Posted by sean on April 18, 2020 at 3:16 pm in Television with 1 Comment

Claire and I have now both watched the concluding episode to the ITV drama, Quiz – based upon the infamous Who Wants to be a Millionaire? coughing scandal in 2001.

The two of us came to the same opinion. The defendant, Charles Ingram, received an unfair trial.

A major piece of evidence used by the prosecution, during the 2003 court case, involved a recording from the WWTBAM? studio, during Ingram’s time in the hot seat.

This footage shown in court was provided by the show’s creators, who had edited the recording themselves – something known by the police and jury. This revised evidence included the ‘coughs’ used by the prosecution in order to convict Ingram. What was not included in the edit, was the natural coughs from other members of the audience. These were cut out!

This revelation was only brought to the attention of Claire and me during the third and final episode.

I know that dramas based upon real-life stories are know to bend the truth, miss out key events and include some that never really happened. I would be very surprised if the writers of Quiz would have made up the part in involving ‘doctored footage’, especially given its significance in the jury reaching a guilty verdict. For this, I am both disgusted and amazed that this was deemed acceptable evidence.

For the purpose of my next point, I will assume that ITV and Celador did NOT provide edited evidence during the case, and what was shown during the drama was pure fiction.

In 2001, I was an avid fan of the show. I never missed an episode. I even owned and regularly played the PlayStation 2 video game based upon the quiz show – complete with a talking, animated Chris Tarrant.

Being a regular viewer of the series meant that I was naturally interested in the case. It was not an uncommon sight for stories about Ingram, his wife and accomplice to appear on the front page of newspapers – surprising, considering this was in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, as well as Bush and Blair plotting a mindless war with Iraq.

Considering the scandal was widely reported across so many news publications, television channels and websites, you would expect to see a variety of opinions expressed into whether or not Ingram was guilty.

From memory, I cannot recall seeing or hearing anything to suggest that the accused were anything but guilty as sin. Ingram was hung out to dry, by journalists and reporters, who had appointed themselves judge, jury and executioner.

I was adamant he had cheated, but why would I think differently? I only had the bias media to help me form a judgement.

In any other instance, had the events been as widely reported as in ‘Coughgate’, the case would have collapsed and not gone to court.

The other night, I watched the famous Martin Bashir documentary, which was shown after the court case conclusion in 2003. I remember watching this 17 years ago, but until this week, had not seen it since.

Granted, this documentary was only released after a verdict had been reached. In this country, we generally accept the decision of a jury, so maybe this was why nobody questioned why the feature was produced in a manner which put Ingram in a bad light. Indeed, nobody from accused side of the case featured in or was interviewed for the documentary.

Despite the ITV-created production (another example of bias reporting) being heavily in favour of the prosecution, hindsight has shown that many areas of the documentary should be taken with a pinch of salt.

To conclude, I am not saying that Ingram and his accomplices are innocent or guilty. To form such an opinion, I feel that I would have to see and hear all unedited evidence, from the prosecution and defence.

It is said that Charles Ingram is seeking a retrial. I hope that he gets this and it is carried out fairly…

If found guilty, let that be the end of the matter – hopefully he’ll admit that he cheated and explain why he lied for almost twenty years.

Should the original verdict be reversed and Ingram be cleared of the original charges, I hope that he receives every penny of any compensation he is entitled to.

Once the prize money has been returned, interest, legal costs, loss of earnings and damage to reputation paid, it could be a very expensive day for ITV and Celador.

One Response to A Mistrial Of Justice?

  1. Anthony hitches

    May 28, 2020 - 2:22 pm

    They never cheated I hope the win their appeal as this is a fass of British justice the judge must have been a complete fool yes justice can stink of shit in some cases

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