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Quiz (play).jpg
Official poster of the 2018 West End production
Written byJames Graham
Date premiered10 November 2017 (2017-11-10)
Place premieredMinerva Theatre, Chichester
Original languageEnglish
Setting2001, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Quiz is a play written by James Graham. Originally commissioned by theatre producer, William Village,[1] it made its world premiere at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester, in November 2017, before transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End in March 2018. The play centres on the true story of Charles Ingram and the coughing scandal that surrounded his 2001 win of £1,000,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.[2] In 2020, the stage play was adapted for a TV series of the same name.


Quiz is written by British playwright James Graham.[2] The play centres around the true story of Charles Ingram (who later came to be known as "the Coughing Major")[3] and the coughing scandal that surrounded his 2001 win of £1,000,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the subsequent court trial.[4]

Charles Ingram, a major in the British Army, entered British quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in September 2001. Suspicions arose during filming after coughing was heard loudly adjacent to the correct answers. A sound technician informed Celador CEO Paul Smith of their suspicions, with filming allowed to continue and the tapes reviewed after filming had completed.[5] Ingram eventually won the million pounds,[5] however upon reviewing the tapes and each cough heard, Ingram was accused of cheating by having his wife, Diana, and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, cough as Ingram announced the correct answer from the available choices.[5][6][7] Ingram "refuted" the claims.[5]

Following trial on 7 April 2003, a jury declared the Ingrams and Whittock guilty of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception.[8] The Ingrams were sentenced to an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of £15,000 plus £10,000 for costs each. Whittock received a 12-month suspended sentence with a £10,000 fine plus a £7,500 costs order.[9]

Graham was a teenager when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? first appeared on British television in 1998[10] and became "fixated" by the subsequent trial and what he describes as the most "British crime in the history of the world."[11] He later received a copy of the 2015 book Bad Show: The Quiz, the Cough, the Millionaire Major.[10] It raised questions about the case and raised the possibility that Ingram was innocent of all charges[12] and forms the basis of which Quiz was adapted.[13] In February 2017,[14] it was announced the play would premiere at the Minerva Theatre, part of the Chichester Festival Theatre.[15] The play is directed by Daniel Evans,[16] with movement direction by Naomi Said,[17] design by Robert Jones,[18] lighting design by Tim Lutkin,[18] video design by Tim Reid[19] and music and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham.[18]



Quiz began previews at the Minerva Theatre, on 3 November 2017, with an official opening night on 10 November,[15] running until 2 December.[20] Due to demand the run was extended to 9 December 2017.[21] Notable casting included Gavin Spokes and Stephanie Street as Charles and Diana Ingram, with Keir Charles playing Chris Tarrant.[22][23]

West End

Following its premiere production the play transferred to the West End's Noël Coward Theatre where it began previews on 31 March 2018, with an official opening night on 10 April, booking for a limited period until 16 June.[24][25] It was produced by William Village, Playful Productions and Chichester Festival Theatre.[26] Sharon Ballard joined the original cast for the London run.[27] Prior to the production transferring around 40% of the play was rewritten by Graham[2] and on stage seating added to provide a more studio like environment for audiences.[28] Explaining the extensive rewrite Graham explained that the changes were:

not because we weren't happy with what happened in Chichester, but you learn so much when you do a tryout for a show, so we streamlined the narrative, I reordered some of the structure, we had to think about a West End proscenium Victorian theatre, which is very different to a studio theatre in Chichester.[2]

The audience are given the opportunity to act as the jury via electronic voting[29] after each act, where they will have witnessed the arguments for the prosecution and the defence to decide whether Ingram was guilty.[30][31]

The West End production was nominated for two Olivier Awards in 2019: Best New Comedy and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Keir Charles).[32]

UK and Ireland tour

Quiz was due to tour the UK and Ireland from August to November 2020;[33] the tour was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TV adaptation

In 2019, filming began on a three-part TV series of the same name for ITV adapted from the play (written by and executive produced by Graham) to air in 2020, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant, Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Ingram, Sian Clifford as Diana Ingram and Michael Jibson as Tecwen Whittock.[34] The series is produced by Alice Pearse, and executive produced by Dan Winch, William Village, James Graham, Stephen Frears and Andy Harries.[35]

