Major Charles Ingram had a bust-up with his wife after winning £1mil

We smelt a rat when Major Charles Ingram was overheard having a huge dressing room bust-up with his wife – minutes after winning that million, reveals CHRIS TARRANT

  • Charles was the third member of his family to appear on the programme
  • 그의 부인, 다이아나, had already been on the show a year before and won £32,000
  • After the win, the couple were heard having a ‘massive rowby many show staff
  • The phone call came out of the blue. It was from David Briggs, a former colleague from Capital Radio, and he had an idea for a new TV programme.

    It was based on a game we used to play on the radio, Double Or Quits. Would I do a pilot as a favour for an old mate?

    I had my doubts. I was really busy doing my breakfast slot on Capital every morning, and recording a new series which I’d just taken over from the brilliant Clive James.

    ‘I’ll do the pilot,’ I told Briggsy. ‘But I’m really too busy to do the actual show, if it takes off.’

    Can you believe it? I actually did nearly turn down Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

    어쨌든, as I did the TV pilot, I quietly thought to myself, ‘This is actually quite good. It’s a really good format and I might even think about doing a series. It could last even for two or three years.’

    I clearly knew nothing, because the show went on to run for 15 연령, becoming the No 1 TV programme in 120 countries and changing countless lives, my own included.

    Patricia, 감독, said to me, '아니. 뭔가 잘못되었다. Something is definitely bloody wrong. Something was going on.’ I didn’t believe it. Or maybe I didn’t want to believe it

    Patricia, 감독, said to me, '아니. 뭔가 잘못되었다. Something is definitely bloody wrong. Something was going on.’ I didn’t believe it. Or maybe I didn’t want to believe it

    I’ll never forget the morning after the pilot episode went out in September 1998. I was walking up from the studio to the Hilton Hotel in Wembley, 노스 런던, to do a few press interviews, when a bloke in a lorry pulled down his window and shouted at me: ‘Phone a friend.’

    지금, I was already very used to people shouting catchphrases at me in the street. I’d worked on the children’s TV series Tiswas for seven years, as well as Capital Radio for 14, and they’d both had their fair share of popular sayings.

    그리고 지금, 보였다, there were to be a whole lot more. ‘Is that your final answer?’, ‘phone a friend’, ‘we don’t want to give you that’, ‘go 50:50’ and ‘ask the audience’ were about to become a part of global parlance.

    But bear in mind, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? had only gone out once anywhere in the world the night before, yet within a matter of hours, ‘do you want to phone a friend?’ was already on the nation’s lips. It did seem to me we were clearly on to something enormous. 어느, 물론이야, we were.

    It’s now — and I’m working this out as I write — just over 20 연령, '나와 Maggie는 지옥처럼 겁에 질려 있었고 무슨 일이 일어날지 전혀 몰랐기 때문에 초반에는 꽤 험난한 여정이었습니다., three weeks and about 20 hours since I could last walk down the street anywhere in Britain without somebody shouting at me: [object Window], CT. Do you want to phone a friend?’

    I haven’t done the show for years, but it still happens every single day. It’s already happened once this morning when I went down to the petrol station just off the M4.

    I honestly never mind it at all. 대개, they get thoroughly embarrassed, go bright red, and think, ‘Oh Christ, he’s probably heard that one or two times before.’ Yes, but make that one or two million times, and you’re probably closer to the mark.

    잘, when I say I never mind catchphrases, I usually don’t. But there was one exception.

    A few years back on one of those rare, very hot days we do occasionally get in the summer, I was driving through Leicester, and I really desperately needed a beer.

    I stopped at a busy pub, where the landlord stared at me in a gormless sort of way as he poured my pint, without saying anything.

    And you know that thing when you get the froth coming right up to the top and you are desperate for it? 잘, we got to that point, with my tongue hanging out almost to my knees.

    The landlord got right to the top, then turned the beer glass over and said, ‘But we don’t want to give you that.’

    And he poured it into the slop bucket. There were howls of laughter right across the pub as I somehow resisted the temptation to shake him firmly by the windpipe. I wanted that beer so much!

    But I was then given a fresh pint and a very nice lunch, all on the house. So I couldn’t really complain.

    Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was enormous. We did nearly 700 쇼, gave away more than £60 million in prize money, just in the UK, and we had six honest, million-pound winners.

