celebrity couple edition and were voted out fourth.
It’s not all bad news for the Ingrams. In their own right, the couple became celebrities. With such a profound love for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and the coughing scandal, not only were the Ingrams an easy target for jokes but for money-making schemes. In 2015, the book “Bad Show: The Quiz, The Cough, The Millionaire Major” was published by an investigative journalist, Bob Woffindin, and oddly a former grandmaster chess player, James Plaskett.
The play “Quiz” was held at the Minerva Theatre in Grichester. The play enjoyed a month’s airplay – which was much longer than the original airing of the “Millionaire” episode. In 2020, the play was adapted for TV and had success in the UK, the USA, and Ireland only to Ingram’s further embarrassment.