ITV's Quiz leaves some doubt about Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and the coughing major's guilt, but wins the top prize for drama
It may be premature to say it, but this week we saw the greatest scene on British TV this year. It comes midway through the third episode of Quiz (ITV, Mon-Weds, 9pm) and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire fraudsters Charles and Diana Ingram are practising for an appearance on the show.
Walking in the countryside in wellies and Barbours, Diana is drilling Charles on the pop music of the day.
“What were Craig David and his girlfriend doing on Wednesday?! she asks her husband.
“I believe they were making love by then, and Thursday and Friday too.”
“Oh, they just chilled.”
Said deadpan by the brilliant Matthew McFadyen and Sian Clifford, it’s a scene typical of this terrific drama.
Quiz is a dramatisation of the events of 2001, when Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diana and accomplice Tecwen Whittock apparently conspired to win a million pounds on WWTBAM by coughing at certain appropriate moments.
The show metaphorically – and sometimes literally – looks down the barrel of the camera with an eyebrow raised halfway up its forehead, as if to say ‘we know this is ridiculous, you know this is ridiculous, but let’s have some fun with it’.
The cast is uniformly terrific, with even the smallest parts pulling their weight, especially Trystan Gravelle as Diana’s nervy, desperate brother Adrian.
But it has fun with its subject matter, it never sneers at the Ingrams, They’re treated sympathetically, and leaves a huge amount of doubt over whether they really did cheat.
With a fantastic supporting turn by Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant, Quiz deserves to win, and win big.
I’ll Get This (BBC2, Tuesdays, 10pm) shouldn’t work, but it does, mainly because of the booze, but clever questions mean you always get something revealing in this weird parlour game.
Watching Dinnerladies (Netflix, streaming now) to try to enliven the lockdown has made me wish Victoria Wood was still around to bring some gaiety to the nation. She’s much missed.