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Cough Cheat Millionaire transcript

The transcript of the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” episode at the centre of a current UK court case; the producers claim that the contestant cheated, with the aid of a coughing accomplice. Going by this transcript, it’s an open-and-shut case IMO.

Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 09:56:42 +0000
From: Tom Farrell (spam-protected)
To: (spam-protected)
Subject: cough cheat millionaire transcript

The major answered the first three questions, but got into difficulty on question six, using the “ask the audience” lifeline when confronted with a question about Coronation Street. He struggled on the next question about the location of the river Foyle and phoned a friend.

As the questions became harder, Major Ingram often appeared unsure and wrestled out loud with several options, often going for a different answer from the one he initially appeared to choose.

Mr Hilliard said there was “a bit of an attempt to make it look like a sweat, some furrowing of the brow … complete changes of mind coincide with the coughs; if you look at the whole picture, that’s what’s going on.”

Major Ingram struggled on question eight, when he was asked who Jacqueline Kennedy’s second husband had been. On two occasions, when he said the correct answer – Aristotle Onassis – out loud, a cough was heard, which the prosecution claims came from Mr Whittock.

For £125,000, Major Ingram was asked about the Holbein painting the Ambassadors.

Major Ingram: “I think I’m going to go for Holbein.”

A cough is heard. Major Ingram says this is his final answer, and is told he is right.

During the next question there was a series of coughs as Major Ingram struggled with the question.

Tarrant asked: “What kind of garment is an Anthony Eden? An overcoat, hat, shoe, tie?”

Major Ingram: “I think it is a hat.”


Major Ingram: “Again I’m not sure. I think it is…”


Major Ingram: “I am sure it is a hat. Am I sure?”


Major Ingram: “Yes, hat, it’s a hat.”

To cheers, Tarrant told him it was the right answer. Then for the £500,000 question, he was asked: “Baron Haussmann is best known for his planning of which city? Rome, Paris, Berlin, Athens.”

Major Ingram: “I think it is Berlin. I think Haussmann is a more German name than Italian or Parisian or Athens. I am really not sure. I’m never sure. If I was at home, I would be saying Berlin if I was watching this on TV.”

A loud cough was then heard, and the prosecution claim that Mr Whittock resorted to the “desperate measure” of saying the word “no” under cover of a cough.

Major Ingram: “I do not think it’s Paris.”


Major Ingram: “I do not think it’s Athens, I am sure it is not Rome. I would have thought it’s Berlin but there’s a chance it is Paris but I am not sure. Think, think, think! I know I have read this, I think it is Berlin, it could be Paris. I think it is Paris.”


Major Ingram: “Yes, I am going to play.”

Tarrant: “Hang on, where are we?”

Major Ingram: “I am just talking to myself. It is either Berlin or Paris. I think it is Paris.”


Major Ingram: “I am going to play Paris.”

Tarrant: “You were convinced it was Berlin.”

Major Ingram: “I know. I think it’s Paris.”

Tarrant: “He thought it was Berlin, Berlin, Berlin. You changed your answer
to Paris. That brought you £500,000. What a man! What a man. Quite an amazing man.”

Then came the £1m pound question: “A number one followed by 100 zeros is known by what name? A googol, a megatron, a gigabit or a nanomole?”

Major Ingram: “I am not sure.”

Tarrant: “Charles, you’ve not been sure since question number two.”

Major Ingram: “The doubt is multiplied. I think it is nanomole but it could be a gigabit, but I am not sure. I do not think I can do this one. I do not think it is a megatron. I do not think I have heard of a googol.”


Major Ingram: “Googol, googol, googol. By a process of elimination I have to think it’s a googol but I do not know what a googol is. I do not think it’s a gigabit, nanomole, and I do not think it’s a megatron. I really do think it’s a googol.”

Tarrant: “But you think it’s a nanomole. You have never heard of a googol.”

Major Ingram: “It has to be a googol.”

Tarrant: “It’s also the only chance you will have to lose £468,000. You are
going for the one you have never heard of.”

Major Ingram: “I do not mind taking the odd risk now and again. My strategy has been direct so far – take it by the bit and go for it. I’ve been very positive, I think. I do not think it’s a gigabit, I do not think it’s a nanomole or megatron. I am sure it’s a googol.”


Major Ingram: “Surely, surely.”

Tarrant: “You lose £468,000 if you are wrong.”

Major Ingram: “No, it’s a googol. God, is it a googol? Yes, it’s a googol. Yes, yes, it’s a googol.”


Major Ingram: “I am going to play googol.”

After a break, Tarrant said: “He initially went for nanomole, he then went through the various options again. He then went for googol because he had never heard of it and he had heard of the other three. You’ve just won £1m.”

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