Quiz viewers branded Michael Sheen’s portrayal of Chris Tarrant ‘uncanny’ in tonight’s episode of new hotly anticipated drama, Quiz.
During the first episode of the three-part dramatisation of the 2001 ‘coughing’ Who Wants To Be A Millionaire scandal, it was revealed that Major Charles Ingram’s brother-in-law Adrian Pollock, played by Trystan Gravelle, had created a Fastest Finger machine in his garage.
However, despite the shocking revelation he had the machine in a bid to increase his response speed for when he got a place among the real contestants competing to get in the chair, it was Michael Sheen’s impression of Chris Tarrant that really got viewers talking.
”Is it just me or is Michael Sheen doing a better job of portraying Chris Tarrant than Chris Tarrant does?’ joked one, while a second penned: ‘Can’t believe how much like Chris Tarrant Michael Sheen is in Quiz. Brilliant.’
Viewers branded Michael Sheen’s portrayal of TV presenter Chris Tarrant ‘uncanny’ in tonight’s episode of ITV’s hotly anticipated drama, Quiz (pictured)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant arriving at Southwark Crown Court, central London, to give evidence at the trial of Army major Charles Ingram, who was convicted of cheating to win the show’s top prize
Taking to Twitter, one viewer joked: ‘Is it just me or is Michael Sheen doing a better job of portraying Chris Tarrant than Chris Tarrant does?’
And with his convincing orange tan and blonde hair, a third commented: ‘Jeepers creepers. Michael Sheen is so much like Chris Tarrent it’s unreal,’ while a fourth added: ‘They even got Michael Sheen to do the Chris Tarrant Phone A Friend repeat greetings move. Quiz did their research…’
During the opening episode, it was revealed that Major Charles Ingram, played by Matthew Macfadyen, was never a fan of quizzes, while his wife Diana, played by Sian Clifford, and her brother Adrian, were quite the opposite.
After television producer Paul Smith (Mark Bonnar) put everything on the line to make the ITV quiz show, a much-loved pub-quiz hobby soon turned into outright obsession.
But as Diana and Adrian’s repeated attempts to get into the hot seat fell short, all eyes turned to an unsuspecting Charles to win the million-pound prize.
Chris Tarrant, played by Michael Sheen (pictured), not only took on Chris Tarrant’s voice, but also his appearance
Taking to Twitter, one viewer wrote: ‘Can’t believe how much like Chris Tarrant Michael Sheen is in Quiz. Brilliant’ (pictured)
When Adrian and Diana both make it into the hot seat and fail to scoop the big prize, they turn to Charles as a last resort. Pictured Chris Tarrant, played by Michael Sheen
During the opening scenes, ITV’s new director, David Liddiment, could be seen attempting to form the premise of a new quiz show that would grip the nation, and it soon turned into the award-winning programme hosted by Chris Tarrant, played by Michael Sheen.
But the opportunity to win £1 million proved too tempting for pub quiz lovers from across the globe, who quickly tried to find a way to hack the system and become contestants on the quiz show.
THE REAL STORY
Ingram notoriously cheated his way to win £1 million on gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 2001.
The ex-military officer, then aged 38, amazed audiences when he scooped the top prize on the ITV primetime show while answering erratically to host Chris Tarrant’s questions.
But while Tarrant does hand over a cheque to winners on-screen, the money was withheld by production company Celador after concerns were raised over the possibility he had cheated.
It later emerged that accomplice Tecwen Whittock, who was a future contestant, had coughed to indicate correct answers throughout the show.
Ingram, Diana and Whittock were convicted of deception in a 2003 crown court trial, and Ingram was given a 20-month suspended prison sentence.
His two accomplices were given 18-month suspended sentences for their part in the scam.
And in August this year, he and wife Diana had to declare themselves bankrupt for a fourth time.
Diana Ingram and her brother Adrian were among the quiz fans hoping for a chance to become millionaires, and could be seen reaching out to a group of elite pub quizzers known as ‘The Syndicate,’ who claimed they could help individuals get onto the show in return for a fee.
Later, Adrian headed to a secret meeting with Paddy Spooner, played by Jeremy Killick – who managed to get in the chair three times – despite the rules saying you can only sit in the hot seat once.
‘It was three different versions, three countries – Australia, Ireland and the UK,’ explained Paddy. ‘They don’t check. There’s a lot they don’t check.’
‘I’ve been working with some people – an underground community has sprung up.
‘They are fans of the show who have grown into a quiet little resistance in the quiet little villages of England, but the perfect place to plan our attack.’
He continued: ‘In the world of quizzing, the man who has the questions may be King, but the man who has the answers is God.’
‘Thousands of people call the hotline, the show selects a random hundred numbers to call back with a question that’s all but impossible to get exactly right.
‘What the makers haven’t predicted was what people tend to do – talk to each other.
‘The fools are using the same “closest to” questions, in rotation, time and again. All you need is a network, or, as we call ourselves, “The Syndicate.”
The experience quizzer advised Adrian that when he got the callback from the producers, he should pretend to be someone else and say that Adrian is out, to give them time to prepare and for Paddy to mobilise – before helping him with the answer.
The first episode of ITV’s three-part dramatisation of the 1997 Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? revealed Major Charles Ingram’s wife Diana and brother-in-law Adrian were big quiz fans
In the first episode, it was revealed the brother of the coughing Major’s wife, Adrian Pollock (played by Trystan Gravelle, pictured) had a Fastest Finger machine in his garage
Adrian also followed advice from ‘The Syndicate’ in a bid to get to the real studio for his chance to take a seat in the chair
Paddy then added that once in the chair, there was a final highly bespoke service they could offer on their phone a friend.
‘There’s a room in London where we gather – the finest pub quizzers in the land – secretly, silently, in solidarity,’ he explained. ‘If you give the producers one of the dozen special numbers we have around the country, they are all diverted here, to this one phone.’
After hearing Paddy was expecting 25 per cent in return, Adrian replied: ‘I am grateful for all the hints and tips and things, but I’m not sure whether I need your services.’
However, when Adrian and Diana both made it into the hot seat and failed to scoop the big prize, both walking away with £32, 00, they turned to Charles as a last resort.
‘You must go on – onto the show,’ Diana told him. ‘I’ve been on, Adrian has – it’s your turn.’
A frustrated Charles replied: ‘It’s my turn is it, to join the family business? I warned you of these bad schemes. I don’t even like quizzes!’
Quiz will continue to air on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th April at 9pm on ITV
As Diana and Adrian’s (pictured together) repeated attempts to get into in the hot seat fell short, all eyes turned to an unsuspecting Charles to win the million-pound prize
Adrian and Diana sit down and watch the popular ITV quiz show together in a bid to get tips to get on the show
Mark Bonnar (pictured) plays Who Wants To Be A Millionaire producer Paul Smith in the new three-part drama series