ITV Commissions Drama ‘Quiz’, Based On ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ Cheating Scandal Starring Matthew Macfadyen & Michael Sheen
ITV has commissioned ‘Quiz’, a three-part drama from acclaimed director Stephen Frears about the ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ cheating scandal, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as the cheating couple, with Michael Sheen taking on the role of presenter, Chris Tarrant!
‘Quiz’ tells 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?’ Major Ingram, his wife Diana, and 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 the host, Chris Tarrant.
Directed by globally renowned director, Stephen Frears (‘A Very English Scandal’, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’, ‘Philomena’, ‘The Queen’) Quiz sees Matthew Macfadyen (‘Ripper Street’, ‘Spooks’) play Major Charles Ingram, with Michael Sheen (‘Good Omens’, ‘The Queen’) taking on yet another real-life character, as TV presenter, Chris Tarrant. Sian Clifford (‘Fleabag’, ‘Vanity Fair’) will star as Diana Ingram, with Mark Bonnar (‘Shetland’, ‘Humans’) as Celador Television Chairman Paul Smith, Helen McCrory (‘Peaky Blinders’) as Sonia Woodley QC, Michael Jibson (‘Les Misérables’, ‘Hatfields & McCoys’) as Tecwen Whittock, and Aisling Bea (‘This Way Up’, ‘The Fall’) as ITV Entertainment Commissioner Claudia Rosencrantz.
The drama is written by playwright, James Graham (‘Brexit: An Uncivil War’, ‘This House’) 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’).
“I am delighted to be bringing James Graham’s wonderful play Quiz to screen on ITV,” commented ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill who commissioned the series. “It’s a 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.”
‘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 drama 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.
“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 enthral Americans audiences every bit as much as their British counterparts,” adds Sarah Barnett, President of the Entertainment Networks Group at AMC Networks. “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.”
James Graham has 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. Olivier award-winning James has also written numerous television dramas including ‘Coalition’ and ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’. His theatre includes the hit Westminster play ‘This House’, and ‘Ink’ about Rupert Murdoch, nominated for a Tony on Broadway this year.
“I was gripped by this story over 15 years ago, and I’m still gripped now. It’s a very English heist,” said Graham. “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?”
ITV has not given a premiere date yet for ‘Quiz’, but filming is currently underway in London.
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