The Chase

Image:The Chase logo.jpg



Bradley Walsh


Mark Labbett and Shaun Wallace (all series)
Anne Hegerty (2010-)
Paul Sinha (2011-)


ITV Studios for ITV1, 29 June 2009 to present

Celebrity Chase, ITV Studios for ITV1, 29 October 2011 to present


Four contestants must work for the benefit of the team, as they face a ruthless quiz genius called The Chaser, who is (apparently) determined to stop them winning at all costs.

The first round starts with each contestant takes a turn of answering 60 seconds of general knowledge questions, with each correct answer being worth £1,000. This determines how much money they will be playing for against The Chaser (who this is varies by episode). This part of the round against The Chaser is played on a sloping board, situated between them, and consisting of 8 spaces. The contestant starts three spaces ahead of The Chaser on the board. Before the game begins, The Chaser offers the contestant the chance to increase this to four spaces, but reduce the amount they are playing for, or they can reduce their headstart to two places, but massively increase their potential prize money. After this is decided, the contestant and The Chaser are each asked the same multiple-choice question. They do this simultaneously; with the first to lock-in an answer starts a five-second countdown for the other to lock-in their answer. For every correct answer the contestant gives, they move one space closer to safety. However The Chaser also moves one space closer to the contestant with each correct answer. Any incorrect answers given by either the contestant or The Chaser, and they stay where they were on the board.

The round continues with several more multiple-choice questions until either the contestant reaches the bottom of the board, with the money they were playing for being put into the team bank, or The Chaser answers more questions correctly, and catches the contestant on the board. If this happens, the prize money is lost, and the contestant is out of the game. The above is repeated a further three times, for each of the other three contestants on the team.

The Final Chase

In this final round, the remaining contestant(s) must face The Chaser one last time in order to win a share of the prize money. They receive two minutes to answer as many questions as possible. This is done on the buzzer, meaning you have the slightly odd set-up of two or more people trying to be first to buzz, even though they are working together. For every correct answer given, they move one space further ahead, with them having a head start of one space per team member remaining. Unlike the earlier rounds, this game is not played on the board in the studio, but rather the spaces are marked by on-screen graphics. After the two minutes are up, The Chaser is then given two minutes to answer as many questions as they can. Each correct answer moves them one space closer to the contestant(s). If The Chaser answers incorrectly, the clock is stopped, and the question is thrown over to the contestant(s). If they can answer correctly, The Chaser is moved one step backwards, and the games resumes. If The Chaser catches the contestant(s) before the time is up, they lose, and leave with nothing. If The Chaser fails to catch them, they each take an equal share of the prize money.

Worth Chasing?

The concept of The Chase is interesting, but in reality it needs a little work. The first round is a bit like watching the same short game show four times over, and as such it feels repetitive. In addition, given it lasts for around three-quarters of the hour long programme, it eats up a lot of time, meaning the show only has two rounds in total, and as such, the final round, comparatively speaking, feels like it's over quite quick. In addition, while allowing the contestant(s) to push The Chaser back a space in the final round is an interesting idea, it does break the flow of the round somewhat, which is otherwise quite exciting. Bradley Walsh is a good host, and the fact the prize fund is split equally, rather than the team working together, and then turning on each other, sets it apart from other game shows that appeared around the same time. Overall it has potential, and is worth a look.

Key moments

Though the Chasers are generally presented as pantomime-style villains, Mark Labbett has shown a more compassionate side; on one edition (8 June 2010), he lambasted a player for only getting four questions right (earning £4,000). Bizarrely, she decided to gamble and take his higher offer of £26,000 - she ultimately lost and was eliminated but Mark stood up and applauded her saying "Without doubt, the bravest contestant I've ever faced - bravo!"

That same show (8 June 2010), the two remaining contestants built up a 26 step headstart (including the two given to them) in two minutes...only to be caught with just three seconds to spare. A genuinely exasperated Labbett said to the visibly devastated team, "I'm really sorry, guys - that was SUPERB, what you did; I just got lucky!" before reverting back to his character by saying "You won't often see me being this magnanimous, I can tell you!" You see, at least one of the Chasers has a heart... deep down!

Wow! I mean just...Wow!

The episode where Mark Labbett walks off after the final chase because the team taunted/disrespected him (10 June 2010).

Who do you think are the villians in this show?

On 23 June 2010, only contestant Martin nearly became the first solo player ever to beat the chaser, he made it through to the final chase with £7,000 in the pot and built up a 21 step headstart in his two minutes, Chaser Shaun Wallace caught him exactly when the clock went to 0:00. After Bradley Walsh said goodbye to the viewers, the cameraman caught contestant Martin walking off the set (whether or not he was angry about not becoming the first solo player ever to beat the chaser).

How close was that?

On 26 January 2011, only contestant Elaine made it through to the final chase, with Chaser Mark Labbett commenting "Nobody's ever won as a solo player and it ain't gonna start today!". Unfazed, she built up an 18 step headstart in her two minutes. During Mark's two minutes however, he got several questions wrong (leading some observers to question whether it was on purpose), and ultimately scored 14. This meant Elaine won £7,000, and became the show's first solo player to win. This was also the second time in the show's history that Mark Labbett walked off after the final chase because he couldn't believe what just happened.

This happened again a day later (27 January 2011) with Shaun Wallace where 3 contestants made it through to the final chase and built up a 27 step headstart (2 steps short of beating the current record 28), During Shaun's two minutes, he also got several questions wrong (also leading it to whether it was on purpose or not), he scored 15 before his time ran out.


"The Chase is on"

"You're one step closer to home"

"You have been caught"

Theme music

Paul Farrer


The most money offered to a contestant by the Chaser in the multiple choice chase round is £55,000. This amount was offered on 10 January 2011. The contestant ultimately lost after getting caught by chaser Mark Labbett, however Mark did stand up and applaud her for being brave.

The least money offered to a contestant by the Chaser in the multiple choice chase round was -£2,000 (meaning £2,000 would be deducted from the team's total should the contestant succeed in their solo round). This happened on 13 January 2011. The contestant opted for the -£2,000 figure, but was caught by chaser Mark Labbett and was eliminated from the game.

Contestant Keith Newbery had the honor of becoming the first contestant ever to get £0 in the one minute quickfire round on 8 February 2011, Chaser Anne Hegerty gave him the option of either taking -£1,000 or £10,000 because he got all 10 questions wrong in the quickfire round, he took the £10,000 offer and was ultimately caught by the chaser. Keith later wrote about his experience on the show in his column in the Isle of Wight County Press.

He won't be in the next series of Mastermind.

It happens very rarely on the show that all 4 contestants get caught by the chaser in the multiple choice chase round, this happened three times in the show's history by Mark Labbett on 7 July 2009, by Anne Hegerty on 7 January 2011 and by Paul Sinha on 10 October 2011.

The largest amount of money brought through to the final chase is £50,400 with all 4 contestants going through. This was achieved on 1 February 2011, with the team setting 25 steps for the Chaser Shaun Wallace. The Chaser was only able to score 23 however, meaning the contestants won the £50,400 - the largest amount of money won on the show - taking home £12,600 each.

The most steps set for the chaser was 28. This was set on 17 June 2010. Chaser Mark Labbett scored 27 before his time ran out.

Most steps set on 'The Chase' to date.

The second series featured a phone-in viewers competition, entitled The Chaser's Offer. It was dropped after the second series concluded its run.

The Chase is not shown on STV, because... er... well, there's probably some good reason.

Web links

Official site

Wikipedia entry


Image:TheChase publicityphoto.jpgBradley with the Chasers


First few minutes of the very first episode.

See also

Weaver's Week review


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