First look at Michael Sheen playing Chris Tarrant unveiled

The story of the ‘Coughing Major’ who cheated his way to £1m is being filmed for ITV.

Press Association
Last updated: 15 November 2019 - 10.00am

A first look at Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant in the forthcoming ITV drama Quiz has been revealed.

Sheen will play quiz show host Tarrant in the show based on the infamous Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal.

The photograph shows Sheen in character arriving to give evidence at Southwark Crown Court in the 2003 trial of former Army major Charles Ingram, who won £1 million on the quiz.

Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant in upcoming ITV series Quiz (Matt Frost/ITV)

Dubbed the “Coughing Major”, Ingram was found guilty along with his wife, Diana, and their accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, of cheating their way to the top prize on the show in 2001.

Ingram, who will be played by Matthew Macfadyen, was accused of listening out for coughs from college lecturer Whittock, who was sitting in the studio audience, to signal to him which answers were correct.

Whittock will be played by Michael Jibson and Ingram’s wife, Diana, will be played by Fleabag actress Sian Clifford.

The trio maintained their innocence in the high-profile trial, but were convicted and the Ingrams sentenced to 18 months in jail suspended for two years.

Chris Tarrant in court
The 2003 PA picture of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant arriving at Southwark Crown Court (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Tarrant’s son, Toby, commented on the transformation, tweeting: “This photo of Michael Sheen as Dad is brilliant. If there’s a scene where he passes out on the sofa watching TV with a glass of whisky and mumbling to himself then it will be like I’m 12 years old all over again.”

ITV’s Quiz will be a three-part series directed by Stephen Frears, whose other credits include The Queen and A Very English Scandal.

Other names listed for the drama’s cast include Aisling Bea and Helen McCrory.

The script has been written by James Graham, whose play of the same name ran in the West End.

The original picture of Tarrant was shot in 2003 by award-winning PA news agency photographer Stefan Rousseau.

Quiz is due to air on ITV in 2020.

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