The History Lesson
This week back in 2001 British TV cameras captured a million-dollar con job, as it happened. British Army Major Charles Ingram wanted to be a Millionaire. Really, really badly. Charles, and his family, were obsessed with the TV trivia game show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.” His wife Diana became a contestant and won $32 thousand pounds sterling. His brother-in-law? Did the same thing. But it’s not called “Who Wants To Be A $32 Thousand Pounds-ionaire.” The Ingrams wanted to win bigger.
They got their chance: Charles managed to get on the show. Only problem? He wasn’t very good. In fact, on the first day of taping? He barely made it to the $8 thousand-pound question.
But, on the 2nd day — something weird happened. Charles kept getting right answers. Even to questions he admitted he knew nothing about — which was almost all of them. Soon he’d won way more’n $32 grand. He was on track to win a million.
And guess what? He did. But he didn’t get to keep the money. Because during that 2nd day, the show’s sound guy noticed this: Coughs. Coming from Tecwen Whittock, a veteran quiz-show contestant sitting behind Charles in the studio audience. Charles would read possible answers aloud. And when he got to the right one. Tecwen always seemed to cough. Except on one question, when Diana developed the cough. “Millionaire’s” producer studied the tape and gave Charles a call.
The Ingrams were found guilty of fraud and got an 18-month suspended sentence. The Army forced Charles to resign; He still says he didn’t cheat. And if the whole fiasco seems like something you would’ve heard about? Here’s why you didn’t: The day after the taping was September 11th, 2001.
Created for the DPD by Christian Self, bar manager at 39 Hotel in Honolulu, HI:
In a short glass, muddle:
- Two orange slices
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 ounce blood orange syrup
- 1 ounce orange vodka
- 2 ounces Campari
Add ice. Shake and serve.