I think all Brits remember the drama of Chris Tarrant on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’, and we all remember some sort of urban legend about a guy who coughed on the answers. Well ITV have finally released a three part drama giving us all of the ‘answers’.
The mini-series starts by introducing us to the creation of the show and how a little community of fans became obsessed with being on the show. I had absolutely no idea that you used to have to pay money to ‘try out’ for a quiz show!!! It’s all very interesting.
I also think the series is very much written so you feel sorry for Charles Ingram (Matthew MacFadyen) as he wasn’t really part of the plan at all; and I’m not sure quite how much I believe that. The series shows that Adrian Pollock (Trystan Gravelle) becomes obsessed with getting on the show and is identified numerous times succeeding at the ‘fastest finger’ round; much to the creators Paul (Mark Bonnar) and Claudia’s (Aisling Bea) dismay. However, when he is finally successful at getting in to the ‘chair’ he blows his chances by using his ‘phone a friend’ to call his dad instead of his sister. He does still leave with a huge amount of money though!
Unfortunately, what we learn is that huge amount of money isn’t enough to get him out of his financial trouble. So he passes on his tips of the trade to his sister Diana Ingram (Sian Clifford) who then follows in his footsteps getting on the show. Again she walks away from the show with less than £1million. So when her brother comes back to her to say he needs more money, the gauntlet falls to quiz-hating husband Charles.
Charles is an immediate hit with Chris Tarrant (Michael Sheen) and the audience as he is dopey, risky and an army Sargent/General (I don’t know something in the army). And after the first night when he has only answered a handful of questions and used two of his lifelines already it looks bleak. However, Diana finds out another member of the ‘community’ will be sitting in the chair for the fastest finger first whilst Charles finishes his game and ropes him in to help.
The show doesn’t suggest whether the coughs were premeditated or a spur of the moment decision, however, due to the way Charles touches his ear so regularly we are led to presume it was planned. I LOVE that it’s the dopey looking sound guy who uncovers what they were doing.
The show moves into the court case which to be fair does raise some really interesting questions (if true), why did ITV have to doctor the footage so much to make it clear they were coughing appropriately? Also, how crazy that so many people in the audience coughed so regularly anyway!
Overall, the show was a bit cheesy and not necessarily a ‘drama’ but it was enjoyable and we watched all three episodes in one go. I’ve seen that the real Chris Tarrant thought it was a bit fluffy suggesting it might not have been real but I guess we will never really know the truth at this point. It’s a good watch, especially since we’re all quarantined and bored anyway!