Series / The Chase

British Game Show hosted by Bradley Walsh. A team of four players, never having met before, have the chance to take home thousands of pounds. There's only one thing standing in their way; the Chaser. The chase is on.

For the first round, each team member (in turn) builds up cash by answering quick fire trivia questions on a one minute clock. For each correct answer, the player earns £1,000. Then they must take it to the table, where they encounter the Chaser for the first time. Starting three steps ahead of the Chaser, they can take a free step toward home for a reduction in the prize money, or take a step note  towards the Chaser for an improved prize.

Then both Chaser and contestant answer multiple-choice trivia questions. If either gets it right, they move a step down the table. The contestant attempts to get home (in which case that money goes into the prize fund), while the Chaser tries to reach the contestant (in which case that player is removed from the game, along with their money).

In the final round, any team members that have survived their individual chases take part in the Final Chase. On the buzzer, and against a two-minute clock, the team must set as high a mark as they can (gaining an extra step for each member of the team that survived). After they set the mark, the Chaser has the same two minutes to catch the team. If the Chaser gets a question wrong, the team has a chance to move him/her back a space by answering it correctly themselves. If the team is caught, they leave with nothing; otherwise, the surviving team members split the entire prize.

The original two Chasers were Mark Labbett ("The Beast") and Shaun Wallace ("The Dark Destroyer"), with Anne Hegerty ("The Governess") joining in 2010, followed by Paul Sinha ("The Sinnerman") in 2011 and Jenny Ryan ("The Vixen") in 2015. All five are renowned quizzers of a similar calibre to Eggheads, including a Mastermind winner in the form of Wallace.note 

An American adaption, with Mark Labbett (promoted as "The Beast" as opposed to his real name) as the single Chaser and Brooke Burns hosting has been picked up by GSN. Changes are limited to a 3 man team, a $5,000 a question cashbuilder, occasional six-figure "Super Offers"note , and a Live Studio Audience. It is now in its fourth series. It's also seen in Britain on the Challenge channel, where it's billed as The Chase USA.

The Chase Australia began airing on Australia's Seven Network in September 2015. The Australian version is hosted by Andrew O'Keefe and features Anne Hegerty and local Chasers Matt Parkinson, Issa Schultz, and Brydon Coverdale. Each correct answer in the cash-builder round earns $2,000.

Not to be confused with SyFy's Cha$e. Also read Win Ben Stein's Money, which was a ring-in game show that also offered contestants a chance to beat the titular quizmaster for some quick cash.

