The Chase (UK game show)

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The Chase
The Chase (game show).JPG
Genre Game 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 by Bradley Walsh
Starring Mark Labbett
Shaun Wallace
Anne Hegerty (2010–)
Paul Sinha (2011–)
Jenny Ryan (2015–)
Theme music composer Paul Farrer
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10[2]
No. of episodes 1,000 (as of 29 September 2016)[3]
Production
Executive producer(s) Martin Scott
Michael Kelpie
Location(s) Granada Studios (2009)
The London Studios (2010–13)
Teddington Studios (2013–14)
Elstree Studios (2014–)[4]
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) ITV Studios (2009–13)
Potato (2013–)
Distributor ITV Studios
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9 (HDTV) 1080i
Original release 29 June 2009 (2009-06-29) – present
Chronology
Related shows The Chase (U.S.)
The Chase Australia

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.[5]

With a regular audience of three to five million, The Chase is one of ITV's most successful daytime shows ever.[6] It has been nominated four times for "Best Daytime Show" at the National Television Awards, winning in 2016 and 2017.[7] 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.[8]

Gameplay[edit]

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

Each contestant comes up one at a time and attempts to build up the team's prize fund through two rounds. The first round, known as the "Cash Builder", sees each make an individual cash pot by answering as many questions as the contestant can within one minute, with each correct answer being worth £1,000. After completing the Cash Builder, the contestant enters the "Head-to-Head" round, in which the contesant attempts to bring the money that he or she earned to the bottom of a seven-step money board (referred to as "home"); in the first series, the board was eight steps long. Before the round begins, the money is placed three steps down from the top of the board, and the contestant is given the choice of either starting at that position, beginning one step closer to home or being one step closer to the chaser.

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.

Chasers[edit]

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.[13]

Transmissions[edit]

Regular editions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 29 June 2009[14] 10 July 2009[15] 10[15]
2 24 May 2010[16] 16 July 2010[17] 40[17] No episode on 29 June.
3 3 January 2011[18] 25 February 2011[19] 40[19]
4 5 September 2011[20] 30 January 2012[21] 60[21] Series 4 took a break from 31 October–2 January
5 31 January 2012[22] 26 October 2012[23] 120[24] Series 5 took breaks from 13–17 February, 2–6 April, 4 June–31 August and 17 October
6 29 October 2012[25] 21 November 2014[26] 150[24] Series 6 took breaks from 24 December–1 January, 11–15 February, 25 March–5 April and 27–31 May
7 2 September 2013[27] 17 November 2014[28] 150[24] Series 7 took breaks from 28 October–1 November, 11 November–19 December and 17–21 February
8 1 September 2014[29] 3 July 2015[30] 150[24] Series 8 took breaks from 22 December–2 January & 20 April–29 May
9 22 June 2015[31] 16 May 2016[32] 190[32] Series 9 took breaks from 3–28 August, 23 September, 1, 7 October and 21 December–1 January
10 15 April 2016[33] TBC 190 Series 10 took breaks from 13 June–26 August,[34] 19 December 2016 – 1 January 2017, 20 January and 22 March.
11 25 April 2017 TBC 170

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).

Celebrity editions[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 29 October 2011[35] 10 December 2011[36] 6[36]
2 19 August 2012[37] 7 October 2012[38] 6[38]
3 5 October 2013[39] 28 December 2013[40] 14[40]
Text Santa Special 20 December 2013[41] 1
4 30 August 2014[42] 8 March 2015[43] 18[43]
5 24 October 2015[44] 15 May 2016[45] 16[45]
6 11 September 2016 TBC 16

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.[46] 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.[47][48][49] Hegerty and Labbett feature as two of the five chasers on the Australian version.[8][50]
  •  New Zealand – Episodes of the British version of The Chase air on weekday mornings at 10:00 am and afternoons at 5:00 pm on TVNZ 1.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The Chase has proven highly popular with critics and viewers. Despite early criticism,[51] opinion has improved over time. Some critics, as well as the chasers,[6] put the show's success down to Walsh as host and his many memorable moments, some of which come from questions and/or answers which often leave him in hysterics.[52] Labbett also said that the sense of fun and the variety of chasers is a major factor.[6] 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."[53]