Principal roles and original cast

Character Stage play[23][22][36] ITV Drama
Charles Ingram Gavin Spokes Matthew Macfadyen
Diana Ingram Stephanie Street Sian Clifford
Rachel da Costa Sharon Ballard N/A
Nicholas Hilliard QC Paul Bazely Nicholas Woodeson
Quizmaster / John de Mol N/A
Chris Tarrant Keir Charles Michael Sheen
Warm Up / Jim Bowen /
Des O'Connor / Leslie Crowther
Paul Smith Greg Haiste Mark Bonnar
Paddy Spooner Jeremy Killick
Tecwen Whittock Mark Meadows Michael Jibson
Major General Roberts N/A
David Briggs Elliot Levey
Lt Col Village N/A Geoffrey McGivern
Adrian Pollock Henry Pettigrew Trystan Gravelle
Mark Burnett N/A
David Liddiment Jay Villiers Risteard Cooper
Judge Rivlin / DS
Williamson / Elsie Tanner
Claudia Rosencrantz Lizzie Winkler Aisling Bea
Ruth Settle Seraphina Beh
Production Manager / Alyn Morice N/A
Sonia Woodley QC Sarah Woodward Helen McCrory
Hilda Ogden N/A


  1. ^ Village, William. "William Village | Independent theatre producer and general manager". William Village. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Millionaire cough scandal: 'The most British crime of all time'". BBC News. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  3. ^ "15 years since "the Coughing Major"". Vice. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Who Wants to be Millionaire scandal inspires new play: what happened next to the coughing Major?". The Telegraph. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?: Major Fraud". Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. Episode 1. 8 May 2003. ITV. ITV1. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Jonathan Evans (17 January 2015). ""Coughing Major" and his Welsh accomplice, who cheated their way to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? jackpot, release new book claiming innocence". Wales Online. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. ^ "We don't want to give you that, Who Wants to be a Millionaire bosses tell 'cheating major' Charles Ingram". BT. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Bad show: The Quiz, The Cough and the Millionaire Major". Inside Time. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Millionaire trio escape jail". BBC News. 8 April 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b "James Graham interview: the playwright on Quiz, his take on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?". The Times. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  11. ^ "James Graham on why the Quiz scandal is 'the most British crime in history'". Evening Standard. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  12. ^ "From Umbrella Man to the Coughing Major, the truth is often very strange". The Spectator. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  13. ^ "The "coughing major" comes to the stage..." Chichester Observer. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Chichester Festival Theatre 2017 season will feature Ian McKellen as King Lear and a new play from Edna O'Brien". Evening Standard. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Casting announced for new James Graham play Quiz". Whats On Stage. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Daniel Evans: 'I am quite unashamedly a populist. I like making big shows in big spaces'". The Guardian. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  17. ^ Graham, James (2 April 2018). Quiz. Methuen Drama. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-3500-6929-9.
  18. ^ a b c "James Graham's Quiz, Based on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Scandal, Will Transfer to West End". Playbill. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  19. ^ "'Quiz': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Djalili and McKellen to star in Daniel Evans' first Chichester Festival Theatre season". The Stage. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Quiz Extends To 9 December". Chichester Festival Theatre. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  22. ^ a b Graham, James (2 April 2018). Quiz. Methuen Drama. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-3500-6929-9.
  23. ^ a b "QUIZ Cast and Creatives". Chichester Festival Theatre. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  24. ^ "James Graham's Quiz announces West End transfer". The Stage. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  25. ^ "James Graham's Quiz to transfer to the West End". Whats On Stage. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  26. ^ "James Graham's Quiz announces West End transfer". The Stage. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Quiz announced West End On Stage Seating And Casting". Official London Theatre. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  28. ^ "James Graham's Quiz West End transfer to have onstage seating". Whats On Stage. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  29. ^ "James Graham has all the right answers". The Guardian. 19 November 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  30. ^ "In James Graham's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire play, the audience is the jury of the 'coughing major'". The Independent. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Did the 'Coughing Major' cheat on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? At new West End play Quiz you get to decide". I. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  32. ^ "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard | Official Website". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Quiz the Play". Quiz the Play official website. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  34. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (16 August 2019). "ITV and AMC Order 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Cheating Drama 'Quiz'". Variety. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  35. ^ "ITV commissions three-part drama, Quiz, directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Left Bank Pictures". Press Centre. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  36. ^ "West End Transfer of Quiz Finds Its Cast". Playbill. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 March 2021, at 06:41
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