This show contains examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Escape the Final Chase, win the cash. Otherwise, it's a victory for the Chaser, and the team earns absolutely nothing.
  • Big Eater: Mark, according to Bradley and Brooke's intro gags.
  • Big Entrance: Whenever the Chaser enters the studio, an epic music plays, and the entire room turns red.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: With Bradley in one of his usual laughing fits (induced by Paul and contestant Andrew), Andrew turns to the camera and says "We'll be back after the break, folks." And then the show cut to a break.
  • The Cast Show Off: The Chasers like to show off their trivia knowledge, and Mark even more than the others. At the end of the head-to-head round, the Chaser would occasionally give details about how and why the answer is correct.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Bradley: I'm sorry [contestant], you have been caught and for you, the chase is over.
    • Shaun: It's just another day at the office.
    • Mark: (with regard to the higher offer) Come up and play.
    • Mark: [higher offer] says you can't beat me.
  • Christmas Episode: Since 2012, "The Chase" has held celebrity episodes around Christmas, usually during their "Text Santa" marathon. Unlike other episodes, each of the celebrities faces a different Chaser, with one of the Chasers coming back for the Final Chase. In the 2012 special, the Chasers were dressed up as Panto villainsnote , and in 2013, they were dressed as traditional Christmas charactersnote . In 2014, however, all the Chasers were not in costume, but they were in semi-formal wear.
  • The Comically Serious: Shaun, whose studious Dark Destroyer persona is often played off against the ridiculous things going on at Bradley's end of the set. Taken to new levels in one of the Christmas specials, where he comes out dressed as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, glowing nose and all, still maintaining his usual persona.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Done quite often towards the end of a close-run personal chase.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If all of the players are caught out by the Chaser, they return for the final chase to play for the value of one Cashbuilder question. However:
    • Only one person (chosen by the team) is allowed to answer the questions.
    • That player only gets a one-step head start rather than four/three (since it's one step for every person playing the Final Chase).
    • That player is playing for the entire team.
  • Corpsing: Happens every now and then, and the producers always Throw It In for comedic value. Bradley's face is a joy to behold, especially funny as the mirth spreads to even the Chaser!
  • Couch Gag:
    • Bradley's initial introduction of the Chasers before the initial appearance of the Chaser of the day.
    • Brooke's Stig-like introductions of the Beast.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Whenever only one player survives to the final round, the Chaser usually ends up winning with a considerable amount of time left. However, there have been some subversions where either the solo contestant emerged triumphant or the Chaser barely makes it halfway to the target:
    • In January 2013, a solo contestant faced Mark in a 15 point final chase. There were numerous pushbacks, and Mark lost with only one answer to go. The contestant's winnings were £60,000 (a little over $91,000) the largest single win ever!
    • In Series 1 Episode 2 of the US version, where a full-house team (3 contestants in the US) faced Mark in an 18-step final chase. After some dreadful mistakes, Mark lost with two steps to go. The contestant's winnings? $180,000 (about £118,000) - more than Mark has ever lost to a team in the UK version, and the highest cash prize in GSN's history.
    • In the US version, one contestant, with a bank of $125,000, managed 7 total pushbacks, forcing The Beast to outright surrender in the end, making only 10 steps out of 19.
    • The episode airing September 2, 2014 was an embarrassment for the Beast, where the players not only managed to make $175,000 and a record 26 steps in the Final Chase (with one of the players giving nearly all of the answers), but for the first minute of the game, the Beast got so many questions wrong that he never got past 2! Needless to say, it was an unprecedented landslide for the players.
  • David Versus Goliath: Matt Parkinson, one of the Australian Chasers, is nicknamed "Goliath". As such, whenever a contestant named David comes up, host Andrew O'Keefe predictably lets loose a Hurricane of Puns.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • The higher offer is higher for a reason. Questions are much harder, and many contestants trip up on these questions. And the Chaser is two steps behind you to start off. Contestants rarely survive the higher offer Personal Chase. The U.S. version took this Up to Eleven and added a rare SUPER offer on a few occasions, which is usually double the high offer, but puts the Chaser right behind the player (meaning just one wrong answer will be enough to get him/her caught unless the Chaser gets a question wrong; the player also has to get 7 questions right to bank the money). However, nobody has yet accepted the challenge of the Super offer.
    • The Final Chase. The questions not only come much faster, but the scores the contestants need for the team to stand a good chance of winning are often extremely high depending on how good a form the opposing Chaser is on. The questions are harder too, for both 'teams'. There's a reason most of those who make it to this point lose.
      • In addition, the Final Chase becomes much harder for teams with less contestants than with those with more. This is due to two main factors, extra contestants cover for subjects not known by the others and, most importantly, more contestants means a greater head start. On the other hand, players who are good enough can actually benefit from playing alone in the Final Chase, due to not having to worry about time-wasting buzzing note  or teammates AND winning more money, as Raj Dhuwalia (a former two-time Jeopardy! champion) proved on the American version when he Curb-Stomped The Beast for a $125,000 bank; being the only person in the Final Chase meant he got all that money for himself.
  • Double Unlock: The players have to win their Personal Chase just to qualify for the Final Chase. Then, they have to win the Final Chase to get the cash.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Taking the low offer results in a lower potential prize, and the Chaser will often mock the player for taking it. Though Mark will sometimes chastise a player for not taking the lower offer, especially if it was early in the game (and therefore had no chance of being negative) and the player had a weak cash build up.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Series 1 only had Mark and Shaun as the Chasers. The early episodes were also quite subdued by comparison. A lot of the gags were absent, and the Chaser of the day was revealed in the intro. The arrival of a Chaser to face the first contestant was preceded by a profile of just him.
  • Extra Turn:
    • Played straight on the Final Chase when the Chaser gets the question wrong, giving the players a chance to push him back (or, if the Chaser isn't on the board, advance one step).
    • Subverted in the Personal Chase, as taking the extra turn lowers the player's potential prize.
