FEMAIL reveals where 'Coughing Major' Charles and Diana Ingram are now

As new drama Quiz puts the Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal back in the spotlight, FEMAIL reveals the VERY different fortunes of the real-life characters, from after dinner speaking to bankruptcy

  • ITV’s drama Quiz has thrown Charles and Diana Ingram back into the spotlight 
  • Army major was convicted, alongside his wife, of cheating his way into winning 
  • But where are they now and what happened to the other players in the scandal 

ITV’s latest primetime programme, Quiz, which dramatises Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s famous coughing scandal, has thrown Charles and Diana Ingram back into the spotlight.

The army major was convicted, alongside his wife, of cheating his way into winning £1million on the popular British quiz show in 2003, and both were given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years for cheating and fined £15,000 apiece. 

The pair cheated their way to the win assisted by a secret syndicate of quizzers who would help contestants on the show, including alleged co-conspirator Tecwen Whittock and Paddy Spooner.

Here, FEMAIL reveals how Charles and Diana have recently declared bankruptcy for the fourth time, and now sell handmade jewellery in Bath, while Paddy lives in a £750,000 detached house just yards from the beach on the South coast. 

Charles and Diana Ingram (played by Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford)


Charles Ingram (pictured earlier this month, left) and his wife Diana, who notoriously conned their way to win the £1million prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, are now flogging jewellery on a market stall. Pictured right: Matthew Macfadyen as Charles

Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, who notoriously conned their way to win the £1million prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, are now flogging jewellery on a market stall.

The war veteran became known as the ‘Coughing Major’ when he sensationally cheated his way to the jackpot in 2001 with the help of another contestant and his wife, who coughed when the correct multiple-choice answers were read out.

But the winning cheque was taken off him before it was cashed and he was subsequently convicted – along with his wife – of deception.

He and Diana were given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years for cheating and fined £15,000 apiece. 


Now, the couple live in Bath and continue to sell handmade jewellery created using ‘Murano glass beads, Swarovski crystals, seawater and freshwater pearls or crystals’, according to Diana’s (pictured left recently) website. Pictured right: Sian Clifford as Diana in Quiz

Ingram later persuaded magistrates to cut his fine to £5,000, while his wife had her fine quashed on appeal, but he was forced to resign his commission by the Army Board

In the same year, Ingram was convicted of an unrelated insurance fraud, which took before the recording of the episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, when he made a claim for an alleged burglary at his home. 

Despite their legal woes, the Ingrams continued to live comfortably in an 18th Century rented cottage in a leafy close in Westbury, Wiltshire.

They also still managed to send their three daughters to boarding school at Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire – which charges £10,000 a term – after the scandal. 

In 2016, Charles (pictured) was spotted at a market in Somerset selling his wife Diana’s homemade glass brooches and necklaces for as little as £5

For the first couple of years following their scandal, the husband and wife duo boasted surprisingly successful TV personality careers.

They appeared on The Weakest Link, Hell’s Kitchen, Celebrity Poker Club, Celebrity Fear Factor UK and Wife Swap. 

But, the father-of-three – complained he could not find work because of the notoriety of the case, and was plagued by neighbours teasing him by coughing behind his back wherever he went in Wiltshire. 

Yet because of legal fees and fines, in 2019, the couple declared bankruptcy for a fourth time.

In 2016, Charles was spotted at a market in Somerset selling his wife Diana’s homemade glass brooches and necklaces for as little as £5. 

Now, they live in Bath and continue to sell handmade jewellery created using ‘Murano glass beads, Swarovski crystals, seawater and freshwater pearls or crystals’, according to Diana’s website. 

The couple were involved in the creation of the three-part series, and spoke with writer James Graham throughout the production’s development and even met the cast on set. 

Tecwen Whittock (played by Michael Jibson)


Tecwen Whittock (pictured left, in 2003), a college lecturer from South Wales, was convicted of helping Charles cheat his way to the winnings. He is played in the drama by Michael Jibson (pictured right)

Tecwen Whittock, a business studies lecturer from South Wales, was convicted of helping Charles cheat his way to the winnings.

The show’s production crew believed the fellow contestant and game show devotee had been in league with Charles by coughing loudly from elsewhere in the studio to indicate the correct answer. 

It was suggested that pagers and mobile phones had been used, and that Diana was involved too. Tecwen was given a suspended sentence of twelve months and fined £25,000.

After the trial at Southwark Crown Court in 2003, Tecwen quit his job at Pontypridd College ahead of a formal disciplinary hearing, and reportedly had to sell his home to pay fines and costs from the trial.

Whittock, appeared on Channel 4’s Richard and Judy show, where he claimed he’d decided to resign before being sacked. 

‘Even in my own mind, I would know that with a charge of deception and cheating there’s no way I could now be teaching youngsters in education,’ he said. 

Despite his conviction, he continued to protest his innocence, and said the case had been ‘torture’ for his family.   

