Welcome back to our second installment of Quiz, which I've already summarized in episode one! You're welcome! It's such an entertaining show, join me after the break for its continuation!
Meanwhile, somewhere in Wales...
Adrian Pollock (Trystan Gravelle) readies his breakfast outside his camping trailer, lining up a series of pagers, one that's about to be rung by his sister, Diana Ingram (Sian Clifford from Fleabag!). He heads to a telephone box (remember telephone boxes??) while Diana's husband Charles (Matthew MacFayden - sorry about not being more effusive about him, I don't believe I know any of his work personally) practices answering questions asked on the TV on quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.
Charles will be the third member of Diana's family to appear on WWTBAM, he's going to benefit from everything Adrian and Diana have learned. Charles is brought in on a pre-show practice for Fastest Finger, thankfully his brother-in-law Adrian built a practice device a while ago for much more practice.
He has the Slowest Finger in rehearsal, but what's really interesting is that they know exactly who he is. They know he's connected to Adrian (four times in Fastest Finger, one time in the chair) and Diana (also at least once in Fastest Finger and once in the chair). Kerry the Floor Manager (Maggie Service) gives director David Briggs (Eliott Levey) a heads-up, they'll be watching slow and doddery Charles closely.
Charles didn't even apply to be on the show, Diana entered his name without advising him, she's determined that one of them should win the big jackpot of one million pounds. She and Adrian only managed 32,000 pounds each, which wasn't enough to keep Adrian's fat out of the fire and why he's gone on the lam.
He sneaks into Charles' dressing room in a laughable disguise, did I mention this is all based on a play based on the true story of Charles and Diana Ingram?
Time to play! Charles makes it into the hotseat with host Chris Tarrant (Michael Sheen) who is none too pleased to see Diana in the audience. Again.
Ohhhhhhh Charles runs into trouble almost immediately (how can he not have ever watched Coronation Street??) and I fully understand the point of all those pagers Adrian had laid out by his camper. There were four, Adrian must be planning to buzz one or the other based on the corresponding letter of the correct answer, like A, B, C or D.
Adrian can't get a signal inside the studio, though, and can't work his pager magic so Charles is forced to Ask the Audience.
One note: Charles was slightly dim but vehemently against cheating, I wonder what's changed?
He uses two lifelines getting to 4,000 pounds, man, he's not going to last long at all. He is still in the seat when taping finishes, so he'll be brought back the following day. So will new Fastest Finger contestants, including Tecwen Whittock (Michael Jibson) whom we met twice last time. Once when he introduced himself to the Ingrams in court and the other time when he stalked Adrian to his home to ask for a Fastest Finger device.
An awkward conversation with Floor Manager Kerry, who has their hotel details. The Ingrams don't intend to stay, Charles has to work the next day. He's a major in the British Army.
Diana calls Tecwen from home, introducing herself in a way that flatly contradicts their later statements that they had never met.
Host Chris Tarrant is a hoot to watch, he introduces Charles to the crowd again as Tecwen sits in a Fastest Finger seat and Diana watches nervously from the gallery.
Charles gets stuck almost immediately (he doesn't really like trivia, does he?) so starts to read out the possible answers slowly one by one. Perhaps unrelated, Tecwen happens to cough as he says the correct answer.
On he plays to the 32,000 pounds level where a question about music uses up his final lifeline, 50/50.
*How can he not know who Craig David is?? "Fill Me In"? "Seven Days"? The man has a golden voice and requires none of the emotional heavy lifting of listening to anything by R. Kelly.
He's completely stuck, murmuring Craig David over and over to himself when Diana takes matters into her own hands, covering her microphone and coughing twice.
Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant is the best thing going on this show, and he has stiff competition from the rest of the cast. He's excellent at pointing out the inconsistencies of Charles's answers, he changes midway without any rational train of thought to the right.answer and that's bringing everyone's heads up.
David is shocked when Charles makes it past the 32,000 range, slowly, he calls Paul Smith (Mark Bonnar!) to ring the alarm, he can sense that Charles is cheating although he can't see how. Normal people don't play like that.
At the end of Day 2, Chris wiggles a 250,000 pound cheque at Charles then we're into another question he doesn't answer immediately. Tecwen coughs at a pivotal point but Diana says "oh no" so I don't know what to think! What did we do before Google??!!
I could spell, that's what was before Google.
Charles is up to half a million pounds! But there's no glitter prepared for the million pound question, the show producer forgot to notify the GlitterMan (Dean Nolan)!
I want to be the Glitter Man! Updating resume.
You can see how well Tecwen is situated to help Charles.
Unfortunately, he doesn't know the answer to the million pound question, but the guy next to him does. This is all discussed in whispers between mic'd up contestants, so the sound tech can't help but notice the fortuitous timing of Tecwen's next coughing fit.
Charles isn't making things any less obvious by stating that he knows nothing of something then immediately choosing it as the (right) answer, that has to be raising eyebrows more than anything.
There's the longest commercial break in history before we find out if he wins while Kerry and the show producers stare at each other.
He wins! GlitterMan does his thing and Diana joins her victorious husband in the centre of the stage. Chris has no idea how Charles did that, he's the most incredible player ever!
That's certainly one way to put it.
They head to a hotel to celebrate their hard-earned million pounds.
Paul and David sit with the sound tech who raised the alarm about coughing, he's able to show them the pattern.
The next day we've got a summit meeting at ITV to discuss the predicament. We've got Claudia Rosencrantz (Aisling Bea), Head of Programming David Liddiment (Risteard Cooper), press exec Nicola Howson (Jasmyn Banks), Lionel from Legal (Paul Bazely) along with Paul and David from the show. They don't even know if and how it's illegal, but they've got to do something.
Public Relations head Ruth Settle (Seraphina Beh) and David head to the Ingram hotel room to get them prepped for their publicity tour, David comes back to report on their absolute guilt.
It's not just the coughing, there's also the matter of mobile phones being used in the studio, which nobody's supposed to have but also: nobody is checking. The show signal can be picked up outside the studio, so...
Wait, should they cancel the cheque or is it not theft until Charles cashes it? Or is that entrapment? A hilarious discussion ensues, held by grown people being paid for their time.
I keep expecting someone to say "Don't panic! Don't panic!"
There's too much confusion about the coughing, which also takes place on the wrong answers, is that enough to go on? Should they air the show that evening or not?
This is a momentous date for other reasons than a possibly fraudulent million pound win on a quiz show, it's also September 11, 2001 and I don't foresee ITV having any trouble finding something else to air.
The whole world stops and gathers around screens. We all remember where we were when 9/11 happened.
Charles calls Paul Smith about his prize, notifying him of the company's suspicions and that they will not be airing the episode or paying him at this point.
Charlies politely listens then says he refutes it completely and hangs up nicely.
Diana doesn't even believe that it was Paul Smith that called Charles, she calls the number back that night and even after receiving evidence, goes ahead with a press interview and photo appointment to publicize her upcoming book of tricks to help win the show.
The producers are not happy. A full investigation follows, they are able to narrow the coughing down to one of five Fastest Fingers players.
Charles and Diana are arrested.
We're back in court with Tecwen, the Ingrams and their lawyer Sonia Woodley QC (HelenMcCrory) who has a completely different theory to explain. She blames the paranoia of the show runners, she'll be presenting the case of the defense. But not yet! We're out for today, cheers everyone!
It's just a fun show, right? The music moves us along, it's funny and fast and highly entertaining. I am quite enjoying. Until next time!