The Chase

Image:The Chase logo.jpg



Bradley Walsh


Mark Labbett (all series)
Shaun Wallace (all series)
Anne Hegerty (2010-)
Paul Sinha (2011-)
Jenny Ryan (2015-)
Darragh Ennis (2020-)


Potato (formerly ITV Studios) for ITV1, 29 June 2009 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 original Beastie Boy, 'Mark Labbett'
The original Darth Vader, 'Shaun Wallace'

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 seven steps (eight in the first series). The contestant starts three spaces ahead of The Chaser on the board.

"I have a nice view from up here."

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 head start to two places, but massively increase their potential prize money.

Now, THAT'S how you double up.

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.

Uh-oh, it's the following arrow of death.

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. If all four contestants are caught by The Chaser, their prize fund is set to £4,000 and the team must nominate one contestant to proceed to The Final Chase.

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.

The Final Chase in progress with Shaun Wallace.

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.

Bradley with The First Four Chasers.

Originally started out life as one of two shows, the other being The Fuse, that were given a two-week trial run in the 5pm slot during the summer of 2009 to see if it'll work as a replacement for Golden Balls whose light was slowly fizzling out during its final months. An extended run was commissioned the following year and proved itself to be a permanent fixture in the teatime schedule for over a decade. Several other quiz shows during the summer over the next few years tried to repeat the success The Chase had and came out with mixed results. The chosen few of Tipping Point, Rebound, Cash Trapped and Alphabetical proved enough for a second series and beyond, but others such as Don't Blow the Inheritance, Take on the Twisters, The 21st Question, Gift Wrapped, Freeze Out and Babushka didn't make it past their first runs.

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 head start in two minutes... only to be caught by The Chaser with just three seconds to spare. A genuinely exhausted 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 "It won't be often I'll be this magnanimous, trust me on this!" You see, at least one of the Chasers has a heart... deep down!

The episode where Mark Labbett walked off after The Final Chase because the team taunted/disrespected him (10 June 2010).

On the show of 23 June 2010, 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 head start 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, possibly angry about not becoming the first solo player ever to beat The Chaser.

On the show of 26 January 2011, only contestant Elaine made it through to The Final Chase with £7,000 in the pot and built up an 18 step head start in her two minutes. Chaser Mark Labbett commented "Nobody's ever won as a solo player, and it ain't gonna start today!". During Mark's two minutes however, he got several questions wrong, 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. Elaine would later show up on five episodes of Cash Trapped, winning £20,800.

On the show of 8 February 2011, contestant Keith Newbery had the honour of becoming the first contestant ever to get £0 in the cash builder round. Chaser Anne Hegerty gave him the option of either taking -£1,000 or £10,000 because he got 10 questions wrong in the cash builder 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. On the show of 9 June 2015, contestant John became the first contestant to not receive a lower offer, after going first and scored £0.

The moment where Bradley Walsh was in fits of laughter when a question about "Fanny Chmelar" came up.


An elderly contestant named Pearl accidentally shouted out an answer on the first question in the multiple choice chase round, when she was told not to. She said she had a clue about it but she immediately got it wrong. But surprisingly, Chaser Mark Labbett didn't have a clue and went with her answer as well, so he also got it wrong. (Video of this moment)

Another moment where Bradley Walsh was in fits of laughter but on a celebrity edition when the three possible answers to the question were "Dick Tingeler", "Helmut Schmacker" and "Willi Wakker".

Oh, god!

On 7 February 2013, Chaser Paul Sinha caught all four of his contestants in the multiple choice chase round and they were invited back to choose one contestant to face Paul alone in The Final Chase to win £4,000 (£1,000 each). The contestant built up a 16 step head start in his two minutes. However, Paul only managed to score 15 before his time ran out. This meant that all four contestants won £1,000 each, and became the show's first team to win after all being caught in the multiple choice chase round. So even though Paul made history by failing to catch a team in the final chase after catching them all in their individual rounds, lightning couldn't possibly strike twice for the Sinnerman...right? Well, it did on 15 April 2013. The nominated contestant on that show built up a 19 step head start in his two minutes, but Paul was only able to score 18, making this not only the second time that a Chaser has failed to catch a team he eliminated in the multiple choice chase round, but also the second time this has happened with the same Chaser.


"Time to face the Chaser" with two variations: "Time to bring on the Chaser" when (s)he first comes on set, and "Time to bring back the Chaser" in the Final Chase.

"For (amount of money), the chase is on."

"You're one step closer to home."

