Based on real events, James Graham’s new play Quiz is now playing at the Noël Coward Theatre. We speak to one of the stars of the show …
Quiz is based on the scandal surrounding the TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? For those who don’t know about it, what happened?
Well, Charles Ingram, Diana Ingram and Tecwen Whittock were accused and convicted of trying to defraud the show of a million pounds by cheating. This play examines the evidence of that …
This scandal was so monumental a lot of people can recollect whereabouts they were when it happened in 2001. What was going on in your life at that point?
I was living just off Portobello Road at the time, succeeding superlatively at being an unemployed actor.
How relevant is the story now do you think?
Extremely relevant, it investigates the phenomena of ‘fake news’ which is hugely apposite.
You play Chris Tarrant and other well known faces in the show, do you feel that there’s more pressure portraying a real life person that everyone knows?
I suppose so, yeah. People will, obviously, come with expectations, so there is some pressure to meet those …
Is this the first time you have played a real person?
I think so … A living one anyway.
Did you ever get in touch with Chris Tarrant for any tips or for his side of the story on the turn of events?
No, I presumed Mr Tarrant would be far too busy to talk to me!
What drew you to being a part of this production in the first place?
Simple, the writer James Graham and director Daniel Evans.
James Graham is probably one of the best political playwrights around, how has he brought those talents to the table with Quiz?
In his usual, inimitable way of being intimidatingly clever, endearingly modest and a right laugh.
The show features onstage seating, how does it feel to have some of the audience in such close proximity?
A joy, I like seeing the whites of their eyes …
What’s your own favourite quiz show?
Probably University Challenge, I feel incredibly clever if I get just one question right.
How well do you think you would do as a contestant on a quiz show?
In my head I’d be fantastic, in reality I’d be abysmal.
Quiz has a limited twelve week run at the Noël Coward Theatre, what are your plans after the production?
I shall be back to focusing hard on my exemplary career as an unemployed actor.
Greg was talking to Phoebe Cole
Photography by Johan Persson
Noël Coward Theatre – until 16th June