The Chase (British game show)

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The Chase
The Chase (game show).JPG
GenreQuiz show
Created by
  • Danny Carvalho
  • Pete Faherty
  • Chris Gepp
  • Elliot Johnson
  • Matt Pritchard
  • Amanda Wilson[1]
Directed by
  • Ian Hamilton
  • Stuart McDonald
Creative director(s)Michael Kelpie
Presented byBradley Walsh
Starring
Theme music composerPaul Farrer
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series13[2]
No. of episodes1,500 (as of 22 February 2019)[3]
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Martin Scott
  • Michael Kelpie
Production location(s)
Running time60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s)
DistributorITV Studios
Release
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 (HDTV) 1080i
Original release29 June 2009 (2009-06-29) –
present
Chronology
Related shows

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. With rare exceptions for special episodes, only one chaser participates in any given episode.

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 their individual chase. The chaser must attempt 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. In the individual chase, the player must choose between a higher offer, their earned money, and a lower offer. Later, in the final round, contestants who survived their individual chases play collectively as a team against the chaser for an equal share of the prize fund.[6]

With a regular audience of three to five million, The Chase is one of ITV's most successful daytime shows ever.[7] It has been nominated six times at the National Television Awards, winning in 2016, 2017, and 2019.[8] It has also become a successful international franchise: regional versions have been made in Australia, China, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. Labbett, Hegerty and Wallace also feature as chasers on the Australian version. Labbett featured as the sole chaser on the now-defunct American version.

Gameplay[edit]

Cash Builder and Head-to-Head rounds[edit]

Each contestant individually attempts to build up the team's prize fund through two rounds. In the first round, known as the "Cash Builder", the contestant answers as many questions as they can within one minute, earning £1,000 per correct answer. After completing the Cash Builder, the contestant enters the "Head-to-Head" round, attempting to move the money down to the bottom of a seven-step board and into the team bank ("home") without being caught by the chaser. The board had eight steps in the first series.

The contestant chooses one of three starting positions on the board:

  • Three steps down from the top, giving a three-step head start and requiring five steps to reach home
  • Two steps down, with a two-step head start and requiring six steps to reach home, for a larger amount
  • Four steps down, with a four-step head start and requiring four steps to reach home, for a smaller amount

The smaller amount can be zero or even negative if the contestant has performed poorly in the Cash Builder. Once the starting position is chosen, the host asks a series of multiple-choice questions to the contestant and the chaser, both of whom secretly select one of the three answer options on keypads. After either person locks in a guess, the other must do so within five seconds or be locked out for that turn. A correct answer moves the person who gave it one step down the board, while a miss or lock-out leaves them where they are.

If the contestant successfully reaches home without being caught, they advance to the Final Chase and their money is added (or subtracted if they took a negative amount) to the team prize fund. If the chaser catches up, the contestant is eliminated and their money is forfeited. If all four contestants are caught by the chaser, they nominate one contestant to play the Final Chase alone.

In the celebrity editions, which are played to benefit charitable organisations named by the participants, the lowest offer is always £1,000. This amount is donated to each celebrity's chosen charity if they are all caught, or be caught at the Final Chase.

Final Chase[edit]

The contestants who win their head-to-head chases must work together in order to beat the chaser and win their prize fund. They choose one of two sets of questions for themselves, with the other set put aside for the chaser, and then have two minutes to answer as many questions as possible on the buzzer. If a contestant responds without buzzing-in, their answer is not accepted. The buzzer is not used if only one contestant is participating in the Final Chase. Every correct answer moves the team one step ahead of the chaser, and they are given a head start of one step per contestant playing in this round.

Once the team's time has expired, the chaser is given two minutes to answer questions from the unused set and catch the team, moving one step ahead per correct response. If the chaser passes or misses a question, the clock is briefly stopped and the team are given a chance to respond; a correct answer pushes the chaser back one step, or (from series 3 onwards) moves the team ahead one step if the chaser is at the starting line.