    After the show, I went back towards the Ingrams’ dressing room to congratulate them. But I was stopped in my tracks by Eve, a lovely girl in our research team. 'I went to see them with a big bottle of champagne, but they were having this massive row,' 그녀가 말했다

    After the show, I went back towards the Ingrams’ dressing room to congratulate them. But I was stopped in my tracks by Eve, a lovely girl in our research team. ‘I went to see them with a big bottle of champagne, but they were having this massive row,’ 그녀가 말했다

    잘, five and a dodgy one. But more of him a little later. The list of people who came on the celebrity version of the show in the UK was extraordinary.

    Just about every TV personality in Britain: 스티븐 프라이, 그녀와 그녀의 남편이 경찰에 의해 방으로 안내될 때 눈물을 흘리며 Anne이 말했습니다. 그곳에서 몇 장의 폴라로이드가 판자에 고정되어 있었습니다, 사이먼 코웰, 피어스 모건, Ann Widdecombe, Tim Rice, Bear Grylls, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and his son, Eamonn Holmes and his wife, Dermot O’Leary and his dad, Frank Skinner, David Baddiel, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. The list goes on and on.

    Terry Wogan came on the first time with Chris Evans. They were extraordinary. Mainly because of Terry’s intelligence, they coasted to £1 million in rehearsal, so we thought, ‘They’re gonna be great.’ Come the show, and I don’t know what happened, but it was a complete disaster, and they went away with 500 quid each.

    Four months later James Martin, the chef, came on, and for some incomprehensible reason he brought Chris Evans along with him. 나는 말했다, ‘Why on earth have you brought him?’ and James said, '잘, last time he went home with 500 quid,’ and Evans piped up, ‘So I couldn’t possibly go home with less, could I?’

    But do you know what happened? He actually did. James and Christopher left with just 250 quid apiece.

    But one thing that really gratified me was the number of people that came on who would never normally go on a game show: 알렉스 퍼거슨 경, Frederick Forsyth, Alastair Campbell, Greg Rusedski, Hugh Bonneville, Amir Khan, David Haye, Ronan Keating, 조지 마이클, and Paul McCartney with his then wife Heather.

    The McCartneys were great, and after the show I remember saying, ‘They seemed a lovely couple. They are obviously really happy.’ Which is one of the many reasons why I have never worked for Relate, as they got divorced four years later.

    친구들과 열린 대화 나누기, 그러나, I liked ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Our first millionaire, Judith Keppel, was lovely, but decidedly odd. During rehearsals she came up to me, 그리고 말했다, ‘Do you stop the show at all?’

    ‘정말. We do stop for the amount of time it would take for commercial breaks, but otherwise it pretty well runs to time.’

    '잘,' 그녀가 말했다, ‘what happens if I faint?’

    Puzzled, 나는 물었다, ‘Are you likely to faint? Do you have a fainting problem?’

    '아니, 전혀. I’m just curious.’

    '잘, I suppose if you were lying on the floor at my feet, and I was asking questions that you couldn’t answer because you were unconscious, yes we would probably stop, because it wouldn’t be much of a show.’

    When you realise that the next day she went on to win £1 million, it was one weird conversation.

    The contestant who is probably the best known all around the world, from all those who have appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, is Major Charles Ingram. 슬프게도, he is remembered for all the very worst reasons.

    Charles was the third member of his family to appear on the programme. The Ingrams seemed totally obsessed with it. 그의 부인, 다이아나, had already been on the show a year before his appearance, where she won £32,000. I remembered her as being quite fed up.

    In the bar afterwards, Amy Winehouse의 어머니는 그녀의 딸에게 가슴 아픈 마지막 말을 전했고 그녀의 양아버지는 목요일 Lorraine에서 고인이 된 가수에 대해 이야기하면서 그녀의 죽음에 대한 눈물을 삼켰습니다.: ‘£32,000 is a pretty good night’s work.’

    '예,' 그녀가 말했다, ‘but I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t beat my brother.’

    그녀의 오빠, Adrian Pollock, had also appeared on the show earlier, having made an incredible number of phone calls to get on, 그리고 그는, 너무, went away with £32,000.

    Charles was the third member of his family to appear on the programme. The Ingrams seemed totally obsessed with it. 그의 부인, 다이아나, had already been on the show a year before his appearance, where she won £32,000. 위, the couple at Southwark Crown Court

    Charles was the third member of his family to appear on the programme. The Ingrams seemed totally obsessed with it. 그의 부인, 다이아나, had already been on the show a year before his appearance, where she won £32,000. 위, the couple at Southwark Crown Court

    So when the Major appeared, I do remember myself and the production team feeling sorry for him. He seemed to be under a lot of family pressure, and we didn’t fancy his chances at all. We could never have believed that he would go on to become our third millionaire.

    From the word go Charles seemed hesitant and struggling, but eventually he got to the question that would guarantee him leaving with at least £1,000. 그것은: The Normans, who invaded and conquered England in 1066, spoke which language?

