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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
A Major Fraud: Your views
Diana and Charles Ingram
The Ingrams celebrate their win
ITV documentary A Major Fraud explored the appearance of Major Charles Ingram on the quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and the court case that led to his conviction for conspiracy.

The documentary showed Major Ingram in the programme's hot seat, answering questions to win the jackpot while accomplice Tecwen Whittock was in the audience, indicating the correct answers with coughs.

"It was a gripping account of the convicted threesome's seemingly blatant, even crude efforts, to deprive the show of its 1m purse," said BBC News Online's Chris Heard.

But what do you think?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

Very guilty - he didn't behave as a person who was playing for such a huge amount of money. They should now keep quiet, accept the verdict and think of the damage this whole episode is doing to their children.
T Jenkins, England

The programme last night made it look like an open and shut case but there are two sides to every story. I think the major has his work cut out convincing anyone that he is innocent though.
Richard, UK

Obviously the programme was edited to enhance the coughs and emphasise the suspicious timing of a number them; but even without hearing the coughs, the Major's behaviour in the "hot seat" was just so unusual. I think that there is little doubt that he cheated. The video of Mrs Ingram's coughing was the clincher for me though. She was just so unconvincing.
Minty, UK

I think that the programme confirmed what the jury convicted them of. What I find increasingly annoying is the amount of airtime these criminals are being given since the trial. Drop them now, please let's not them indulge any more.
Paul Smith, UK

This is another sad indication that this country doesn't treat criminals as criminals but as celebrities
Richard Goodliff, England
At first I was concerned that we were about to be presented with a repeat of the Jacko saga with Martin Bashir's one-sided commentary. However, what I saw simply reinforced what I suspected all along and Martin Bashir's commentary was mercifully restrained. It was only a matter of time before someone tried to con a million out of Millionaire and to do it in such a cack-handed fashion! It will make a great film. I vote for Neil and Christine Hamilton as the Ingrams and Hugh Grant as Tecwen Whittock!
DD, London, UK

Best thing I've seen on TV for so long. It was hilarious. I thought I couldn't laugh anymore until I heard Tecwen coughing the word "no". Priceless. ITV has been very clever in manipulating this - it got amazing viewing figures and now possibly a film out of it - but will it be as good as Quiz Show? Very likely!
Claire, England

These two put the Hamiltons (and even the Macbeths) to shame with their unknowing portrayal of manipulative wife and blithering posh husband going for glory and blaming everyone else for their failure. Hilarious.
Redstick, Plumstead, UK

I have been following the Millionaire case and last night's programme has cleared all my doubts, if I have any, about their guiltiness. The evidence was most convincing and the whole cheating story now makes perfect sense. I just hope that the Ingrams and Whittock stop pretending they are innocent, which disgusts me even more than what they did on the show.
Emma, Northern Ireland

The peculiar way the Major (on several occasions) went for one answer firmly, then altered and went for another answer without knowing any of the correct answers implies fraud, or a degree of luck outside the bounds of probability. It was like tossing a coin ten times and getting ten heads!
AM Bellows, Jersey CI

To turn this sad and quite boring story into a film is totally ludacrous. These people have been found guilty, yes guilty of a crime, fraud. Now they will probably earn 1 million for the rights to their story. This is another sad indication that this country doesn't treat criminals as criminals but as celebrities. It is immoral and disgraceful and an insult to law-abiding citizens.

An hour and a half documentary was bad enough but a film, honestly. Are film makers so short of good material these days that this is best they can come up with? I hope it bombs. Major Ingram and cohorts should disappear into obscurity and be treated like the criminal cheats they are.
Richard Goodliff, England

A very unbalanced documentary which was nonetheless entertaining
George, UK
It was a voyeur's delight, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My main gripe was the choice of the overrated Martin Bashir as presenter, who I find charmless and over-rated. Making this documentary, though, was fine; however, a film, I feel, would challenge the integrity of the Millionaire show and be nothing more than a five-minute novelty act.
Thomas Giuseppe, UK

Two points: 1) The interest in the documentary is just so that people can take a view for themselves as to what went on - I can't imagine anyone being interested in a film. It's not that interesting a story.

2) Putting Martin Bashir in the middle of the documentary lost its credibility and made you constantly aware of the fact that it had been carefully edited to suit the programme makers (even if they do look guilty).
M, UK

An audacious modern-day fraud attempt that they would have got away with had it not been for their greed. None the less it was still an achievement that they won the million.

What a farce! Wish they had shown the two programmes the other way around though. Loved the advert for Benilyn on the first ad break!!
Keith, UK

From the documentary the Major was portrayed as guilty beyond reasonable doubt; he probably is guilty, but when do you ever get an unbiased view on anything these days?
Alison, England

Was there really a public interest served in bringing the case against the Major to a criminal court, with the trial costing the taxpayer an estimated 2 million? Who is the victim here? Celador have gained all the way down the line in this case, with increased publicity, sales of last night's documentary to the TV networks, and now potentially hugh profits from a film. Let's hope Celador donate the first 2m profits from the film to a suitable public fund.
Peter Harris, UK

It looks like they will become winners in the end - once the royalties from the proposed movie flood in!
Jon Sullivan, Portsmouth, England