If the chaser fails to catch up to the team before time runs out, the participating contestants split the prize fund equally; otherwise, they leave with nothing. If all four contestants have lost their head-to-head chases and the contestant they nominate wins the Final Chase, every contestant wins £1,000.

Filming[edit]

Three episodes are filmed in a day and each one takes around an hour and a half to film. According to Walsh, "It runs like clockwork."[9] The Final Chase can be stopped and re-started if Walsh stumbles on a question. He told the Radio Times, "If there is a slight misread, I am stopped immediately – bang – by the lawyers. We have the compliance lawyers in the studio all the time. What you have to do is go back to the start of the question, literally on videotape where my mouth opens – or where it's closed from the previous question – and the question is re-asked. It is stopped to the split second."[9]

Chasers[edit]

Spin-offs[edit]

A spin-off titled The Chase: Celebrity Special featuring celebrity teams as contestants began airing on ITV in 2011. As many contestants are comedians or actors, there is a much-higher comedic element. The game is played exactly the same way 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 (originally £4,000). 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 this stage.

In February 2017, ITV commissioned The Family Chase, a spin-off featuring a team of four family members.[17] The six episode spin-off debuted on 2 September 2017.[18] A second series of 8 episodes was commissioned and commenced airing on 24 March 2019.

In November 2019, ITV commissioned another spin-off called Beat the Chasers. It would air in prime-time and feature contestants attempting to defeat all 5 Chasers in order to win big cash prizes.[19]

Transmissions[edit]

Regular editions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes References
1 29 June 2009 10 July 2009 10 Aired as one of three summer replacements for Golden Balls, with the other two being Divided and The Fuse. [20][21]
2 24 May 2010 19 July 2010 40 No episode aired on 29 June due to the World Cup match between Paraguay and Japan. [22][23]
3 3 January 2011 25 February 2011 40 Series 3 had no breaks and neither had Series 1 and 2. [24][25]
4 5 September 2011 30 January 2012 60 Series 4 took a break from 31 October – 2 January. [26][27]
5 31 January 2012 26 October 2012 120 Series 5 took breaks from 13–17 February, 2–6 April, 4 June – 31 August & 17 October. [28][29][30]
6 29 October 2012 21 November 2014 150 Series 6 took breaks from 24 December – 1 January, 11–15 February, 25 March – 5 April, 27–31 May & 1 July 2013 – 20 November 2014. [31][32][30]
7 2 September 2013 17 November 2014 150 Series 7 took breaks from 28 October – 1 November 11 November – 19 December, 17–21 February, 7–18 April, 6 June & 15 June – 4 July. [33][34][30]
8 1 September 2014 3 July 2015 150 Series 8 took breaks from 22 December – 2 January & 20 April – 29 May. [35][36][30]
9 22 June 2015 6 September 2016 190 Series 9 took breaks from 3–28 August, 23 September – 7 October & 21 December – 1 January. [37][38][38]
10 15 April 2016 24 October 2017 190 Series 10 took breaks from 13 June – 26 August 19 December – 1 January 20 January & 22 March. [39][40]
11 25 April 2017 3 September 2018 170 Series 11 took breaks from 1–26 May, 19 June – 1 September & 25 December – 1 January.[41] [42][43]
12 2 March 2018 TBA 170 Series 12 took breaks from 28 May – 31 August, 10 – 31 December 2018, 11–15 March, 1–5 April and 17 May 2019 – present [44][45][46]
13 7 March 2019 TBA 210 Series 13 took a break from 20 May – 30 August and 11 November – 20 December
14 1 January 2020 TBA 210 Series 14 will air in 2020

All five chasers took part in the 1,000th episode on 29 September 2016, with a different chaser selected at random for each head-to-head round and the fifth (Hegerty) participating in the Final Chase. This format has also been used for the Christmas edition of the Celebrity Specials.

