Thursday, December 20, 2007

(214) Third time lucky?

At a car boot fair in November 2003, the organiser, Phil Slocombe, publicly told me this joke -
"Major Charles Ingram has committed suicide. The Army has announced that they will pay for the funeral, but not the coffin. "
I instantly shouted in protest; "Ingram is innocent!"
My mother, whose maiden name was Ingram, happened to be there on a visit from the UK, and moaned publicly that I had mentioned that her name had been Ingram, as she did not even want to be linked with such types.

At 8:20 a.m. on May 14th 2004 I was thinking on how the statements of the executive producer of the UK Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Rod Taylor, concerning how Charles Ingram had answered the questions were, if true, sound reasons for thinking that he had been up to something.
The snag for Celador was that their own broadcast on the Major Fraud TV documentary showed Taylor´s version of events to be patently false.
In the background on TV my son was watching a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and a character said "If I don´t have any evidence I´ll just have to make some."

Following the appearance of Bob Woffinden´s article in the Daily Mail of October 9th -
"Is the coughing Major innocent?",
I received an e mail from someone with whom I had lost touch - Candice Temple.
She expressed her interest.
The previous reference to her in Coincidences was also apropos an event on October 9th, of 1992.

On Oct 12th 2004, three days after Woffinden´s article, I was asked to appear in live interview on this matter on Radio Wilts at 12:32. 5 mins after I get off the phone this e mail arrived -

Maurice Boland here.
I'm e-mailing you apropos inviting you to join me this evening as my guest on my radio show. We are based in Marbella and broadcast across the Costa Del Sol. We do this by telephone link. I hope I have the correct James as the subject of the interview will be Major Charles Ingram. Please come back to me to confirm a telephone number so we can get in contact to set this interview up.
Best wishes. Maurice Boland

That evening I spoke for almost ten minutes on his show and stated that I was 95% sold on the innocence of the Millionaire Three.
My brother, Neil Ingram, lived in Marbella.

On October 14th 2004 I sent an e mail to Lawrence Garman with the u.r.l.s for both my essay and also for Woffinden´s Daily Mail piece, which was temporarily on line.
He replied next day saying he thought that they were guilty. We exchanged several e mails, he asking if I thought them guilty, and my saying that I was very confident of their innocence.
The last one was a surprise to me -

James, I learn that, by way of an extraordinary coincidence that the trial Judge of the millionaire three, Jeffery Rivlin ,is first cousin and close personal friend of none other than Charlie Gale. In fact I recall getting some feedback on this from Charlie the day prior to the verdict,
Rgds, L.

Charles Gale was a Londoner we had both known for years. I then pointed out that this was not the only coincidence concerning the Judge.
In his Guardian report of April 19th 2003, Jon Ronson said that his mother also was a cousin of Judge Rivlin. As a child, Ronson had also attended the same synagogue as Diana´s family, the Pollocks.

On December 3rd 2004, Bob Woffinden visited the Ingrams again in their Wiltshire home. This time Diana´s brother, Adrian Pollock, was also present.
Another link to the judge came out, and on December 7th Bob e mailed me, mentioning -

It was confirmed (don’t know if you know this) that the Pollock family & the Rivlin family (i.e. the trial judge) used to attend the same synagogue in Cardiff.

(See the Jon Ronson link to the Ingram family and the same synagogue at the foot of point (d) in Entry 240.)

On November 8th 2004 I received a forwarded e mail from the Portia website, in which a woman signing herself ´Tanya´ said she would very much like to get in touch with me as she too strongly believed Charles Ingram to be innocent and wished to do what she could to help.

I had received an e mail from a Tanya the previous December on the same subject, and in it she had expressed gratitude on behalf of the Ingrams for my efforts to clear their names.
So I assumed this to be the same lady.

But it was not: she was Charles´ half-sister

"...and I know that he is innocent, but have no idea as to how to go about trying to prove it. I read the article in the Daily Mail (well, I have obviously kept it, plus the majority of other articles that have appeared in the press) and also the paper that you wrote for, and it brought me so much hope that there was someone out there who was on Charles's side, that I wanted to get in touch with you to see whether there was anythign that I could do to help.
I know that my mother, Charles's mother also, is very keen to get in touch with you also - would you mind it I passed on your email to her?
I very much look forward to hearing from you."

I explained that I would soon be in London, and a rendezvous was arranged between myself, Bob Woffinden, Tanya, her sister Helen and their mother at a london coffee shop for the morning of Nov 14th.

Meantime, I tried again to get on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The calls could not be made from outside the UK, so on Nov 11th 2004 I flew in from Alicante in the hope of qualifying for a recording on the 15th.
On each seat on the plane was a gift copy of the Daily Mail. I noted that a question in the Quick Quiz section was "What is the name of Charles Ingram´s wife?"

