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Series / The Chase

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"These four players who have never met before have a chance to win thousands of pounds. There's just one thing standing in their way... the Chaser. The chase is on."
Bradley Walsh

British Game Show hosted by Bradley Walsh (an American version also exists; see below). As explained at the start of every episode, a team of four players, never having met before, answer trivia questions to earn cash and then compete against the day's Chaser for the chance to take home an equal share of the money the team earned overall. The name of the show comes from the format of answering as many questions correctly as the Chasers in head-to-head rounds. Considering the Chasers are certified trivia buffs who compete regularly, and the rather difficult nature of the questions, this is not easy.

For the first round, each individual team member (in turn) has 60 seconds to answer as many quick-fire trivia questions as possible, earning £1,000 for each correct answer. In the second round, they then compete against the day's Chaser for the right to take that money into the Final Chase. 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 toward the contestant's end. If the contestant reaches home, they advance to the Final Chase and their money goes into the team's prize pot. If the Chaser catches up, both the contestant and the money are out of the game.


In the third round, the Final Chase, the surviving team members answer as many quick-fire questions on the buzzer as they can in two minutes. Each correct answer moves them one step ahead, and they receive a one-step head start for each surviving member. The Chaser is then given two minutes to catch the team, and each wrong answer gives the team a chance to push the Chaser back one step by answering the same question correctly. If the team is caught, they leave with nothing; if not, the surviving team members split the prize pot equally.

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 version, with Mark Labbett (promoted as "The Beast" as opposed to his real name) as the single Chaser and Brooke Burns hosting was picked up by GSN. The rules were changed slightly, with only three people per team, a $5,000 per question cashbuilder, occasional six-figure "Super Offers"note , and a Live Studio Audience. It was cancelled two episodes into its fifth season, with the network claiming that it was too expensive to continue producing. It's also seen in Britain on the Challenge channel, where it's billed as The Chase USA. The third and fourth seasons are available for streaming on Netflix.

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 ("Goliath"), Issa Schultz ("The Super Nerd"), and Brydon Coverdale ("The Shark"). Mark Labbett joins the lineup in 2016. Each correct answer in the cash-builder round earns $2,000.

