TV Review: Quiz (2020)

Most people in Britain, and perhaps the Western world, will know the story about how in 2001, Charles Ingram went onto ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ and allegedly cheated his way to £1million. I say alleged; he was convicted for it.

‘Quiz’ has been criticised by former host Chris Tarrant for casting doubt upon the guilt of the Ingrams. However, I don’t believe that it does. It shows exactly what Diana Ingram did (in my eyes, she was the main one behind the deception), and the events leading up to the night in question in 2001. However, having watched Helen McCrory’s brilliant performance as the defence attorney, even I was beginning to waver.

Quiz is two and a half hours of brilliant television. It opens up, quite interestingly, with the creators of the show, coming up with the idea. Then it quickly explores how the show skyrocketed in popularity, giving out the biggest cash prize in UK game show history. And then it shows how a syndicate of people, a loyal group of fans who both wanted to play and win large amounts of money, created a secret ring to get into the famous chair.

It proves that sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction. Could even the best scriptwriters have made the ensuing court case be adjourned for the entire jury mimicking the coughing of the defendants? The offhand with which exuded most of the characters? Although I have no doubt that some of the private parts of the show were scripted brilliantly, both the televised show and the courtroom drama were all in the public domain.

If you do not know the story, this is a good place to go to find out. Everything is impeccably done; even the outfits that every character was wearing in real life is matched. While Matthew McFadyen and Sian Clifford look very very similar to the Ingrams, Michael Sheen’s portrayal of Chris Tarrant takes the biscuit. I didn’t even know it was Michael Sheen!

Although there is little creative license with the plot itself, this is made all the better for it. And while you do feel bad for the Ingrams at times – an incredibly unpleasant killing of their dog – they did put themselves in that situation. Quiz doesn’t show the story in the expected way, and often intertwines the actors with the real clippings from the show. The acting is also first-class; which cannot often be said at the moment.

I would definitely recommend this one.

All episodes of ‘Quiz’ are now on the ITV Hub. I’m not certain if you’re abroad: maybe Britbox or international versions of the ITV Hub will contain ‘Quiz’.

Matthew McFadyen – Charles Ingram
Sian Clifford – Diana Ingram
Helen McCrory – Sonia Woodley QC
Mark Bonnar – Paul Smith
Michael Sheen – Chris Tarrant
Trystan Gravelle – Adrian Pollock

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