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Helen McCrory: engaging, enthralling, always magnetically watchable

The exquisitely talented actor shone at playing complex, intelligent women with a seemingly effortless skill

It seems fitting that one of Helen McCrory’s final screen performances in a career devastatingly truncated by her death at 52 was as a barrister. In last year’s ITV drama Quiz, she played Sonia Woodley QC, hired to defend Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, accused of conspiring to steal the titular prize in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? through a code based on studio coughing.

With a majority of viewers likely to be convinced of the Ingrams’ guilt (from media coverage of the case in 2003), McCrory as Woodley in episode three presented an alternative interpretation so engagingly and persuasively that the previous two episodes seemed to be cast into doubt.

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