Celebrity editions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 29 October 2011[47] 10 December 2011[48] 6[48] Series 1 had no breaks.
2 19 August 2012[49] 7 October 2012[50] 6[50] Series 2 had no breaks and neither had series 1.
3 5 October 2013[51] 28 December 2013[52] 14[52] Series 3 had no breaks and neither had Series 1 and 2.
4 30 August 2014[53] 8 March 2015[54] 18[54] The last two episodes of the series aired in March 2015.
5 24 October 2015[55] 15 May 2016[56] 16[56] This series aired in two parts; series took a break from 19 December 2015 – 20 March 2016.
6 11 September 2016 26 November 2017 16 Episodes 1–8 aired in Autumn 2016. Episodes 9 – 14 aired in Summer 2017. Episodes 15 and 16 aired in November 2017. Series 6 took breaks from 6 November 2016 – 2 July 2017 and 27 August 2017 – 29 October 2017. No episode was broadcast on 30 July 2017.
7 14 October 2017 21 October 2018 9 The first eight episodes aired in Autumn 2017, with the remaining episode broadcast in October 2018. The Christmas Special aired on 24 December 2017. The first two episodes were broadcast on Saturdays in October 2017, but the next six episodes aired on Sundays in November and December 2017. The series took breaks on 5 and 26 November 2017 when Series 6 episodes were broadcast.
8 14 October 2018 TBC 8 The first four episodes aired on Sundays in Autumn 2018, alternating with Series 9 episodes. The Christmas special aired on 16 December 2018. Episode Five aired on 19 October 2019. The remaining three episodes of the series have not yet been broadcast. Series 8 took breaks on 21 and 28 October, 11 and 25 November, and 2 and 9 December 2018.
9 8 June 2018 12 October 2019 8 The first episode of the series was entitled The Chase For Soccer Aid and aired on 8 June 2018. The next four episodes aired on Sundays from 28 October 2018, alternating with Series 8 episodes. The final three episodes were broadcast on Saturdays in Autumn 2019, alternating with Series 10 episodes. Series 9 took breaks on 4 and 18 November, 2 and 16 December 2018, and 21 and 28 September 2019.
10 14 June 2019 TBC 12 The first episode of the series was entitled The Chase For Soccer Aid and aired on 14 June 2019. Episodes resumed on Saturdays in Autumn 2019, alternating with Series 9 episodes. Series 10 took breaks on 14 September and 5–12 October 2019.

Family editions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 2 September 2017 7 October 2017 6
2 24 March 2019 12 May 2019 8

International broadcasts[edit]

  •  Australia – Episodes of the British version of The Chase air on weekday afternoons at 3:00 pm on the Seven Network to good ratings. Seven also considered producing a local version, and filmed a pilot episode on the UK set, but decided not to proceed.[57] However, in mid-2015 a local version was commissioned to replace Deal or No Deal and Million Dollar Minute in a bid to revive ratings for its struggling 6:00 pm nightly news.[58][59][60] Hegerty, Labbett and Wallace feature as three of the six chasers on the Australian version.[12][61] They are currently airing series 8.
  •  New Zealand – Episodes of the British version of The Chase air on Monday to Saturday afternoons at 4:55 pm on TVNZ 1, while The Celebrity Chase airs on Sunday afternoons at 4:55 pm, providing the lead-in to the 6:00pm nightly news. Repeat episodes air on Monday to Friday mornings at 11:00 am. The show frequently ranks in the weekly top-20 most watched TV shows, drawing in an average of 1.3 million viewers per week.[62] As of September 2018, they are currently airing series 11.[63]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Bradley Walsh, presenter of the show

The Chase is highly popular with critics and viewers. Despite early criticism,[64] opinion has improved over time. Some critics, as well as the chasers,[7] put the show's success down to Walsh as host and his many memorable moments, some of which come from questions or answers which often leave him in hysterics.[65] Labbett also said that the sense of fun and the variety of chasers is a major factor.[7] Sinha said, "The format has been brilliantly thought out. No matter the relative strengths of the players, it is resolutely a team game, with a dramatic climax."[66]