  • Flawless Victory: The American Chase upped their stakes with "Super Offer" in 2014 that will always be 6-figures (and can go up to $250,000), but this also counts as Schmuck Bait due to placing the player on the step directly in front of The Beast's starting position, which is how this trope comes into play because such a scenario means a wrong answer will end their game unless The Beast answers wrong as well.
  • Hold the Line: In the Final Chase, the exact number of questions the contestants can get right doesn't really matter. As long as they can keep the Chasers from reaching their total within two minutes, they'll win the money.
  • Home Game:
    • A Board Game adaptation was released in 2012.
    • A brilliant app version was later released.
  • Ice Queen: Anne is famously known for her cold demeanour and Death Glare, hence her other nickname, "Frosty knickers".
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Bradley gets a lot of mileage out of Paul's bright white '70s suit. Paul does as well.
  • Insufferable Genius: Brydon "The Shark" will not hesitate to let the players know how much he's better than them. Andrew describes his range of emotions going from "smug to smug".
  • Large Ham: Mark is the most expressive of the Chasers, and his face contorts to a very obvious display of disappointment if he missed a question he thinks he knows. He's much more of a ham on the U.S. version, sometimes pounding his desk when he loses.
  • Losing Horns: Inverted. If the horn sounds on the Final Chase, it's a win for the team.
  • Narcissist: Discussed. During the introduction for the Chasers, Adrew O'Keefe enjoys pointing out how much Brydon "The Shark" Coverdale is in love with himself.
  • Nightmare Retardant: invoked Discussed in one of the Australian episodes, where a contestant expresses her fangirl crush on Goliath. The latter is not happy that someone finds his effort to be scary and intimidating as "cute".
  • Nintendo Hard: The questions can often be brutally difficult compared to other game shows. Amplified by the fact The Chase gives far lower amounts of money than other game shows unless the players go for the even harder high offers, especially the "Super" Offers on the U.S. version, which require a 7-answer Flawless Victory to just stay in the game if taken (unless the Chaser misses a question).
  • Not So Above It All: The Chasers' typical Stoic Mastermind schtick fails on a couple of occasions. Example.
  • Number of the Beast: Bradley often mentions Mark's exact height when he appears. He's 6'6".
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In the first two series, if the Chaser missed a question of the Final Chase while still at the starting line, they couldn't be pushed back. From series three onwards, the team can instead move ahead by giving a correct answer in this situation.
  • Red Baron: All the Chasers have several titles to make them appear more intimidating.
    • From the original UK show:
      • The Beast, the Man-Mountain - Mark Labbett
      • The Dark Destroyer, the Legal Eagle - Shaun Wallace
      • The Governess, Frosty-Knickers - Anne Hegerty
      • The Sinnerman, the Smiling Assassin - Paul Sinha
      • The Vixen, the Bolton Brainiac - Jenny Ryan
    • From the Australian version:
      • Goliath, Colossus - Matt Parkinson
      • The Shark - Brydon Coverdale
      • Supernerd - Issa Schultz
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In Season 3 Episode 9, contestant Steve's low offer was negative two thousand pounds; in the Beast's words this was to "prevent him from stabbing his team in the back". Steve actually accepts the negative offer, and is chased down within five questions, much to the glee of his team.
  • Running Gag: The US version includes lots of digs at Labbett's weight - many of them by him.
    Contestant: You may be an expert quizzer, but I could beat you in a race.
    Beast: Not if it's to the cake trolley, you couldn't.
  • Self-Deprecation: All the Chasers to some extent.
    Anne [on the image of her as a poledancer]: Terrifying image, isn't it?
  • Schmuck Bait: Those United States "Super Offers" that start at a guaranteed $150,000 and go up are really tempting, but anyone who takes this is asking to be eliminated unless they are as smart as the Chaser due to there being no room for error on this ruleset note . So far, no one has accepted the "Super Offer". And even if they do get it, they still need to win the Final Chase or this is all for naught.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Mark Labbett is not present in any of the Australian version's promotional images, even though he's one of the chasers. Probably justified as he's not a part of that roster until 2016.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Anne Hegerty, "The Governess", was the only female chaser until Jennifer Ryans joined the UK roster in 2015. She's still the sole female chaser in the Australian version.
  • Smug Snake: In one episode, a young man named David, fourth on the podium, spent the whole show encouraging the other contestants to take the low offer. Paul Sinha was infuriated by both this and his mocking of the Chaser's banter, but when David was left alone, he gave him the chance to put his money where his mouth was and offered £40k after a mere £3k cash build up. He took it, got it, and came very close to beating Sinha in the final chase, earning himself a standing ovation from a genuinely impressed Chaser.
  • Speed Round: The whole show, essentially.
    • Each contestant starts with the Cashbuilder Round, where they must answer as many questions as possible in 60 secondes.
    • The Individual Chase round has five-second time limits for each question, the countdown starting when either the contestant or the Chaser answers first.
    • The Final Chase is a two-minute round of rapid fire questions, first for the contestants, and then for the presiding Chaser.
  • Studio Audience: Only in the Celebrity versions. A laugh track is added to normal shows.
  • Take That: On the US version, Mark chastises a contestant for not knowing what 2^3 + 3^3 is (even though the contestant got it right). Even though Mark is a maths genius, he downsizes the contestant further saying "My second grade students should know that. If they don't, I'll have words with them."
  • That Came Out Wrong: Tom and the Great Big Sausage.
    Paul: Is that the one where he had an accident with his chocolate factory, Bradley?
  • Title Drop: The Game Show Host typically opens the episode by saying "The Chase is on".
  • Whammy: The Chaser's low offer can be anything below what the player won in the previous round, including negative figures. (This also means that if the player won nothing, a rarity, a minus cash offer will definitely be the low option, even if there's nothing in the banknote .) This is an unusual iteration of this trope, as the player can refuse it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Often happens when a player takes the low offer. (Especially if it's a negative amount, which sometimes leads to the other players rooting for the Chaser.)
    • One example is a lady who took an offer of minus eleven thousand pounds, after encouraging everyone else to go high all game.
    Bradley: What does YOLO stand for, again?
    Both safe contestants, and Anne: You only live once.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Fanny Chmelar. (Also counts as Bilingual Bonus.)
    Bradley: I'd be straight down the court in the morning if that was my name!