Chris Tarrant has revealed he grew suspicious about a contestant who cheated to win Who Wants to be a Millionaire? following an off-stage row.
Mr Tarrant, who was host of the show, has now revealed the Ingrams’ joy of winning the six-figure sum was short-lived and suspicions were raised following an argument between Major and his wife in the dressing room.
Writing in new book It’s Not A Proper Job, which has been serialised in the Daily Mail, he said: "I went back towards the Ingrams’ dressing room to congratulate them. But I was stopped in my tracks by Eve, a lovely girl in our research team who was sobbing.
"‘What’s wrong, Eve?’ I asked. ‘It’s been the most amazing night.’
‘No,’ she said, ‘the Major has just told me very forcibly to get out of his dressing room and eff off. I went to see them with a big bottle of champagne, but they were having this massive row.’ Now, it doesn’t matter who you are, and how unhappy you may be as a couple, if you have just won £1 million, surely you would be in a celebratory mood?"
Following the row, the show’s production team began examining the tapes and eventually discovered coughing patterns from the audience.
TV bosses then claimed Whittock, who sat waiting to take part in the next ‘Fastest Finger First’ round, coughed whenever Ingram read out a correct answer.
The major’s odd behaviour on-screen raised alarm bells among the crew and the production company decided not to broadcast the show, suspending the pay out.
The couple were both found guilty of conspiring to cheat the show and they handed suspended jail terms in 2003.
Whittock, a college lecturer from Cardiff, was convicted of assisting the Ingrams and given a 12-month suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay a fine and costs.
All three continue to maintain their innocence. Ingram and Diana vowed to fight their convictions.