‘Quiz’ – How Sian Clifford found comedy in the midst of scandal

‘Quiz’ – ‘Millionaire’ was appointment viewing
for Sian Clifford

Sian Clifford of ‘Quiz’ Sunday on AMC

Q: Did you watch “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” when it was on British television?

A: Yeah. … I mean, it was an event in our family. We would watch it every week. It was something that we would all gather around to watch. I wasn’t as obsessed as Diana and her family, but, yeah, it was something that you made an appointment to watch. I mean, you just showed up to it. It was huge, and we kind of forget. Now we have a different relationship with, you know, a million pounds, but at the time that was the biggest prize money ever being given away on a game show, so it was huge, you know. It was historic.

Q: This is a pretty serious situation for these people but there are comical elements of it. How do you fine tune that line between not mocking real people, but amplifying the comedy that’s inherent in the situation?

A: I mean, that’s what’s at the heart of this story is the humanity of these people. And that’s what we were so sort of keen to bring to light and to show that side of the story and that’s what I love about the script. Because people do say things that are hilarious without intending to in very serious situations. And I think it also for my money, speaks to the innocence and again naivety about the seriousness of the situation they were in. And so, certainly I think that scene is actually when they’re being interrogated by the police. And yeah, I think I don’t know when you are like under pressure in those moments you say funny things. Like, the weirdest things will pop out of your mouth.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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