The Chase is a British television quiz show broadcast on ITV and hosted by Bradley Walsh. Contestants play against a professional quizzer, known as the "chaser", who attempts to prevent them from winning a cash prize. The chasers are Mark Labbett, Shaun Wallace, Anne Hegerty, Paul Sinha and Jenny Ryan. Labbett and Wallace have both been chasers since series 1, while Hegerty joined in series 2, Sinha in series 4 and Ryan in series 9.
A team of four contestants individually attempt to amass as much money as possible, which is later added to a prize fund if the contestant survives his or her individual chase. The chaser's job is to catch each contestant during their individual chase, eliminating that person from the game and preventing the money from being added to the collective prize fund. Any contestants who survive their individual chase later play collectively as a team for an equal share of the prize fund against the chaser.
With a regular audience of three to five million, The Chase is one of ITV's most successful daytime shows ever.] It has been nominated four times for "Best Daytime Show" at the National Television Awards, winning in 2016 and 2017. It has also become a successful international franchise: regional versions have been made in Australia, China, Croatia, Germany, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. Labbett and Hegerty both feature as chasers on the Australian version, with the former also featuring as the sole chaser on the now defunct American version.
Cash Builder and Head-to-Head rounds Edit
Should the contestant elect to stay where he or she is currently, he or she must answer five questions correctly in order to bank the money into the prize fund. However, should the contestant decide to change position, the chaser offers them a different amount of money depending on the change. If closer to Home, the contestant must answer four questions correctly but for a reduced amount of money, while being closer to the chaser means the contestant must answer six questions correctly but earn a higher amount of cash. In some cases (especially in the second half of the individual rounds), the lower amount can be a negative amount of money or zero, which is deducted from the prize fund if the contestant makes it to home, or gaining nothing but a place in the Final Chase.
Once the contestant nominates their starting position, he or she then begins the Head-to-Head in which both the contestant and the chaser are given the same multiple-choice questions, in which each question consists of three answers to choose from. To answer, each must secretly press one of the three buttons on their keypad in order to lock in their answer, which then gives their opponent only five seconds to lock in an answer or be locked out. For each correct answer made by the contestant and the chaser, he or she moves one step down the board, while an incorrect answer forces the contestant to stay where he or she is currently.
In order to win the round and have a place in the final round of the contest (known as the "Final Chase"), each contestant must move down the board towards the bottom (known as "getting home"), in order to bank the money chosen to go for based on the starting position he or she elected to take. The chaser's job in this round is to catch them by moving closer to them (referred to as "closing the gap") and eventually move onto the step that the contestant currently occupies; if the chaser manages to do this, then the contestant is "caught" and is eliminated from the contest with the money removed from the board.
It is possible for all four contestants to be caught by the chaser; in the event that this happens, the prize fund is set to £4,000 and the team nominates one contestant to proceed to the Final Chase.
Final Chase Edit
In order to win the prize fund that is banked, the surviving contestants of the last series of rounds work together as a team to beat the chaser in one final round of questions. Two question sets, A and B, are used in this round in which, prior to the round beginning, the contestants decide which to answer questions from, while the other set is set aside for the chaser. The round itself is divided into two phases–in the first phase, the contestants answer questions in order to earn themselves steps to keep them ahead of the chaser, while the second phase sees the chaser trying to match these steps, in order to "catch" the team and thus prevent them winning the prize fund.
Before the first phase begins, the contestants are given a head-start of one step per contestant participating in the round. The team (or sole remaining contestant) is then given two minutes to answer as many questions as they can correctly, with each correct answer earning them one more step from the chaser. To answer a question, a contestant must use their buzzer to do so, yet only the first person to buzz in can give an answer, as any attempt by the other contestants to respond will lead to the question being thrown out. If only one contestant is present in the Final Chase, no buzzer is used.
When the second phase of the round begins, the chaser has two minutes to catch the contestants. To do so, the chaser must match the number of the steps that the contestants earned in the first phase, by correctly answering as many questions as possible within the time limit. However, should the chaser either give an incorrect answer or pass on a question, the clock is briefly stopped and the question is thrown over to the contestants, who can push the chaser back a step if they can give a correct answer. From series 3 onwards, a new rule was added in which if the contestants answer the chaser's question correctly whilst the chaser is at the starting line, an additional step is added to the requirement for the chaser.
If the chaser manages to achieve the same number of steps that the contestants achieved, before time is up, then the contestants lose their prize fund and leave empty-handed. But, if the contestants are not "caught", they win the prize fund; if only one contestant remains for the Final Chase, he or she wins the entire prize pot, otherwise it is split equally between those participating in the final round.
