Mark Labbett (all series)
Shaun Wallace (all series)
Anne Hegerty (2010-)
Paul Sinha (2011-)
Jenny Ryan (2015-)
ITV Studios (Potato) 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 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.
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.
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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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".
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, it couldn't really happen again twice in a row 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.
"It's time to face The Chaser"
"For (Amount of Money), the chase...is on"
"You're one step closer to home"
"(Contestant's name), you have been caught and for you, the chase...is over"
Danny Carvalho, Pete Faherty, Chris Gepp, Elliot Johnson, Matt Pritchard and Amanda Wilson
The largest amount of money offered in the head-to-head round during the daytime civilian series is £100,000. This amount has offered twice: on 30 September 2016 by Chaser Jenny Ryan; and on 23 February 2017 by Shaun Wallace. The contestants accepted the offers, and successfully brought it into their prize pots; both lost their Final Chases.
The largest amount of money offered in the head-to-head round during the primetime celebrity series is £117,000. This amount was offered on 30 November 2013 by Chaser Anne Hegerty to Ed Byrne. 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 £90,000 with three contestants going through. This was achieved on 17 June 2015 with the team setting 20 steps for Shaun Wallace. The Chaser was only able to score 14, meaning the contestants won the £90,000, winning £30,000 for each of them to take home.
The largest amount of money won in the Final Chase during the primetime celebrity series is £120,000 with all four celebrities going through. This was achieved on 29 November 2014 with the team setting 22 steps for Chaser Shaun Wallace. The Chaser was only able to score 11, meaning the celebrities won the £120,000, winning £30,000 for each of their chosen charities.
The largest amount of money lost in the Final Chase during the daytime civilian series is £100,000 with one contestant going through. This has happened twice. On 30 September 2016, the sole player set 8 steps for Jenny Ryan. The Chaser caught with 59 seconds remaining on the clock. On 23 February 2017, the player's target of 12 steps was insufficient to beat Shaun Wallace.
The largest amount of money lost in the Final Chase during the primetime celebrity series is £120,000 with two celebrities going through. This was achieved on 30 November 2013 with the team setting 15 steps for Anne Hegerty. The Chaser caught them with 17 seconds remaining on the clock.
The most steps set for The Chaser in the Final Chase was 28. This has happened twice. On 17 June 2010. Chaser Mark Labbett 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 6, set a few times by solo players. This mark was first set on 11 June 2015: Shaun Wallace caught the player with 48 seconds remaining. On 21 September 2016, Jenny Ryan caught with 1:36 left. And on 10 February 2017, Shaun Wallace caught the player with 1:29 on the clock.
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.