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14 April 2020, 19:33 | Updated: 14 April 2020, 19:36
Who is Celador producer Paul Smith and what did he have to do with the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire coughing scandal?
The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? ‘coughing scandal’ has become the subject of an ITV drama, Quiz.
Based on James Graham's hit play of the same name and directed by Stephen Frears, the three-part series sees Charles Ingram (Matthew Macfadyen) and his wife Diana (Sian Clifford) accused of cheating their way to the jackpot.
While most people have heard of the infamous events which took place on TV in 2001, little is known about what went on behind the scenes and how TV producer Paul Smith (Mark Bonnar) was involved in uncovering the plot.
So, here’s everything you need to know about Paul Smith and the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire coughing scandal.
Paul Smith - founder of UK production company Celador - first pitched the idea for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? back in 1995.
While executives at ITV weren’t interested to begin with, several years later it found its way onto our TV screens.
The format itself was created by David Briggs - played by Elliot Levey in Quiz - as well as Mike Whitehill and Stephen Knight.
In ITV’s show Quiz, we see Paul and David pitch the idea to the ITV boss at the time, making him bet his own cash. This actually happened, and Paul even asked the question about the length of the Titanic.
The producer also struck up an agreement with ITV where he said he would hand over £500,000 worth of shares in Celador (belonging to him, his wife and friend Jasper Carrott), if the show failed.
Cash Mountain was the show’s original title, but David decided to swap it for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? referencing the Cole Porter song in the film High Society.
When Charles Ingram appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, a sound technician called Paul to inform him of their suspicions and asked if filming should be stopped.
While Paul said no at the time, he reviewed the tapes after filming and ended up calling the police.
He later informed Charles of "irregularities" in his game and stated they would not be airing the programme or authorising payment of the cheque.
Paul Smith ended up leading the investigation into the Ingrams, which led to their arrest and prosecution, and testified against them in court.
Scottish actor Mark Bonnar is playing the role of Paul Smith in Quiz.
The 51-year-old is well-known for his roles in Shetland, Line of Duty and Casualty.
Speaking about his role, Mark said writer James had a lot of help from Paul when it came to the research for the story.
He told Edinburgh News: “The great thing about James’s writing is that he falls distinctly in the middle. You don’t really side with anybody. He has done a remarkable job of withholding judgement on anybody. He has managed to pull off something which I think leaves you with sympathy for all involved.
“He had a lot of help with his research from Paul but was also in touch with Charles and Diana.”
While his character led the investigation into the Ingrams, Mark himself is less convinced of their guilt, as he continued: “Although they were found guilty in court, it still remains one of the greatest mysteries of our generation – did they or didn’t they? They’re still protesting their innocence, but Paul is still absolutely convinced of their guilt.”