Controversies[edit]

The Chase has also been at the centre of controversy on several occasions, with viewers often complaining that, during the Final Chase, Walsh asks the chasers' questions more quickly than those of the contestants.[54][55] 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."[56]

There have also been a number of occasions in which the chaser has won with (almost) no time remaining on the clock,[57][58] but spokespeople have insisted that an independent adjudicator always checks each show.[59][60]

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."[61]

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.[62] On 21 January 2013, The Chase managed a peak audience of 5.1 million, a new all-time high.[63] Almost every episode is now in ITV's Top 30 weekly broadcasts.[64]

In its 5:00 pm timeslot, The Chase airs at the same time as another game show on BBC One, Pointless,[65][66] which was launched in August 2009, two months after The Chase's debut.[6] The two programmes usually receive similar ratings (e.g. in September 2012, The Chase had 2.44 million viewers versus 2.27 million for Pointless).[67][68] 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).[69][70]

Awards[edit]

Year Group Award Result Reference
2013 National Television Awards Best Daytime Programme Nominated [71]
Broadcast Awards Won [72]
TV Guide Awards Nominated [73]
2014 National Television Awards Nominated [74]
2015 National Television Awards Nominated [75]
2016 National Television Awards Won [76]
2017 National Television Awards Won [77]

International versions[edit]

Country Local title Channel Presenter Chaser(s) Premiere date
 Australia The Chase Australia[78] Seven Network[49] Andrew O'Keefe[50] Brydon Coverdale
Anne Hegerty
Mark Labbett (2016–)[8]
Matt Parkinson
Issa Schultz
14 September 2015
 China 挑战文化名人
Tiǎozhǎn wénhuà míngrén
(Challenge the Culture Masters)[79]
Jiangxi Television Liu Wei Meng Man
Ji Lianhai
A Yi
Kang Zhen
Li Bo
2014–0720 July 2014
 Croatia Potjera
(The Chase)[80]
HRT Tarik Filipović Dean Kotiga (2013–)
Mirko Miočić (2013–2016)
Morana Zibar (2013–)
Krešimir Sučević-Međeral (2016–)
2013–1027 October 2013
 Germany Gefragt–Gejagt
(Asked–Chased)[81]
NDR Fernsehen (2012–15)
Das Erste (2015–)
Alexander Bommes
Holger Waldenberger (2012, 2015–)
"The Giant" ("Der Gigant")
Sebastian Jacoby (2013–)[82]
"The Quiz God" ("Der Quizgott")
Sebastian Klussmann (2013–)[82]
"The Know-all" ("Der Besserwisser")
Klaus Otto Nagorsnik (2014–)[83]
"The Librarian" ("Der Bibliothekar")
Grazyna Werner (2017–)[84]
"The Governess" ("Die Gouvernante")
2012–088 July 2012
 Norway Jaget
(Hunted)[85]
TV 2 Sturla Berg-Johansen Trine Aalborg
Jan Arild Breistein
Thomas Kolåsæter
2014–097 September 2014
 Russia Погоня
(Pursuit)[86]
Russia 1 Alexander Gurevich[87] Alexander Ediger
Juriy Hashimov
Olga Uspanova
Boris Burda
2012–1117 November 2012[88]
 Serbia

Потера
(Potera; The Chase)[89]

RTS Jovan Memedović Milorad Milinković (Series 1–)
Uroš Đurić (Series 1–)
Milica Jokanović (Series 2–)
Maja Lalić (Series 1)
Slobodan Nešović (Series 1)
2013–1028 October 2013[90]
 Turkey Takip
(Follow)[91]
Kanal D Uraz Kaygilaroğlu Muhsin Divan 2014–049 April 2014[92]
 United States The Chase[93] Game Show Network Brooke Burns Mark Labbett 2013–086 August 2013[94]

Merchandise[edit]

A board game based on the show was released in 2012 by Ideal.[95] 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.[96]

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External links[edit]