Bad Show: The Quiz, the Cough, the Millionaire Major Hardcover – 29 Jan 2015
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About the Author
BOB WOFFINDEN is a former documentaries producer for ITV. He has been Associate Editor of New Musical Express and also worked for the BBC's magazine, The Listener. He has written about matters of justice in the UK for over thirty years. His previous books include Miscarriages of Justice and Hanratty. JAMES PLASKETT is a chess grandmaster who was British champion in 1990. He won £250,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 2005.
Top customer reviews
That was, until I came across this book while randomly browsing Amazon. Since I was so enthralled with the Major Fraud story, I decided to buy it and see if there truly was some reasonable evidence on how the major may have been innocent. After reading it, I can now say that I've completely changed my mind. This book has convinced me that Charles Ingram played his game legitimately. It discusses many important factors that refute the case put forward by ITV and Celador. If you want some examples, here are a few of them.
-Chris Tarrant was sitting right next to the major throughout the episode, but testified in court that he had heard no coughing. He argued that he was focused on his job and so wouldn't have noticed anything suspicious outside of the hot seat area, but surely he would have heard at least one of the coughs if they were truly as significant as they were made out to be.
-The major's wife was accused of supplying him with the correct answer to a key question by coughing twice. However, she coughed as he was saying the wrong answer, which would go against the agreed code and set him on the wrong direction. Plus, she was intentionally positioned outside of the major's earshot, in accordance with the show's regulations. The major couldn't have used that cough to his advantage even if he wanted to.
-Throughout the night, 192 coughs were produced by the audience and the fellow contestants. Only 19 of them came from the alleged accomplice. How was the major supposed to distinguish between those coughs and the rest of them?
-Only a small number of people in the studio noticed the accomplice's coughs as they were taking place. Even one of the ITV employees, who was staring straight at the accomplice at the moment that he was alleged to have shouted "No!", didn't notice anything suspicious. Neither did the two contestants sitting next to the accomplice. Wouldn't it make sense to listen to the majority of the witnesses? Even the show itself would encourage this. It's the foundation of the Ask The Audience lifeline.
-The doctor of the major's accomplice confirmed that he had three conditions that would contribute to a severe cough. What are the odds of finding such a perfect candidate to aid you in a coughing scheme in such a short space of time? Plus, the doctor's claims couldn't have been false. Why would he lie to the court and risk his reputation as a respected member of the community?
There are several more points that I could rattle off, but this review would be a novel in itself if I did. Ultimately, this book puts forward a very compelling case. It is impeccably researched and extremely well written. Is there still a chance that Charles Ingram cheated? Of course. There's plenty of evidence to support both sides of the argument. But even if you're a hardcore skeptic that is convinced that there was treachery afoot on that fateful night, I would highly recommend giving this book a read. Whether it pulls you onto the major's side or not, it's a gripping collection of Millionaire anecdotes, past cheating scandal stories and intelligent claims in support of the ultimate Millionaire underdog.
What if Tecwen was just over excited and could not resist? Possibly, he kind of fancied Diana and wanted to help. We know from the court case, he had brief previous contact with Diana from both being gameshow enthusiasts.
What if the Major had not planned to defraud...but noticed the coughing and used it as a sign rather than pre-meditated criminal act?
Finally, how did they know Tecwen Whittock would definitely be there, when he was only in the studio by chance as it rolled over to the next episode...or at least is hard to engineer.
I think the case has a legal gray area. Maybe this was really a case of an over enthusiastic guy in the crowd who coughed because he knew the answer and was excited...and the Major kind of started to realize?
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