ITV 'should not screen major's quiz scam'

James Morrison,Arts,Media Correspondent
Tuesday 26 November 2013 06:03

Kim Howells, the Culture minister, has attacked ITV's decision to screen Major Charles Ingram's fraudulent win on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

The outspoken minister said the channel had to make a "moral judgement" about the wisdom of broadcasting the previously unseen footage, to be shown over Easter.

ITV confirmed that the notorious con – which saw Major Ingram guided to a £1m win by strategically timed coughs from a fellow contestant – would be screened twice.

Footage of the key sequences, until now seen only in court at Major Ingram's trial, will be included in a one-off edition of ITV1's Tonight with Trevor McDonald, presented by Martin Bashir. Viewers with digital television will then be able to see a special edition of Millionaire featuring the whole show on ITV2.

Commenting on the plans, Mr Howells said: "I think people [at ITV] have to be very careful about this. They could create confusion about the seriousness of the crime.

"It involved a vast amount of money, and if they are now going to portray this somehow as an aspect of showbusiness and use it as a source of entertainment they are pushing the line.

Mr Howell's remarks come less than a week after Major Ingram, his wife, Diana, and lecturer Tecwen Whittock, were finally convicted of procuring £1m by deception at the end of a 22-day trial. The Ingrams were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £50,000 and the major faces being discharged from the Army.

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