Winner of millionaire quiz show demands his prize

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The Independent Online

The jackpot winner of Britain's most popular television quiz demanded his £1m prize money last night and asked for the show to be broadcast to prove he had not cheated.

Army officer Charles Ingram said allegations he may have been helped by coughs from a member of the audience have caused harm to his reputation and he has demanded an apology from ITV and the makers of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Celador Productions.

Mr Ingram said: "I would like Celador to transmit the entire programme. I would also like letters of apology ... and my million quid back."

Scotland Yard's special inquiry team was called in last week after Mr Ingram from Easterton, Wiltshire, won the jackpot prize on the ITV show in a programme which has yet to be screened. The investigation centres on the sound of coughing from the audience, which the show's producers believe may have been a code to the correct answers.

Payment of the prize money has been suspended and police are thought to be checking mobile phone records.

The 38-year-old father of three daughters vehemently denies cheating and said his wife, who was in the audience, did not have a mobile phone with her while he was in the hot seat being questioned by the show's presenter, Chris Tarrant.

"I didn't notice any coughing. I can't say there was no coughing going on but I did not hear or use it to help me," he said. "My wife was in the audience but no other family members, relatives or associates."

Mr Ingram, a major in the Royal Engineers, said he intends to take legal action because the accusation had damaged his reputation and Celador had failed to clarify the nature of its allegations by his deadline of 4pm yesterday.