Thursday, August 6, 2020
Home TV ITV Commissions Stephen Frears' Three-Part Drama Quiz

ITV Commissions Stephen Frears’ Three-Part Drama Quiz

-

The extraordinary and sensational story of how Charles and Diana Ingram attempted an ‘audacious heist’ on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is to be told in a three-part drama titled Quiz, ITV and AMC announced today.

Major Ingram, his wife Diana and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, who was sitting in the audience, were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on what was the most popular game show on earth in 2001. The couple stood trial for conspiring by coughing during the recording to signify the correct answers to the multiple choice questions posed to the Major by host, Chris Tarrant.

Directed by Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal, Florence Foster Jenkins, Philomena, The Queen), Quiz stars Matthew Macfadyen as Major Charles Ingram, Michael Sheen as TV presenter, Chris Tarrant, Sian Clifford as Diana Ingram, Mark Bonnar as Celador Television Chairman, Paul Smith, Helen McCrory as Sonia Woodley QC, Michael Jibson as Tecwen Whittock, and Aisling Bea as ITV Entertainment Commissioner, Claudia Rosencrantz.

The drama was written by playwright James Graham (Brexit: An Uncivil War, Ink, This House, Labour of Love) and will be produced by Left Bank Pictures, whose chief executive officer and co-founder is former Head of ITV Comedy and Drama, Andy Harries (The Crown, Wallander, Strike Back). ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, has commissioned the series.

Commented Polly Hill: “I am delighted to be bringing James Graham’s wonderful play Quiz to screen on ITV. It’s testament to James’ brilliant scripts that Stephen Frears is directing, which together with Left Bank Pictures producing, promises to deliver a very special drama. It’s an extraordinary and thoroughly British story and is going to be a real treat for our audience.”

Sarah Barnett, President of the Entertainment Networks Group at AMC Networks, said: “If this tale was invented you’d think it too preposterous – the fact that it is true, and told so brilliantly, makes for an unmissable 3-part TV event that will entertain and enthrall Americans audiences every bit as much as their British counterparts. Quiz has the most remarkable bunch of talented people attached both in front of and behind the camera, and we, at AMC, are delighted to be part of it.”

Quiz gives an insight into what went on behind the scenes as Celador Television Chairman, Paul Smith and one of the show’s creators, David Briggs, originally pitched the idea of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? to ITV’s newly installed Director of Programmes, David Liddiment.

First airing September 1998, Millionaire fever voraciously gripped the nation with viewers avidly dialing the hotline to win a place on the show which ITV stripped nightly across its schedule to ramp up the excitement.

Based in a sleepy Wiltshire village, Charles and Diana Ingram were amongst those who became fixated with appearing on the popular quiz show, which in its heyday attracted audiences of 19 million viewers to ITV. Their obsession and fascination with the format led to multiple attempts to appear on the show for both Charles and Diana and led to the infamous ‘Coughing Major’ appearance on September 9, 2001, which has sensationally gone down in television folklore.

A subsequent documentary, Millionaire: A Major Fraud, fronted by Martin Bashir, followed in 2003 and attracted 17 million viewers, setting a new record for a factual program on ITV.

James Graham has successfully adapted Quiz for ITV from the critically acclaimed, Oliver-nominated play of the same title commissioned by William Village, which premiered in Chichester in 2017 before transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End in 2018 and played to packed houses.

James Graham said: “I was gripped by this story over 15 years ago, and I’m still gripped now. It’s a very English heist. Putting it onto stage at Chichester and the West End was such a lot of fun, and with a new team we now get to re-imagine the whole story afresh for television. I have to pay credit to the late investigative journalist Bob Woffinden, who along with James Plaskett wrote the book Bad Show that kicked the whole creative process off by asking the question – what if the Major is innocent?”

Andy Harries said: “This is a uniquely British story, as relevant and funny today as it was 18 years ago because the brilliance of James Graham’s writing and his insight into British cultural life. And no one directs this sort of story better than Stephen Frears.“

Quiz is a Left Bank Pictures co-production for ITV and AMC and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television, which also owns and distributes Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? worldwide. The project is produced by Alice Pearse (Origin, Gregor), and executive produced by Dan Winch (A Very English Scandal, Broadchurch), William Village, James Graham, Stephen Frears and Left Bank CEO, Andy Harries. Filming is currently underway in London.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links through which we earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Receive all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

COMMENTS

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Mirko Parlevliethttp://VitalThrills.com
Mirko Parlevliet has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 1998 and founded VitalThrills.com to cover movie, TV, video game, music, and theme park news.

LATEST NEWS

Lindsey Vonn and Her Dog to Host The Pack for Prime Video

Amazon Studios today announced The Pack, a new global unscripted series that celebrates the unrivaled bond between dogs and their human companions....

A League of Their Own Series Picked Up by Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios announced today that it has ordered a pickup of the new hour-long A League of Their Own series, from Sony...

The Undoing Premiere Date, Trailer and New Photos

HBO has set The Undoing premiere date for Sunday, October 25 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) and debuted the new trailer and photos. The...

Shudder Gives Green Light to Cursed Films Season 2

AMC Networks' Shudder today announced it has given the green light to Cursed Films Season 2. The docuseries is written, directed and...

Misery Index Season 3 Greenlit as Impractical Jokers Resumes Production

WarnerMedia is embracing truTV’s tentpole franchise Impractical Jokers across the company's cable and streaming platforms. In addition to resuming production on Impractical...

Bill and Ted Face the Music Release Moved Up and Go Behind the Scenes!

Orion Pictures tells us that the Bill and Ted Face the Music release has been moved up a few days. You'll now...