Chris Tarrant said he has “no malice” towards Charles Ingram but that people would respect him more if he admitted that he cheated on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.
The former army major and his wife Diana, along with Welsh college lecturer Tecwen Whittock, were found guilty of using an elaborate coughing scheme to cheat their way to the £1 million top prize on the ITV quiz show during a high-profile trial in 2003.
A lawyer for the couple has said they are planning to appeal against their conviction.
Tarrant, who hosted the show until 2014, told the Cheat! podcast: “I don’t have any malice towards the major, actually I don’t at all. I’ve never met him since.
“I think the more he, they, protest their innocence, the more I find it hard to like them.
“You know, why don’t they just go, ‘Yeah OK, we gave it a try and we got caught?’
“I think people would respect them more for that, because they are still in most people’s eyes, they’re a bunch of crooks.
“I have no doubt at all in my own mind and any of us involved in the programme, they were completely guilty and there is no other verdict.”
The incident and ensuing court case, in which they denied a single charge of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception, was the subject of the 2020 three-part drama Quiz, scripted by Brexit: An Uncivil War writer James Graham, and starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as the couple and Michael Sheen as show host Chris Tarrant.
Remembering the night Ingram won the top prize, Tarrant said: “I went home quite happy, chatting to my driver all the way home, you know, million pound winner, amazing bloke, weird bloke, but you know, got the money and all that.
“So I was excited, I didn’t pick up on one guy coughing, I would never have spotted it, I’m just focused on the major, you know, and what the hell he’s doing next.”
Cheat! is available on Apple, Spotify and all podcast providers.