Did two British champions of the hit show cheat -- with coughing?

By Nicholas Fonseca
December 07, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
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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.

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