Not to be confused with Sci Fi Channel'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. Lose your head-to-head chase, and your only chance to take home any money is if everyone else on the team wipes out too.
  • Berserk Button: The easiest way to drive the Chaser up the wall, during the Individual Chase rounds, is to get the correct answer after admitting that you have no idea what the answer is. Especially if it happens for all the rounds, and especially still if you're playing for the Top Offer.
    • Cocky contestants are also liable to attract the Chaser's ire, whether they are actually knowledgeable or not.
    • On a more serious note...poor sportsmanship. The Chasers are mainly hamming it up for the camera, but one of the few times Mark has honestly seemed genuinely angry at a contestant was when the contestant was pulling mocking faces during Mark's round of the final chase. When the team subsequently won, Mark sourly noted that they were good players, but lousy sports.
  • Big Eater: Mark "The Beast" Labbett is a large man, and as such is subject to jokes about his equally large appetite during the Chasers' introduction.
  • Big Entrance: Whenever the Chaser enters the studio, an epic music plays, and the entire room turns red.
  • Big "YES!": Bradley delivered one, shown here
  • 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. In the more usual display of this trope, Shaun will occasionally break into song.
  • Catchphrase:
    Bradley: Let's put some money on the table...
    Bradley: For [amount] pounds, the chase is on.
    Bradley: I'm sorry [contestant], you have been caught and for you, the chase is over.
    Bradley: Can anyone take money from our chasers? Come and have a go if you think you're clever enough.
    Bradley: Stop the clock; that is wrong. (When the Chaser misses a question in the Final Chase)
    Bradley: Money's in your hand. (Said to the team in the Final Chase, when the Chaser is too far back to catch up)
    Shaun: It's just another day at the office.
    Shaun: (on a roll or just annoyed) Next question, Bradley.
    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.
  • Consolation Prize: In the celebrity specials, if the team fails to outrun the Chaser, they still get £1000 each for their chosen charities.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If all of the players are caught out by the Chaser, they return for the final chase to play for cash equal to the number of teammates times 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.
    • However, as noted by a couple chasers, sometimes they are better off this way as an earlier, stronger contestant who just had a stroke of bad luck in their personal chases is better than a later contestant who didn't do well in their cash builder and thus would fall apart in the final chase so that the team can go home with something.
  • 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 most of those due to one player, future Jeopardy! mega-champ James Holzhauer), 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.
    • Season 2 Episode 38, Australian version: Nick marks history as the first Australian player to win with a one-man team. Even more impressive is the fact that he's facing the Governess, whose very page information stated that she's never been defeated by a one-man team before.
  • David vs. 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 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 fewer 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.
      • For the chaser, the Final Chase is meant to be difficult for them as they have to rely on themselves for the answer and, most importantly, can be forced to answer additional questions due to push backs.
  • 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 if they earned good Cashbuilders (or talked themselves and other contestants up during previous rounds).
    • There are occassions where this doesn't happen, particularly with poor players in situations where the numbers are dwindling; often knowing how good you aren't is more important than knowing the questions themselves, and you can't win anything if you get caught.
    • 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 Cashbuilder. For him, sometimes taking the middle offer is the worst thing to do.
  • 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 would always be 6-figures (and could go up to $250,000), but this also counted 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 came into play because such a scenario meant a wrong answer would end their game unless The Beast answered wrong as well.
  • Foil: Four of the five chasers in the UK are given "opposite" personas: "icy" Anne and "fiery" Jenny are one pair, "witty/annoying" Paul and "humourless/boring" Sean are the other (Mark sits in a category of his own). If the contestant expresses a preference for — or fear of — a particular Chaser and their opposite number comes out instead, the Chaser will almost certainly comment on their contrasting characteristics.
    • Bradley is often this for several of the Chasers, particularly Shaun and his very stoic personality.
  • Geek Physique: "Supernerd" Issa Schulz has a lanky figure that Andrew O'Keefe frequently compares to a pencil, stick insect, etc.
    • Mark Labbett is at the other end of the scale: 6'7" and 380 pounds. They don't call him "The Man-Mountain of Maths" for nothing.
  • Hard Mode Perks: 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 was usually at least double the high offer and could run to six figures. However, the player started out only one step ahead of the Chaser and needed seven correct answers to bank the money. Throughout the show's run, nobody accepted the challenge of the Super offer.
  • 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".
  • Karma Houdini: Any contestant who talks a big game, earns a lot of money in their Cashbuilder, then takes a minus offer and makes it back safely, is generally considered to be this. From the Chaser's perspective, this also includes anybody who isn't good at all to guess their entire way back home.
  • 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 was much more of a ham on the U.S. version, sometimes pounding his desk when he lost.
  • Losing Horns: Inverted. If the horn sounds on the Final Chase, it's a win for the team.
  • Mixed Metaphor: The opening spiel includes the line "There's just one thing standing in their way: the Chaser". Well are they standing in their way, or chasing them?
  • Narcissist: Discussed. During the introduction for the Chasers, Andrew 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 required a 7-answer Flawless Victory to just stay in the game if taken (unless the Chaser missed 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 of Maths - 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 £2,000; 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 started at a guaranteed $150,000 and went up were really tempting, but anyone who took this was asking to be eliminated unless they were as smart as the Chaser due to there being no room for error on this ruleset.note  Throughout the US show's five-season run, no one accepted the "Super Offer". And even if they did go for it, they still needed to win the Final Chase or it was all for naught.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Anne Hegerty, "The Governess", was the only female chaser until Jenny Ryan joined the UK roster in 2015. She was the sole female chaser in the Australian version until the occasional addition of the Tiger Mum from 2019.
  • 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.
    • There have been many contestants over the show's run who proudly drop that they play in pub quizzes, only to learn the hard way that The Chase is a very different ball game regarding the question difficulty and the caliber of the Chasers.
  • Speed Round: The whole show, essentially.
    • Each contestant starts with the Cashbuilder Round, where they must answer as many questions as possible in 60 seconds.
    • 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 and the US version. A laugh track is added to normal shows.
  • Take That!: On the US version, Mark chastised a contestant for not knowing what 2^3 + 3^3 is (even though the contestant got it right). Even though Mark is a math genius, he downsized 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.). Especially if they previously encouraged everybody else to go high or have themselves earned a lot of money in their cashbuilder, proving they can do it.
    • One example is a lady who took an offer of minus £11,000, 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.
    • Note that sometimes, this can be inverted and the player may be encouraged to take the low or even negative offer. This is generally acceptable if the extra body will give them another step ahead of the Chaser in the Final Chase, they can afford to take the low/negative offer, a previous contestant has been eliminated and/or they aren't that good.
  • 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!


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