Mark Labbett (all series)
Shaun Wallace (all series)
Anne Hegerty (2010-)
Paul Sinha (2011-)
ITV Studios for ITV1, 29 June 2009 to 24 June 2013 (412 episodes in 6 series + 12 celebrity specials & 4 unaired)
Potato for ITV, 25 June 2013 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.
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 most money offered to a contestant by The Chaser in the multiple choice chase round during the normal (non-celebrity) series is £80,000. This amount was offered on 2 January 2014 by Chaser Mark Labbett. The contestant accepted the offer, but was caught by The Chaser and therefore did not take it through.
The most money offered on a daytime programme was on the "Text Santa" celebrity special, shown on 21 December 2012. Dom Joly was offered £89,000 by Chaser Shaun Wallace, which he accepted, and answered just one of the three questions before his inevitable capture.
The largest amount offered during the multiple chase round during the primetime celebrity series is £117,000. This amount was offered to Ed Byrne by Chaser Anne Hegerty on 30 November 2013. He successfully brought it into the prize pot, so The Final Chase was for a record £120,000.
The least money offered to a contestant by The Chaser in the multiple choice chase round was -£9,000 (meaning £9,000 would be deducted from the team's total should the contestant succeed in their solo round). This happened on 13 March 2012 with Chaser Shaun Wallace. The contestant opted for the -£9,000 figure and successfully brought it through to The Final Chase, deducting the money pot from £51,000 to £42,000.
Contestant Keith Newbery had the honour 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.
It happens quite a few times on the show that all four contestants get caught by The Chaser in the multiple choice chase round. This has happened 19 times in the show's history. Mark Labbett was first to sweep the board on 7 July 2009; he repeated the feat on 14 March 2012, on a celebrity edition on 26 August 2012, on 23 November 2012 and on 19 March 2014. Anne Hegerty has eliminated everyone on eight occasions: 7 January 2011, 24 February 2012, 12 September 2012, 3 January 2013, 22 February 2013, 10 April 2013, 10 May 2013 and 11 June 2013. Paul Sinha has won all his chases five times on 10 October 2011, 10 January 2012, on a celebrity show on 30 September 2012, 7 February 2013 and 15 April 2013. Shaun Wallace has only done it once on 15 October 2012.
The largest amount of money brought through to The Final Chase during the daytime civilian series is £80,000. This was achieved on 4 June 2014 with two contestants going through, setting 18 steps for the Chaser Shaun Wallace. The Chaser was only able to score 10 however, meaning that the two contestants won the £80,000, taking home £40,000 each.
The largest amount of money brought through to The Final Chase during the primetime celebrity series is £120,000 with two celebrities going through. This was achieved on 30 November 2013, with Ed Byrne (a record £117,000) and Eric Bristow setting 15 steps for the Chaser Anne Hegerty. The Chaser caught them with 17 seconds remaining on the clock.
The largest successful Final Chase on the primetime celebrity series is £100,000 with all four celebrities going through. This was achieved on 19 November 2011, with the team setting 22 steps for the Chaser Mark Labbett. The Chaser was only able to score 11 however, meaning the celebrities won the £100,000, winning £25,000 for each of their chosen charities. This happened again on 5 October 2013 with all four celebrities going through, setting 16 steps for the Chaser Paul Sinha. The Chaser was only able to score 14 however, meaning the celebrities won the £100,000, winning £25,000 for each of their chosen charities.
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. This feat was set again on 20 March 2012 and Chaser Paul Sinha also scored 27 before his time ran out.
The least steps set for The Chaser was 7. This was set on 30 November 2012. Chaser Mark Labbett caught them with 1:33 left on the clock. This was achieved again on 2 April 2014 and Chaser Anne Hegerty caught them with 1:31 left 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 in the 145th episode of the sixth series.