For the third time today, Major Charles Ingram is explaining to his superior why he chose the army life.
His mother worked in the theatre, he says, but Ingram - played by Matthew Macfadyen in a set of false teeth - is a more modest, shy type who hankered after a soldier's existence "because it's wholly out of the limelight".
Off-camera, the director Stephen Frears shouts, "Cut!", happy at last with Macfadyen's delivery of this pivotal line.
The point is clear: if only Ingram had kept his head down, this Sandhurst-educated Royal Engineer who had already served with the UN in Bosnia would have had a distinguished career in the armed forces. But no; who wants to be a peacekeeper when you can be a millionaire?
It's a sunny day in September, and we are in an abandoned office complex in north-west London, on the set of Quiz, a new three-part adaptation of James Graham's smash-hit play about the 2001 'Coughing Major' incident on the original UK version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
It was the scandal that gripped the nation. Ingram won a million pounds on the blockbuster gameshow, only to be accused by the production company, Celador, along with his wife, Diana, of having cheated his way to the jackpot.
The charge: that he had an accomplice in the studio, Tecwen Whittock, who indicated the correct answers by coughing on cue. The result: the Ingrams received a criminal conviction and became a national laughing stock.
The team behind the new drama could hardly be hotter. Everyone involved is coming off the high of a small-screen hit: playwright Graham is following up his acclaimed television drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings; Frears is returning to the director's chair after A Very English Scandal, for which he won a Bafta; and the cast is heaving with talent.
Besides Macfadyen, star of the 2004 adaptation of Maurice Gee's In My Father's Den and fresh from the HBO smash Succession, there's Sian Clifford (better known as Claire in Fleabag) as Ingram's wife; Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) as defence counsel Sonia Woodley QC; and Michael Sheen (lately of Good Omens), in yet another uncanny feat of inhabitation-cum-impersonation, as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? ringmaster Chris Tarrant.
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A heavyweight line-up, then, for a show that, on paper, might feel a little lightweight, its subject no more than a cultural blip that, almost two decades later, seems a bit comic and inconsequential.
However, as Clifford points out, for the Ingrams it was anything but. "They were doorstepped [by journalists], had to take their children out of school, were spat at in the street," she tells me. "Their dog was kicked to death, their cat was shot, their rabbit was killed. Just absolutely shocking."
And then there is the question of the Ingrams' guilt. Although they were convicted, the cast and crew on Quiz seem unconvinced that that verdict tells the whole story.
"Like most people, I felt like I'd seen the episodes involved," Sheen tells me, referring to Ingram's appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. "Which of course I hadn't, because they were never broadcast."
As well as the "false memory" of what the public thought they'd seen, there was also the matter of what they thought they'd heard.
It took broadcaster ITV - also behind Quiz - several months and seven edits before they could present as evidence an audio track highlighting - or, even, accentuating - the incriminating coughs.
"The actual coughs they picked out, 19, were a tiny minority of the overall number of coughs - 192!" says McCrory. "And none of them they knew came from Whittock."
She suggests that a considerable proportion of the "evidence" was dubious at best, "but by that time the couple were going against the flow of public opinion."
Graham, who remembers being "transfixed" by the saga, agrees. "There was a huge pile-on," he says. "And I have to hold my hands up and admit I was completely involved in that. I wanted them to have done it. Because who doesn't want an easy story with heroes and villains and clear-cut answers? And nothing ignites our national collective anger more than people taking something that wasn't theirs or jumping the queue."
The drama implies that Tarrant was one of the few figures involved who didn't suspect Ingram of wrongdoing; Sheen thinks the presenter was initially flummoxed by the major's bumbling performance.
"Reading between the lines, to begin with he didn't think much of Charles Ingram," says Sheen. "Thought he was just a bit of a posh idiot, really."
In fact, Graham points out, even though the Ingrams "seem like they have all of this privilege, actually they weren't particularly rich. He's a military man, they're from the south of England, they talk in a certain way - they're perfect fodder for that tabloid satisfaction of 'bringing them down'."
And brought down they were, convicted in Southwark Crown Court in April 2003 of "procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception".