‘A big problem is that this tape with this notorious soundtrack, which is basically put together by experts, was used against us in an unfair manner,’ he said.  

Now 70-years-old, he is assumed to be retired after reportedly trying to have a career as an after dinner speaker.  

His now abandoned website said he would occupy audiences with ‘very interesting and humorous anecdotes’ from his part in the scandal, 

‘Tecwen is available for any occasions which require a speaker in the UK or abroad. He is a qualified teacher and has many years of experience in speaking to groups of people,’ it read. 

It offered two types of speech – one dealing with the cheating scandal for a general audience, or a talk on the theme of coping with change for business audiences.  

It’s not known whether his public speaking career ever took off, and while his son visited the set of Quiz during filming, Tecwen now tries to stay out of the public spotlight.

Paddy Spooner (played by Jerry Killick) 


Paddy Spooner, 53, (pictured in 2000, left) is portrayed in Quiz by Jerry Killick (pictured right). In ITV’s drama, he has been shown as the mastermind behind a syndicate that arranged to have their ‘members’ on the quiz show and provide them with answers by exploiting the ‘Phone A Friend’ option

Paddy Spooner, 53, appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in three different countries – in London and before that in Australia (where he scooped £100,000) and Ireland (£1,000).

In ITV’s drama, he is portrayed as the mastermind behind a syndicate that arranged to have their ‘members’ on the quiz show and provide them with answers by exploiting the ‘Phone A Friend’ option. 

Waiting to take the call at the other end of the line were dedicated quizzers who took a cut of the prize money after answering the question correctly.

‘They’d use a speakerphone so they could all hear it,’ explained a member of the quizzing community claiming knowledge of Paddy’s operation.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, they said: ‘Then [they’d] press the mute button while they quickly conferred before unmuting the phone to give the answer as if just one person had come up with it. Reference books were also on hand [Google was still in its infancy].’

Paddy himself did not cheat when he appeared on the show, but the programme producers believe that afterwards, millions of winnings went to the university drop-out and his associates. 

The syndicate leader also prepared his clients for the Fastest Finger First round, practising with buzzers similar to the one on the show.

The round saw numerous contestants asked one question. The first to press the buzzer with the correct answer went through to face quizmaster Chris Tarrant. 

Today, trained computer programmer Paddy, is married and lives in a £750,000 detached house near the beach on the South coast. Parked outside this week was a black Jaguar saloon and a Volvo 4×4.

He did not wish to comment about his past when approached by the Daily Mail.

His syndicate – named The Consortium – was one of several organised groups around the country targeting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.

It was revealed that Paddy helped with Quiz, having given a detailed account of his activities to the head of the production company, who devised the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? format, when they met last year. 

Paddy is adamant he did nothing illegal and he was not convicted in the Ingram case.

Adrian Pollock (played by Trystan Gravelle) 


Adrian Pollock (pictured left) is the brother of former nursery nurse Diana. The businessman and his sister, both huge quiz fans, were obsessed with Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Separately, they ended up in the hot seat winning £32,000 apiece. Pictured right: Trystan Gravelle playing Adrian

Adrian Pollock is the brother of former nursery nurse Diana. 

The businessman and his sister, both huge quiz fans, were obsessed with Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Separately, they ended up in the hot seat winning £32,000 apiece. 

Quiz viewers saw Adrian even build his own Fastest Finger First machine and rack up a staggering phone bill by obsessively applying to be on the quiz show.

Adrian, from the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, finally got the chance to appear opposite Chris Tarrant on December 23, 2000.

He failed to answer the £64,000 question but took home a £32,000 victory. He appeared on the show three times for the first round before finally reaching the final stage. 

Meanwhile, Adrian’s sister claimed in court that the four phone pages she had used during the competition were not to signal her husband but to contact her sibling, who had reportedly disappeared after running up gambling debts.

It is unclear where Adrian is now, or what he is doing. He was not convicted in the Ingram case.

Chris Tarrant (played by Michael Sheen) 


Chris Tarrant (pictured left, yesterday), 73, was the extremely popular presenter of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? from 1998 to 2014. Pictured right: Michael Sheen playing the presenter in Quiz

Chris Tarrant, 73, was the extremely popular presenter of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? from 1998 to 2014.

Since then, he has continued to present both on radio and television, as well as conducting a voice over for the film Johnny English, where he played himself.

Most recently, Chris can be seen on Channel 5 with documentaries about trains, including 2012’s Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways, 2018’s Intercity 25: The Train That Changed Britain and 2019’s World’s Busiest Train Stations. 

Speaking on This Morning in November 2019, Chris said he was pleased Michael Sheen was playing him because he was a ‘good actor’ and said he hoped the drama would not be sympathetic to the Major, who was ‘so guilty’. 

The presenter is currently social distancing at his second home in Berkshire and said yesterday that he was relieved not to be spending the lockdown in London.

 

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