I think Major made a mistake by giving the answer to the final question. He proved he is too much greedy. If he knew that he is cheating he could take half a million pounds by saying that he would take the money.
U M Janjua, England

A very unbalanced documentary which was nonetheless entertaining. It's a shame that they felt they had to broadcast the enhanced coughs, as we were unable to hear how they really sounded.
George, UK

Seeing the Major bumbling through the questions and changing his mind on answers with no good reason was what finished it off
James Ison, England
Great TV. If what we are told is true, this shows those stupid enough to get into debt are even more stupid trying to get out of it.
Clare Kleanthous, UK

The Major's attempts to cheat were just so crude and obvious. I'm absolutely amazed that all three defendants still hae the nerve to claim their innocence!! They must think we are all as stupid as themselves. I would at least have an ounce of respect for them if they actually had the decency to own up and admit to their wrongs.
Pete Lowson, UK

I had until last night kept an open mind about this but after watching the programme I do not think there is any way that the jury delivered the wrong verdict. The Major's body language and the way he kept u-turning on answers when he initially went for the wrong answer could not hide an outside force of help. Sorry Major, guilty as sin!
Brian, UK

The documentary was almost completely one-sided against the Major and his wife apart from one small clip of a press conference where he proclaimed he was innocent. You didn't really get the Ingrams' or Mr Whittock's side of the story or from any of there supporters. This would have been to the documentary's favour.

However it did put Celador's case with the relevent clips brilliantly well.

To be fair to them the full screening of the episode concerned on ITV2 afterwards did confirm to me that the accused were cheats. I just can't understand how no-one else including Chris Tarrent didn't work out why there and then and stopped the show before they won.
Matthew Ward, United Kingdom

Why don't they just come clean and admit they tried to pull a fast one? For me, the 1m question was so obvious. Maj Ingram did not exhibit the body language of a man about to gamble 468 thousand pounds on a whim after he originally discounted the correct answer. To me, the signals gave him confidence, and that showed in his manner.
Neil, Wiltshire, UK

These three are a disgrace. I'm surprised even Ingram and Whittock alone didn't go to jail. After all it was a million pound deception and not just for a couple of quid. No doubt they will now get TV work like the Hamiltons have done.
Phil Wright, England

Having watched the documentary I find it amazing that these greedy cheats have the gall to continue to protest their innocence. Had they stopped at the 125k mark then is is highly likely they would have got away with it - their greed was their own downfall. I have no sympathy for them what so ever and think they deserve everything they get.
Jo, UK

No shadow of doubt. Guilty as charged.
David Hamilton, England

Rather than be fascinated by the apparent fraud, I was more interested to see that Major Ingram's wife had appeared on WWTBAM previously, winning a 32000 prize. The odds of two people from the same family progressing through the 'random' selection procedure to actually appear on the show indicates that they were naturally lucky anyway, or maybe some other fraud needs to be investigated?
James, UK

After watching the documentary - there is no doubt in my mind that the three of them are absolutely guilty. This will make it VERY hard for them to protest their innocence. The programme was gripping viewing and was very well made, and it was hilarious but for all the wrong reasons. Seeing the Major bumbling through the questions and changing his mind on answers with no good reason was what finished it off.
James Ison, England, UK

I think the Ingrams should have been given the opportunity to appear on the programme
T Cooke, UK
This will show other would-be cheats, that they will be humiliated, and branded CHEATS and LIARS by the nation, just as the Ingram's and Whittock were.
Atal Chopra, UK

I'd be very interested to hear how many times Whittock coughed, other than in response to the questions from Chris Tarrant. The show paints a pretty damning picture, but if he is heard to cough frequently during the recording, it might paint a different picture... though I really doubt he does cough at any other time.
Christopher Pitbladdo, UK

It wasn't the coughing that showed they were guilty, it was the recorded phone conversation informing Mr Ingram that the money was being witheld and the police were now involved. He simply said that he would refute the allegations and the call probably lasted less than a minute. Can you imagine how a genuine winner would react on being told such news? Pathetic, and made even more so by his continual bleating protesting innocence.
Nick Mayers, England

The documentary was one-sided and presented only Celador's view of events, and with the benefit of hindsight and enhanced audio. A shameful programme.
Mark Perryman, UK

It seemed very convincing in some ways, and not in others. The coughs were bought up in volume, which for me gave no relation to what Mr Ingram would have heard. But his microphone (being on is chest as shown in picture) probably wouldn't have picked it up as he did.

I must say though, if this was a conspiracy, it was poorly executed. Mr Ingram obviously had no idea how dodgy he looked and sounded. Changing his answers eratically to choices he had just completely ruled out. This will though, make a good film.
Dan Garraway, UK

The programme was objective in the way it put forward the case from Celedor and ITV's point of view. I think the Ingrams should have been given the opportunity to appear on the programme. I don't think the case should be made into a film at all. I think Celedor are using this case as a way to make money.
T Cook, UK

The Major and his group should consider themselves "rumbled." They are risking imprisonment if they go through with their appeal!
Paul Nabekunda, UK

Fantastic. What's amazing is not that he thought he could get away with it, but that he was so rubbish. Good entertainment and I think no film could possibly be better.
Paul, UK




SEE ALSO:
Millionaire scam to become film
22 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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