Controversies[edit]

The Chase has also been at the centre of controversy on several occasions, in which viewers have complained that, during the Final Chase, Walsh asks the chasers' questions more quickly than those of the contestants.[67][68] In an interview with the Radio Times, however, Walsh repudiated those claims: "We have lawyers on the floor to watch all of this. I read [the questions] at exactly the same speed for both." He went on to say, "Don't forget, if I've got Mark Labbett answering questions for two minutes and I've got a team answering for two minutes, the team aren't going to be quicker. Simple as that, because they have to press the button [before answering], which is why they get a head start based on how many people are in the final. If you've got three people in the final chase that's a three-step head start–that's about a twelve-second advantage."[69]

There have also been a number of occasions in which the chaser has won with (almost) no time remaining on the clock,[70][71][72][failed verification] but spokespeople have insisted that an independent adjudicator always checks each show.[73][74][75][76][77]

On 6 April 2016, in an episode in which Labbett was the chaser, a glitch occurred whereby the clock struck 10 seconds and then increased to 11 seconds, giving Labbett an extra second of time. Although the contestants were far ahead and there was no chance of them being caught, a spokesperson for the show told OK! Online the following day: "There was an error on the clock on last night's episode of the Chase. This error happened during the editing process and not in the studio when the show was being recorded so could not have affected the outcome in any way."[78]

On 4 March 2019, in an episode in which Hegerty was the chaser, Walsh asked a question about which band had the fewest members – with the possible answers being The Proclaimers, The Pretenders or The Prodigy. Many viewers criticised ITV for deciding to air the episode hours after the news had publicly broken about the death of The Prodigy's frontman Keith Flint.[79][80]

Gameplay is overseen by independent adjudicators – Beyond Dispute Ltd – who verify that all contestants are treated fairly and consistently.[81][82]. Representatives from Beyond Dispute attend the recording of all shows.

Ratings and rivalry with Pointless[edit]

During its first two series, the show averaged 1–2 million viewers, but in the third series, ratings rose to over 2 million. By December 2012, The Chase had become ITV's most popular "teatime" programme since The Paul O'Grady Show in 2005, with over 3 million viewers an episode.[83] On 21 January 2013, The Chase managed a peak audience of 5.1 million, a new all-time high.[84] Almost every episode is now in ITV's Top 30 weekly broadcasts.[85]

In its timeslot, The Chase airs at the same time as BBC One's Pointless,[86][87] a game show launched in August 2009, two months after The Chase's debut.[7] The two programmes usually receive similar ratings (for example in September 2012, The Chase had 2.44 million viewers versus 2.27 million for Pointless).[88][89] However, between October 2012 and January 2013, The Chase beat Pointless in the ratings each week. For two weeks in February 2013, Pointless received a higher share than The Chase (3.53 million viewers to 3.41 million, and again 3.58 million viewers to 3.30 million).[90][91]

Awards[edit]

Year Group Award Result Reference
2013 National Television Awards Best Daytime Programme Nominated [92]
Broadcast Awards Won [93]
TV Guide Awards Nominated [94]
2014 National Television Awards Nominated [95]
2015 Nominated [96]
2016 Won [97]
2017 Won [98]
2018 Nominated [99]
2019 Best Quiz Show Won [100]

International versions[edit]

