A million-pound winner allegedly used coughing signals to cheat
Regis Philbin, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Credit: Regis: Maria Melin; Ingram: Mark Giddings /Peter Simpson/Sun Newspaper

We’ve heard of speaking in code, but this is ridiculous. On Nov. 22, London police arrested British army major Charles Ingram, 38, and his wife, Diana, 37 — both champs of the British ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” — claiming that during a Sept. 10 taping, Major Ingram was aided by an accomplice in the audience coughing correct answers in code. (So much for those lifelines, eh?) A rep for the show’s production company, Celador, won’t comment on the police inquiry — but says they now ban cell phones in the studio and, in a CIA-like addition, train infrared cameras on the crowd when lights are dimmed.

The disputed episode, in which Major Ingram won 1 million pounds ($1.4 million), has never aired. (In a statement, he said, ”I completely and utterly refute these allegations.”) On this side of the Atlantic, Regis and Co. don’t plan any changes. As for policing telltale coughs, an ABC spokeswoman shrugs: ”There are just general rules of courtesy that go along with being an audience member.” In other words, don’t forget to pack Sucrets.

Additional reporting by Caris Davis

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