Cough analysis 'raises doubts' over Millionaire couple's guilt

Charles and Diana Ingram. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA

Laura Harding

New analysis of the coughing at the heart of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal will cast doubt on the convictions of Charles and Diana Ingram, their lawyers have claimed.

The couple, along with Tecwen Whittock, were found guilty of using an elaborate scheme to cheat their way to the £1m (€1.15m) top prize during a high-profile trial in 2003. All three denied the charge.

The incident is the subject of the current ITV three-part drama Quiz, scripted by Brexit: An Uncivil War writer James Graham and starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as the Ingrams and Michael Sheen as show host Chris Tarrant.

As shown in the second episode, the Ingrams' joy at winning was short-lived and suspicions were raised almost immediately.

They were both handed suspended jail terms, while Whittock, a college lecturer from Cardiff, was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and a fine.

However, lawyers for the Ingrams are working on the submission of legal arguments to the Court of Appeal in London before the end of the year.

Actor Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant

Rhona Friedman, their criminal defence solicitor, argues that technological advances mean new analysis of the coughs that tipped off Ingram to the right answer will cast doubt on the safety of their convictions.

The Ingrams' legal team claim it is now possible to identify other coughs made by Whittock, as well as other members of the audience who could equally have been said to have been coughing at significant moments in the recording.

They also claim a recent investigation shows the integrity of the audio evidence of coughing given to the jury at trial may have been compromised.

While the Ingrams avoided jail, they were publicly ridiculed and continue to be notorious for the crime.

Actors Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as the couple in Quiz. Photo: Matt Frost/ITV/AMC

Despite this, they still appear on TV.


Charles Ingram starred on Channel 4's The Games in 2004, alongside other celebrity guests including Linda Lusardi and Boyzone singer Shane Lynch.

In 2006, they appeared as a couple on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link.

The Ingrams also appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, with Big Brother's Jade Goody and her then-partner Jeff Brazier.

Despite their flirtations with celebrity, the Ingrams reportedly declared themselves bankrupt for a fourth time last year.

The couple now live in Bath and sell custom jewellery.