Shaun Wallace: "One-question shootout."

"You have been caught, and for you, the chase... is over."

"Could you take money from a Chaser? Well then, please, come and have a go if you think you're clever enough."

Shaun Wallace, every time he wins: "At the end of the day, it's just another day at the office."


Danny Carvalho, Pete Faherty, Chris Gepp, Elliot Johnson, Matt Pritchard and Amanda Wilson

Theme music

"Face the Facts" by Paul Farrer. That might seem like a funny title for game show music, but that's because - so the story goes - the track was originally intended to be a track for an investigative news-type show.


Wondering why contestants stand in the middle of nowhere during the Cash Builder? According to executive producer Sue Allison on David Bodycombe's TV Show and Tell podcast, the Cash Builder was added after ITV boss Alison Sharman found the programme boring, and by the time they added the round the set had already been built.

The largest amount of money offered in the head-to-head round during the daytime civilian series is £101,000. This amount was offered on 8 February 2018 by Chaser Mark Labbett. The contestant accepted the offer and successfully brought it into the prize pot.

The largest amount of money offered in the head-to-head round during the primetime celebrity series is £150,000. This eye-watering amount was offered on 3 October 2020 by Chaser Jenny Ryan to Joel Dommett. He accepted the offer, and successfully brought it into the prize pot.

The smallest amount of money offered in the head-to-head round during the daytime civilian series is -£15,000 (meaning £15,000 would be deducted from the team's total should the contestant succeed in their solo round). This happened on 5 September 2016 with Chaser Paul Sinha. The contestant opted for the -£15,000 figure and successfully brought it through to the Final Chase, reducing the money pot from £54,000 to £39,000.

The largest amount of money won in the Final Chase during the daytime civilian series is £120,000 with three contestants going through. This was achieved on 7 September 2023 with the team setting 22 steps for Mark Labbett. The Chaser was only able to score 17, meaning the contestants won the £120,000, winning £40,000 for each of them to take home. The largest amount won by a single player was on 31 August 2022, when Dan won £80,000.

The largest amount of money won in the Final Chase during the primetime celebrity series is £200,000 with all four celebrities going through. This was achieved on 24 December 2021 with the team setting 20 steps for Shaun Wallace. The Chaser was only able to score 10, meaning Jenni Falconer, Judge Jules, Lesley Joseph and Patrick Kielty won the £200,000, winning £50,000 each for the charity of their choice.

The largest amount of money lost in the Final Chase during the daytime civilian series is £101,000 with one contestant going through. This was achieved on 8 February 2018 with the team setting 9 steps for Chaser Mark Labbett. The Chaser caught them with 1:15 remaining on the clock.

The largest amount of money lost in the Final Chase during the primetime celebrity series is £160,000 with all four celebrities going through. This was achieved on 12 November 2017 with the team setting 16 steps for Jenny Ryan. The Chaser caught them with 25 seconds remaining.

The most steps set for The Chaser in the Final Chase was 28. This has happened twice. The first time it happened was on 17 June 2010 with Chaser Mark Labbett where he scored 27 before his time ran out. This feat was set again on 20 March 2012 and Chaser Paul Sinha also scored 27 in his time.

The least steps set for The Chaser in the Final Chase was 3. This has happened only once on 17 March 2017 with Chaser Mark Labbett where he caught the team with 1:48 remaining.

The second series (shown in 2010) featured a phone-in viewers competition, entitled The Chaser's Offer. It was dropped after the second series concluded its run. A phone-in contest returned in autumn 2012, this time asked by an anonymous ITV voice.

During spring 2012, pilot episodes were made for Fox Television in the US, with local quiz god Brad Rutter and our own Mark Labbett as The Chasers. They didn't pick it up for a series. GSN (their equivalent of the Challenge channel) made series from 2013. Local versions of the show have also been made for NDR in Germany and for Russia 1.

The first three series were not shown on STV, because... er... well, there was probably some good reason.

The Chase was the first programme credited to "Potato", a unit of ITV Studios devoted to game shows. The overnight change occurred on 25 June 2013.

Winner of this site's Golden Five award for best show in production during 2017.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

YouTube channel

Twitter page

One Question Shootout - The Chase fan page

See also

Weaver's Week review from 2009.

Beat the Chasers, a primetime television event.

How to Apply

Players will wish to apply through a form online or request a paper one through e-mail at

Application details are provided as a service to readers, but please note that all contestant enquiries should be directed to the named production company and not to Addresses can be found on our list of contact details for production companies.


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