'Succession's' Matthew Macfadyen, 'Fleabag' Star Sian Clifford Join Stephen Frears' 'Quiz' for AMC, ITV

'Quiz' Still - H - 2019
Credit: Left Bank Pictures

From 'Brexit' writer James Graham and 'The Crown' producers Left Bank, the three-parter — also starring Michael Sheen and Helen McCrory — will explore the notorious British 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' quiz show cheating scandal.

Matthew Macfadyen, Michael Sheen, Helen McCrory and Sian Clifford have been cast in Quiz, a three-part drama from Stephen Frears for ITV and AMC and produced by The Crown's Left Bank Pictures. 

The project — written by James Graham, whose HBO/Channel 4 film Brexit recently landed an Emmy nomination — will tell the extraordinary story of British couple Charles and Diana Ingram, who made headlines 18 years ago following their victory on the hit quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the subsequent accusations that they had cheated.

Ingram, a former British Army major; his wife Diana; and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, who also was sitting in the audience, were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on what was the most popular game show globally in 2001. The trio stood trial for conspiring to have Whittock cough during the taping of the show to signify the correct answers to the multiple choice questions posed to Ingram by host Chris Tarrant.

Frears (A Very English Scandal, Philomena, The Queen) directs, while Macfadyen — currently starring on HBO's Succession — will play Ingram, Sheen will play Tarrant and Clifford — who earned an Emmy nomination for her turn as Fleabag's (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) sister on the second season of the hit Brit comedy Fleabag — will play Diana. Meanwhile, Mark Bonnar will star as Celador Television chairman Paul Smith, Helen McCrory as QC Sonia Woodley, Michael Jibson as Whittock and Aisling Bea as ITV entertainment commissioner Claudia Rosencrantz.

Graham adapted Quiz from his own critically acclaimed, Olivier-nominated play, which premiered in Chichester in 2017 before transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End in 2018. The project was commissioned by Polly Hill, ITV's head of drama.

"I am delighted to be bringing James Graham’s wonderful play Quiz to screen on ITV," said Hill. "It’s testament to James’ brilliant scripts that Stephen Frears is directing, which together with Left Bank Pictures producing, promises to deliver a very special drama. It’s an extraordinary and thoroughly British story and is going to be a real treat for our audience."

Added Graham: “I was gripped by this story over 15 years ago, and I’m still gripped now. It’s a very English heist. Putting it onto stage at Chichester and the West End was such a lot of fun, and with a new team we now get to re-imagine the whole story afresh for television. I have to pay credit to the late investigative journalist Bob Woffinden, who along with James Plaskett wrote the book Bad Show that kicked the whole creative process off by asking the question — what if the Major is innocent?”

Quiz is a Left Bank Pictures co-production for ITV and AMC and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television, which also owns and distributes Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? worldwide. It is being produced by Alice Pearse (Origin, Gregor) and executive produced by Dan Winch (A Very English Scandal, Broadchurch), William Village, James Graham, Stephen Frears and Left Bank CEO Andy Harries.