Legend:      Currently airing        No longer airing        Upcoming  

Country Local title Channel Presenter Chaser(s) Premiere date End date
 Australia The Chase Australia[101] Seven Network[60] Andrew O'Keefe[61] Brydon Coverdale
Anne Hegerty
Mark Labbett (2016–)[12]
Matt Parkinson
Issa Schultz
Shaun Wallace (Guest Chaser; 2018)[102]
Cheryl Toh (Guest Chaser; 2019–)
2013–1014 September 2015
 China 挑战文化名人
Tiǎozhǎn wénhuà míngrén
(Challenge the Culture Masters)[103]
Jiangxi Television Liú Wèi Meng Man
Ji Lianhai
A Yi
Kang Zhen
Li Bo
2014–0720 July 2014 4 October 2014
 Croatia Potjera
(The Chase)[104]
HRT Tarik Filipović (2013–2019)
Joško Lokas (2019–)
Dean Kotiga (2013–)
Mirko Miočić (2013–2016)
Morana Zibar (2013–)
Krešimir Međeral-Sučević (2016–)
Mladen Vukorepa (2017–)
3 November 2013
 Finland Jahti
(The Chase)[105]
MTV3 Mikko Leppilampi Eero Ylitalo
"Mister Archive" ("Herra Arkisto")
Magnus Mali
"Sharp" ("Terävä")
Markus Leikola
"The Know-all" ("Besserwisser")[106]
30 August 2018
 Germany Gefragt–Gejagt
(Asked–Chased)[107]
NDR Fernsehen (2012–2015)
Das Erste (2015–)
Alexander Bommes
Holger Waldenberger (2012, 2015–2017)
"The Giant" ("Der Gigant")
Sebastian Jacoby (2013–)[108]
"The Quiz God" ("Der Quizgott")
Sebastian Klussmann (2013–)[108]
"The Know-all" ("Der Besserwisser")
Klaus Otto Nagorsnik (2014–)[109]
"The Librarian" ("Der Bibliothekar")
Grażyna Werner (2017)[110]
"The Governess" ("Die Gouvernante")
Manuel Hobiger (2018–)[111]
"The Quiz Volcano" ("Der Quizvulkan")
Thomas Kinne (2018–)[111]
"The Quiz Doctor" ("Der Quizdoktor") 2012–08
8 July 2012
 Israel המרדף
HaMirdaf
(The Chase)[112]
KAN 11 Ido Rosenblum Itai Hermann
Ron Kofman (Guest Chaser; 2017 and 2018)
Nadav Jacobi (Guest Chaser; 2018)
Michal Sharon (2018–)
2017–0518 May 2017
 Norway Jaget
(Hunted)[113]
TV 2 Sturla Berg-Johansen Trine Aalborg
Jan Arild Breistein
Thomas Kolåsæter
2014–097 September 2014 11 May 2016
 Russia Погоня
(Pursuit)[114]
Russia 1 Alexander Gurevich[115] Alexander Ediger
Yuriy Hashimov
Olga Uspanova
Boris Burda
2012–1117 November 2012[116] 14 September 2013
 Serbia

Потера
(Potera; The Chase)[117]

RTS Jovan Memedović Milorad Milinković (Series 1–)
Uroš Đurić (Series 1–5)
Milica Jokanović (Series 2–)
Žarko Stevanović (Series 5–)
Slobodan Nešović (Series 1)
Maja Lalić (Series 1)
2013–1028 October 2013[118]
 Turkey Takip
(Follow)[119]
Kanal D Uraz Kaygilaroğlu Muhsin Divan 2014–049 April 2014[120] 19 January 2015
 United States The Chase[121] GSN Brooke Burns Mark Labbett 2013–086 August 2013[122] 11 December 2015

Merchandise[edit]

A board game based on the show was released in 2012 by Ideal.[123] In 2013, a card game based on the show was released by Ginger Fox.[124]

On 12 December 2012, a version for iOS was released by Barnstorm Games. The app features four chasers (excluding Jenny "The Vixen" Ryan, who had not yet appeared on the programme at the time of release) and can be played by up to four people, as in the actual show. The only differences between the app and the show are that four choices are presented for questions in the Cash Builder and the Final Chase rounds and that no Final Chase is played if all players are caught in their individual chases. The app is designed for both iPhones and iPads.[125] An updated version, The Chase: Ultimate Edition, was released in 2017 and features all five chasers and host Walsh.[126][127]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]