I made most of the calls from Murray Sharp´s place in Leicester Square, and about 30% of them from nearby internet cafés. One such café was just beneath the offices of Capital Radio where, for many years and indeed still for some time whilst he was also hosting Who Wants To Millionaire?, Chris Tarrant had presented his Radio show.
When making entries for another edition of the show from that café on January 8th 2005, I found that Chris Morgan of Streatham chess club was playing on a chess internet site at one of the adjacent computers.

On the early evening of November 12th 2004, Murray started arguing with me about the projected phone bill.
I explained that, as agreed, I would leave a deposit to cover some and that he, when he was in receipt of his itemised bill, would forward it to me. He started harping on about there being added VAT on this bill and so the calls were to be more expensive than I was making out.

Whilst I stood my ground we became aware of something audible from another room on a TV show called Judge Judy. I had only ever glimpsed it once before, about four years previously.
It was real court room coverage, and a mother of three was being justly criticised by Judge Judy for her having run up a bill in the region of $1600 through phoning her boyfriend who was in prison. She was accused not only of not settling the bill but also of squandering funds which would have been better spent on her children.

Circa midday on Saturday November 13th WWTBAM? rang me back to say that their computer had selected me and I was now through to the last fifty.
The final question I had to answer, in under ten seconds, was

"According to the 2001 Edinburgh City Council census, what % of the population travel to work or study each day on foot?"

I said something around twenty %. They rang back later to affirm that I was one of the ten closest.

So the next day I was able to surprise the others in the coffee shop with the news that I would be appearing on an edition of the show to be recorded on the morrow. Woffinden agreed to accompany me to the studio as my guest.

Ingram´s sister, Helen giggled as she suggested the idea of my calling Charles as a Phone A Friend.

I told her that many a true word is spoken in jest, and indeed that had been my plan all along.

That evening, the day before the recording, I was at my mother's. As I stood in her front room, I momentarily adopted an odd stretching posture. I leant forward and stood on my right leg whilst stretching the other out behind me and holding it with one hand.
At that moment a scene appeared on an ad playing on her TV in which an entire yoga class adopted precisely this pose, although there had been no yoga class scene in the ad before that, and neither had I ever seen it before.
If the pose is a recognised yoga posture or asana, then it was not an asana with which I was familiar.

At the studio the next day I met James Sorrie, with whom I had had many interchanges at the site. He had been on the show before, but this time was only second reserve.
The previous day I had binned print outs of two e mails from him to myself on the subject of likelihood of getting on.

On my first appearance on the show the rehearsal had been supervised by Tarrant himself. Second time it was the producer, Colman Hutchinson. This time it was one of the co-devisors of the programme, David Briggs. One contestant said that he was a llama farmer from a Surrey village. Briggs had recently purchased a large % of the property in that very village.

The show began with a roll over contestant in the chair.
His name was also David Briggs.

After he exited with 16,000 Pounds the person to win the fastest finger first round was Steve Kidd. He won 250,000 Pounds.
The previous March another Steve Kidd had won 32,000 on the show.

Later my wife told me that after this, my third failure on the show, she went to bed feeling a bit sad.
About 2 a.m. she was woken by the spectral strains of the Millionaire? music and Chris Tarrant´s voice. She could not find where it was coming from.
Eventually she worked out that our kitten had tap-danced on some bedding underneath which was hidden a computer toy Millionaire? game! We had not used it for ages.
On November 19th I was in an internet café in Bedford giving a chess display to an audience on the World Chess Network website. I was typing in chatty comments and mentioned that I could be seen appearing on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? the next evening. The global audience assumed that it was my first time on, but I typed in the corrective that it was my third.
Instantly I heard a lyric on a video playing behind me. I found it subsequently that it was by McFly.
It was saying something about it
"... being the third time, not the first time."
In early July 2004 I had been contacted by TalkSPORT Radio of London concerning the Ian Collins show. He was interested in the subject of coincidences, and often had discusion/phone-ins about it on his show. His researchers had been attracted by web references to me and that subject, and now asked if I would like to take part by phone the next day.
I had neither heard of the station nor the presenter, but I agreed, and was waiting the following lunch time with my glass of wine, when the phone rang just before the appointed time and I was informed that they were running late and so would not be requiring my participation.
I felt a bit bewildered by the whole thing, and sent off a copy of my book Coincidences to Mr Collins the next day.
On July 22nd 2004, Charles and Diana Ingram featured as guests on Mr Collins´show.
Then, on November 22nd 2004, I got a phone call from u1stMedia, who were representing the Ingrams. They said that TalkSPORT Radio were intending to have Charles and Diana as studio guests on the James Whale Show that night, but then the Ingrams could not quite make it. They now wanted to have them on again on the 24th, and for me to participate down the phone from my home.
Again I agreed... and then again the whole thing fell through, as the Ingrams were unable to make it through family commitments.

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