The Ingrams and Whittock received respective suspended prison sentences of 18 and 12 months and the Ingrams were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £115,000.
That summer the Major was discharged from the military after 17 years' service: "Millionaire cheat sacked by Army," ran the BBC headline.
The afternoon I'm on set, day 34 of the 37-day shoot, the Ingrams' real-life defence lawyer, Sonia Woodley QC, is visiting. As I sit behind Frears, watching him watch Macfadyen, I overhear a crew member ask if he would like to be introduced to Woodley. "No, I don't. Wouldn't know what to say to her," he growls with characteristic directness. "Apart from: 'You f***** that up, didn't you?'"
Quiz began life as a stage play of the same name. Written by Graham in 2017, it premiered in Chichester before transferring the following year to the West End.
While researching it, Graham contacted all the parties, "from the Ingrams' side and the Celador side. We pummelled them for information, we let them tell their version of the story. And I just stayed in touch."
Graham could sense something deeper in the story than "just an obscure trial of some contestants who may or may not have cheated using coughing on a gameshow".
In his view, that moment in 2001 points, "two decades down the line, to a world of post-truth and alternative facts - and the potential collapse of objective reality.
"The early 2000s is the age when reality television starts to emerge," Graham continues. "And also, as it came to be known, 'constructed reality', which is not quite documentary and not quite drama. You can overstate it, obviously," he allows. "But I do think something began to change around this time with our concept of solid reality."
Still, at heart this is a human story, about real people. Frears has made many dramas about public figures - including Tony Blair in The Deal and Elizabeth II in The Queen - so I ask him whether that carries any extra responsibility.
"Of course," he shoots back. "You actually always bend over backwards to be fair to the people you're making films about. I was very critical of Blair politically but you couldn't put that into the films. So, you work hard to help them make a case for themselves."
As Graham says, the difference here is about expectation. A media mogul such as Rupert Murdoch, satirised in his play Ink, knows there will be "a level of scrutiny and that they risk possibly being on the front page of a newspaper or being a Spitting Image puppet. There was no expectation from people like the Ingrams or Whittock, a lecturer in a small college in South Wales, to be thrust into a primetime ITV drama."
Nevertheless, he insists, he has a right to tell their stories. "They're all public domain, and they all impacted on our national life. But it is a different responsibility. There's a certain fun we could have, as we did in Brexit, with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in terms of satire or caricature. But I just had no desire to do that with Quiz."
Equally, for all his big thoughts about post-truth, Graham is aware that his drama must succeed above all as entertainment. "I'm a big believer in form following content," he says. "So we wanted this to be light entertainment about light entertainment."
As to the million-pound question - did they do it? - everyone I ask offers a variation on the same theme.
Macfadyen tells me that, even after scrutinising the unaired footage of Ingrams in the hot seat, he remained unsure. "Sometimes I watch it and think, 'Oh, there's something fishy going on.' Other times I think, 'No, there isn't, he's just an eccentric.' Or, 'He knows the answers and he's trying to be good value in the chair.'"
Macfadyen embraced prosthetics to inhabit the character of the Major. "I loved the teeth! They were really liberating. I was initially reluctant, but once I put them in they were a revelation."
For Tarrant, Sheen took the opposite approach. "At one point we did look at doing teeth and a nose and all kinds of stuff," he tells me. "But ultimately I tried to [convey] it all myself. And I'm glad that I did. If it had been me and Matthew with false teeth, it would have been a dental bridge too far."
For Frears, the essential appeal of Quiz has nothing to do with teeth and wigs, or the tabloid scandal, or even the bigger ideas about television and the tricks it plays on our perception.
When I ask him why the Coughing Major scandal can still fascinate us, almost 20 years later, his answer is both punchy and prosaic.
"Because the idea of stealing a million quid is so dramatic and so easily comprehensible to everybody," he says. "You always like a good heist film, don't you? And this was like a heist. If they cheated, they did it brilliantly. I mean, I can't believe that anyone could be that brilliant."
So, maybe the Ingrams weren't that brilliant. Or maybe they were. After Quiz, you can ask the audience.