New series of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will see contestants’ Phone A Friend helpers surrounded by security to make sure they don’t Google the answers
- ITV bosses fear phone-a-friend associates could cheat with their smartphones
- Security officers will accompany them to make sure they do not Google answers
- Army major Charles Ingram was found to have cheated on Millionaire in 2001
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will deploy security officers to the homes of ‘phone-a-friend’ associates to ensure fair play when it returns to screens in the New Year.
A new series of the popular quiz show begins on January 1, with ITV bosses aware that possibilities for cheating have expanded greatly since the first episode in 1998.
Producer Fiona Clark said the ‘phone-a-friend’ lifeline had attracted particular concern in the age of the smartphone.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, presented by Jeremy Clarkson (pictured on the show earlier this year), will deploy security officers to the homes of ‘phone-a-friend’ associates
Writing for Broadcast magazine, she said new measures had been put in place to thwart potential scammers.
She said: ‘With the advance of Google, smart phones and tablets, the management and security around lifeline ‘Phone-A-Friend’ needed to grow.
‘A small team was put in place to oversee and deploy fully-briefed security officers to each person’s home to ensure fair play.
The extra security had ‘added a new financial and logistical aspect to the budget’ in the new series, she said.
Former Top Gear host Clarkson, 58, will host the series for a second time after he presented seven episodes of the revived quiz show earlier this year.
Millionaire was rocked by scandal in 2001 when Army major Charles Ingram (pictured on the show) was found to have cheated his way to the top prize with a coughing associate
He sits in the chair once occupied by Chris Tarrant, who hosted the programme from its beginning in 1998 until it was taken off air in 2014.
Millionaire was rocked by scandal in 2001 when Army major Charles Ingram was found to have cheated his way to the top prize by having a friend cough from the audience to signal the correct answer.
Ingram, his wife Diana and his coughing associate Tecwen Whittock were all found guilty of cheating and handed suspended jail sentences.
In the £1million pound question Ingram was asked the name for the number one followed by a hundred zeroes.
With the help of coughing university lecturer Whittock he correctly identified it as a ‘googol’, but he did not receive the payout after the fraud was revealed.