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Monday 23rd September 2019

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen to play Chris Tarrant in upcoming ITV drama

He's had to ditch the beard

Actor Michael Sheen is set to portray TV presenter Chris Tarrant in an upcoming drama about popular game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The Hollywood star, 50, will play the broadcaster in Quiz - a three-part ITV adaptation of the programme's infamous cough-cheating scandal.

Read more: Viewers blast Jeremy Clarkson for "helping" contestant win £16k on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

Quiz will tell the story of former Army Major Charles Ingram, who took home the seven-figure prize when he was on in 2001.

Two years later, he was found guilty of cheating as an accomplice in the audience, lecturer Tecwen Whittock, was coughing to help him get the right answers.

Ingram, along with his wife Diane and Whittock, managed to avoid jail. But the three were heavily fined and handed suspended prison sentences.

Charles Ingram was on the show in 2001 (Credit: ITV)

According to a Telegraph report at the time, the judge told them they should "thank [their] lucky stars" they were not being locked up.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin made it clear that he had decided not to jail them because he did not want to leave their children, then aged seven to 12, without their parents.

In Quiz, Pride and Prejudice actor Matthew Macfadyen will play the so-called 'Coughing Major' alongside Fleabag star Sian Clifford, who will portray his wife, Diana. The cast will also include Helen McCrory from Peaky Blinders, Casualty actor Mark Bonnar and Trollied's Aisling Bea.

It's an extraordinary and thoroughly British story.

Writer James Graham is adapting Quiz from his play of the same name, with Stephen Frears directing.

He said: "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."

Sian Clifford and Matthew Macfadyen as Diane and Charles Ingram (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson makes epic blunder on Millionaire

Polly Hill, ITV's head of drama, agreed that Quiz will be "thoroughly British".

She said: "I am delighted to be bringing James Graham's wonderful play Quiz to screen on ITV. It's an extraordinary and thoroughly British story and is going to be a real treat for our audience."

ITV has broadcast Who Wants To Be A Millionaire since its launch in 1998.

Last year, the programme returned to our screens with former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson at the helm.

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