- Mark Labbett (2009–present)—Appeared on Mastermind, University Challenge, 15 to 1, The Syndicate and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (twice, winning £32,000 and £16,000); runner-up on The People's Quiz, runner-up on Brain of Britain, part of a winning team on Only Connect, represented Wales from 2005–2007 at the European quiz championships. Nicknamed "The Beast", "Beastie Boy", "The Man Mountain of Maths", and "The Transatlantic Giant". Ranked 134th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014. He is also the sole chaser on the U.S. version of the show and one of five on the Australian version of the show.
- Shaun Wallace (2009–present)—Appeared on 15 to 1, Beat the Nation, BrainTeaser, the UK version of Greed, and The Waiting Game; winner of Mastermind, finalist on the first series of Are You an Egghead?. Nicknamed "The Dark Destroyer", "The Bald Destroyer", "Grumpy Drawers", "The Barrister", "The Legal Eagle" and "The Mastermind Champ". Ranked 455th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014.
- Anne Hegerty (2010–present)—Appeared on Mastermind (twice), 15 to 1, Today's the Day and Brain of Britain; semi-finalist on the second series of Are You an Egghead?. Holds the rank of Grand Master in the UK quiz rankings. Nicknamed "The Governess" and "Frosty Knickers". Ranked 55th in the World Quizzing Championships 2016. She is also one of five chasers on the Australian version of the show.
- Paul Sinha (2011–present)—Appeared on Are You an Egghead?, Brain of Britain, Mastermind, University Challenge and The Weakest Link; ranked 20th in the national quiz rankings (as of 2 July 2011). Nicknamed "The Sinnerman", "The Smiling Assassin" and "Sarcasm in a Suit". He was ranked 14th in the World Quizzing Championships 2016.
- Jenny Ryan (2015–present)—Appeared on University Challenge, Mastermind, Are You an Egghead?, Fifteen to One, The Weakest Link and was part of a winning team on Only Connect; Nicknamed "The Vixen", "The Bolton Brainiac", "Bolton Bombshell" and "The Brainiac of Bolton". Ranked 175th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014
Celebrity specials Edit
A spin-off featuring celebrity teams as contestants began airing on ITV in 2011. Unlike the regular version, which is broadcast daily, the celebrity version is broadcast weekly. As with the daily show, the spin-off is hosted by Walsh and features the same chasers (Labbett, Wallace, Hegerty, Sinha and Ryan).
The game is played exactly the same as the regular version. However, if all four celebrities have been caught by the chaser, the prize fund during the Final Chase is £20,000. If the team is caught during the Final Chase, a consolation prize of £1,000 is awarded to the charities for each celebrity who advanced to the Final Chase.
These celebrity episodes have managed audience shares from 3.13m to 4.58m
Regular editions Edit
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes||Notes|
|1||June 29, 2009||July 10, 2009||10|
|2||May 24, 2010||July 16, 2010||40||No episode on June 29, 2010|
|3||January 3, 2011||February 25, 2011||40 (10 unaired)|
|4||September 5, 2011||January 30, 2012||60||Series 4 took a break from 31 October–2 January|
|5||January 31, 2012||October 26, 2012||119 (1 unaired)||Series 5 took breaks from 13–17 February, 2–6 April, 4 June–31 August and 17 October|
|6||October 29, 2012||November 21, 2014||149 (1 unaired)||Series 6 took breaks from 24 December–1 January, 11–15 February, 25 March–5 April and 27–31 May|
|7||September 2, 2013||August 1, 2014||140||Series 7 took breaks from 28 October–1 November, 11 November–19 December and 17–21 February|
|8||September 1, 2014||June 19, 2015||155||Series 8 took breaks from 22 December–2 January & 20 April–29 May|
|9||June 22, 2015||April 14, 2016||181||Series 9 took breaks from 3–28 August, 23 September, 1, 7 October and 21 December–1 January|
|10||April 15, 2016||April 21, 2017||196||Series 10 took breaks from 13 June–26 August, 19 December 2016 – 1 January 2017, 20 January, 17 February, 21 February, 24 February & 12 April|
|11||February 17, 2017||193||Series 11 took breaks from 20 February, 22-23 February, 25 February - April 11 2017, April 13, 2017 - April 24, 2017, May 1, 2017 - May 28, 2017|
On 29 September 2016, The Chase celebrated its 1,000th episode by having all five chasers involved in a random selection where each chaser was present for all five sections of the game (one each for each contestant, then Hegerty attempting to catch the team in the Final Chase).