    Surely this is one of those questions that every schoolchild in England has known since they were about four years old. 1066 and all that. Charles finally answered it, but after a lot of hesitation. ‘Pretty sure it’s French,’그는 말했다.

    The whole country must have been screaming, ‘Of course it’s bloody French!’ He paused a lot on that question, but as the show went on, I realised that big, long pauses were very much his style.

    At the end of the first day he’d used up two of the three ‘lifelines’ that the show allows, and only won £4,000. It was clear his performance was not at all the stuff of millionaires.

    Most of the big winners on the show in the UK haven’t even paused for breath before they’ve got to about £125,000. So the idea of him plodding on from here with just the one lifeline left seemed pretty hopeless.

    On day two the Major now began what became his routine. With each question, he admitted to being unsure and then went through each option verbally, out loud, with pauses between. This very significantly became a feature of the manner in which he answered every question that night.

    지금, 위에 15 years I fronted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? there were probably no more than a dozen or so contestants who got to the £500,000 mark.

    Very few of them went on to win the million, and several of them pulled out at this point, but there was a thing I said that always got a reaction.

    ‘You have £500,000. If you go for the next question and get it right, you win a million pounds. But if you get it wrong, you lose £468,000. You do not have to play it.’

    Everybody I ever said that to suddenly had a look of real shock and panic. In their minds they had already banked £500,000, but the reality that they could still lose such an enormous amount of money suddenly hit home.

    The Major was the only one who never paused for a second. '예, 어서,’그는 말했다. ‘Let’s play.’

    His final question was: A number one, 텍사스 레인저스(Texas Rangers)는 현재 사기 문서에 대한 그녀의 주장을 조사하고 있습니다. 100 zeros, is known by what name?

    The suggested answers, from which he had to choose one, 했다:

    ㅏ. Googol

    비. Megatron

    씨. Gigabit

    디. Nanomole

    Charles said, ‘I’m not sure.’ Inwardly, I gave a big sigh of relief, 생각, ‘그게 다야, 큰. He’s out of here.’ Nobody in their right mind would go for this unless they were absolutely certain. I joked with him, ‘Charles, you’ve not been sure since question No 2.’

    '알아요,’그는 말했다, ‘but I think the doubt has now multiplied. I think it’s a nanomole, but it could be a gigabit. I don’t think it’s a Megatron,’ and then uttered the famous words, ‘I’ve never heard of a googol.’

    After his usual round-the-houses way of calling out each answer, he suddenly said, 뜻밖에, ‘I think it’s a googol. I think it’s googol.

    ‘By process of elimination, I have to think it’s googol. I don’t know what a googol is. I don’t think it’s a gigabit or a nanomole, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a megatron. I think it’s a googol.’

    There was a huge gasp from the audience, and in amazement I said to him, ‘But you thought it was a nanomole, and you’d never heard of a googol.’

    ‘Googol,’그는 소리 쳤다. ‘Final answer.’ I genuinely didn’t know if it was the right answer, until the screen went to orange and as I looked down, googol was confirmed as the correct answer.

    믿을 수가 없었어. The mad Major was somehow a millionaire. When I told him he was right the studio erupted.

    Diana came down from the audience and gave him a hug of delight, but clearly also surprise, and as they left the studio to hysterical applause, she said quite clearly, ‘No one is ever going to believe it. You are mad.’

    These were meant to be private words between the couple, but of course both the Major and his wife were still wearing radio microphones.

    It was an amazing night. It was probably one of the most extraordinary television programmes I have ever been a part of. 어떻게 든, we had another million- pound winner.

    I went to see the team to say what an amazing show it was, but instead of the usual euphoric atmosphere, I found some very sombre faces and shaking of heads.

    Patricia, 감독, said to me, '아니. 뭔가 잘못되었다. Something is definitely bloody wrong. Something was going on.’ I didn’t believe it. Or maybe I didn’t want to believe it.

    I went back towards the Ingrams’ dressing room to congratulate them. But I was stopped in my tracks by Eve, a lovely girl in our research team who was sobbing. ‘What’s wrong, 그녀는 슬링키한 블랙 슬립 드레스와 파우더 블루 코트로 시크해 보였고 어깨를 으쓱했다.?’ I asked. ‘It’s been the most amazing night.’

    '아니,' 그녀가 말했다, ‘the Major has just told me very forcibly to get out of his dressing room and eff off. I went to see them with a big bottle of champagne, but they were having this massive row.’

