After a great opener, Quiz continues with the same tone and style that made the first episode so appealing with this tense and absorbing follow-up slice of drama. This time Charles Ingram takes to the hot-seat and we see all the failings from behind the scenes that the Ingrams (and Tecwen of course) took advantage of to rig the game. Lapse security, an unscrambled broadcast able to be detected outside the building and audience mobile phones really paint ITV in a poor light here and it paves way for this massive scandal to take place.
It’s certainly an eye-opening account of what happened and although some liberties have clearly been taken to make Charles Ingram look like an empathetic victim in all of this, it’s also safe to assume this change has been made to give the show more warmth and depth. Michael Sheen continues to be the stand-out here though and his portrayal of Chris Tarrant is fantastic, capturing all the quips and the right vocal timbre to make for a compelling front-runner for the show.
While Adrian settles in for a new life somewhere in Wales, episode 2 of Quiz sees Charles preparing for a rehearsal run-through. Only, he’s pretty terrible at the fastest finger first and David is told not to worry, despite the obvious familial links he has to previous contestants.
Charles does make it in the hot-seat on the night though but he struggles early on with easy questions, leading Adrian to head outside and call his contacts. While he does, Paul and David scoff at Charles’ intellect (or lack thereof). The buzzer goes for the end of the night and Charles is forced to come back the next day. As Tarrant reads out the list of names back in the studio, one of those happens to be a contact from their book.
Diana phones Tecwen for a “quick chat” and this is inevitably what sparks up the start of this deceit. The infamous coughs come during every question and backstage, David Briggs learns from one of the studio producers that Charles is “like a new man” today. At £16,000, Charles changes his mind at the last second and catches Tarrant off-guard.
Behind the scenes however, David is stunned and quickly phones Paul, telling him something bad is happening and they’re pretty sure Charles is cheating. Using this coughing method, Charles gets all the way up to £125,000, raising serious alarm bells for the studio executives as they start to figure out something is seriously wrong. Even worse, the coughing becomes a little too prominent and obvious, starting to get the attention of the different contestants too.
The £1 million question sees Tecwen ask the others around him for the answer but the sound mixer picks up on the coughing and whispering. On-screen the celebrations are massive, with glitter raining down from the sky and plenty of applause as Charles wins. While Charles and Diana laugh all the way to their lush hotel room, Paul and David listen to the recordings from that night and hear the infamous coughing.
They play it back to the Director in the Board Room and decide not to air the £1 million game, given how obvious this sign is. David and Ruth meanwhile, go and visit the Ingrams, immediately sensing something amiss. Their meeting brings with it new doubts over the validity of the Ingram’s win and they head back to the board room with the conclusion that they’ve been cheating.
It turns out ITV failed to scramble the signal from inside the studio meaning people can listen in from outside. Even worse, they don’t search the audience for a mobile phone. On the back of this, Paul phones Charles and reads out a written statement regarding them going to the police and noticing irregularities in his game. Charles tells Diana what happened and phones Paul back , questioning the validity of his statement.
On the back of this, Diana goes straight to the media and publishes her article about winning, determined to press ahead with her book about the inner-workings of the game. The police get involved not long after and have a warrant to search their property. As both Charles and Diana are taken away, we skip forward and see the defence present their case… and an iconic cough from Tecwen ends the episode.
With a few bites of humour and more empathy given toward Charles Ingram, Quiz continues to capture the essence of the game but also manages to inject some tension into proceedings as we see the men and women behind the scenes scrambling to try and make sense of what’s going on. These cutaways to the sound engineer, Paul and David, as well as the audience and contestants, really helps add to the experience and it makes for quite the exciting scene – even if the outcome is obvious.
Given the third episode will inevitably tackle the court case now, Quiz delivers another solid episode and with the third and final part to come, ITV could be onto a real winner here and potentially a candidate for one of the best shows of the year.