    How Eric Clapton saved my mate Phil’s fishing tackle

    I once got invited to a big charity celebrity trout-fishing match in Surrey. Lots of famous faces were promised to be there, and I could take a guest.

    So I brought Fat Phil, my local tackle dealer, so called because his name’s Philip and he lives in the pie shop next door.

    We had the draw and Phil unfortunately got a bad spot right down the end of the lake in amongst lots of trees.

    ‘걱정하지 마세요,’ I told him. ‘We all change round at lunchtime.’ So off he trudged. He’s not the best of casters and every time I looked up he seemed to be apologising to the poor guy next to him who seemed to spend his whole morning getting Phil’s flies out of the trees all around him.

    I caught two or three trout in the morning, but when Phil came in at lunchtime, he’d caught nothing.

    '예,’그는 말했다, ‘I kept getting caught up in the trees, but there was a smashing bloke next to me, really kind and patient. He spent most of the morning getting my tackle out of that big oak tree.’

    ‘What a nice bloke,' 나는 말했다. ‘Which one is he?’

    ‘That one over there eating a sandwich. A diamond geezer. I know his face. I think he comes into my shop to buy maggots.’

    '예, 필,' 나는 말했다. ‘He is a diamond geezer, and you do know his face, but not because he comes into your shop to buy maggots. You know his face cos he’s called Eric Clapton.’

    광고

    지금, it doesn’t matter who you are, and how unhappy you may be as a couple, if you have just won £1 million, surely you would be in a celebratory mood?

    하나, the screaming row was heard by Eve, the security guards, and Paul Vaughan, my manager. He still berates himself for not putting one of those glasses to the wall to hear what was actually being said.

    I went home on a high, but several of the production team sat through the tapes later that night trying to find out what had happened. But they could spot nothing.

    It was only when they were viewing it all for a second time, at about a quarter to two in the morning, that a young editor said, ‘Hang on, there. 잠깐만, there’s a cough.’

    The exhausted team said, ‘What are you talking about?’ and he said, ‘There’s a cough.’ They spooled back and there it was, from early in the second show, quite clearly: a distinctive cough.

    A clear pattern emerged. Ingram would call out each possible answer in his round-the-houses way, and to one of them there would be a cough, and he would then say, ‘Final answer.’

    And that’s what happened all the way up to and including ‘Googol’.

    At 4am the fraud squad were called in, and they agreed there was a case to answer, and the police brought a prosecution.

    Two years later we all went to court and Charles, his wife and an accomplice called Tecwen Whittock were found guilty.

    We were certainly very naive in those days. We didn’t ever imagine anybody would come and try to cheat £1 million in such great big close-ups on a game show — especially a serving British Army Major.

    All we used to ask was, ‘Can you please all turn off your mobile phones.’

    Following the Major’s appearance, all show security was completely updated and tightened up.

    No mobile phones were allowed in the studio at all, and nobody was allowed to leave during the programme.

    We have never got to the bottom of exactly what happened, but clearly if you do have a phone on and open in the studio the questions and answers can be heard from anywhere. You then only need a very basic search engine to find the right answer.

    Although I saw nothing at the time, I have now sat with the programme’s makers and the fraud squad for so many hours viewing tapes, that I am convinced in my own mind that the Major is guilty as sin.

    Apropos of nothing, a footnote.

    I was filming one wet winter’s morning down in the Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, when a woman appeared out of nowhere wanting an autograph, which I happily signed. But then she added: ‘Your mate’s up the road today.’

    ‘Which mate’s that?’ I asked.

    ‘알다시피 . . . that cheating Major.’

    '잘, he’s not exactly my bestest mate,' 나는 말했다. ‘Not exactly top of my Christmas list. But anyway, what’s he doing?’

    '오, you’d have loved it. He’s at a car boot sale with a sign up saying, “Forced to sell all my worldly goods by ITV.” ’

    ‘That’s rubbish,' 나는 말했다. ‘It should say, “Forced to sell all my worldly goods for being a cheat.” ’

    '어쨌든,’ she continued, ‘me and my best mate found one of those Millionaire board games at another stall and took it over to the Major and asked him to sign it.’

    '세상에,' 나는 말했다. ‘How did he take it?’

    Not well, the woman told me. He had not only refused their request, but used some pretty ripe language in the process.

    Poor old Charlie Ingram. You’d almost feel sorry for him — if he wasn’t as guilty as hell.

    • Adapted from It’s Not A Proper Job by Chris Tarrant, to be published by Great Northern Books on April 25 at £17.99. © 2022 Chris Tarrant. To order a copy for £16.19 go to www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0203 176 2937. Offer valid until April 30, 2022, UK delivery is free on orders over £20.