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Series / The Chase (Game Show)

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"These four people have never met before, but by working as a team, they 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 (two American and one Australian versions also exist; 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" (one of several resident trivia/quizzing experts) for the chance to take home an equal share of the money the team earned overall. The name of the show comes from the need to answer enough questions correctly to stay ahead of the Chaser on the show's gameboard. Considering the Chasers have prominent backgrounds in local/national/international quizzing competitions, and the rather difficult nature of the questions, this is not easy.

  • For the first round ("Cash Builder"), 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. The total amount is then brought into the second round. All this happens after a pre-round interview with the contestant.
  • In the second round ("Head-to-Head"), they then compete against the day's Chaser for the right to play in the Final Chase. They can start three steps ahead of the Chaser and play for the Cash Builder total, take one step toward home and play for a lower amount, or move one step toward the Chaser for a higher stakenote . Then both the 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.note  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 pass or miss gives the team a chance to push them back one step by answering correctly.note  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 caliber to Eggheadsnote , including a Mastermind winner (Wallace) and two champions of Only Connect (Labbett and Ryan, with Ryan also being the first woman to be part of a winning team on the show). Darragh Ennis, who appeared as a contestant on a winning team in 2017, became the show's sixth Chaser ("The Menace") in 2020. A primetime spin-off, Beat the Chasers, also launched that year, featuring singular contestants competing in a timed, head-to-head duel against multiple Chasers.

The first attempt to bring The Chase to America, with Mark Labbett (promoted as "The Beast" as opposed to his real name) as the single Chaser and Brooke Burns hosting aired on Game Show Network for four seasons from 2011 to 2015. The rules were changed slightly, with only three people per team, a $5,000 per question Cash Builder, occasional six-figure "Super Offers"note , and a Live Studio Audience. Two episodes into the second half of the fourth season, GSN announced that the program would not be renewed, citing that it was too expensive to continue producing. The American version was also seen in Britain on the Challenge channel, where it's billed as The Chase USA. The third and fourth seasons would later be made available for streaming on Netflix. ABC rebooted the series for primetime in January 2021 with the Jeopardy! trio of James ("The High Roller") Holzhauer, Ken ("The Professor") Jennings, and Brad ("The Buzzsaw") Rutter as Chasers and Sara Haines (The View) replacing Brooke Burns as host, awarding $25,000 per question in the Cash Builder. This version adds a room called the "Chasers' Lounge" where the two non-playing chasers can watch the game and provide color commentary. Labbett would later join the ABC version for its second season, at which point the Cash Builder question value was reduced to $10,000. The third season, which premiered on May 3, 2022, saw the departure of Jennings and Labbett but also welcomed three new Chasers: Victoria ("The Queen") Groce, Brandon ("The Lightning Bolt") Blackwellnote , and another memorable Jeopardy! figure in Buzzy ("The Stunner") Cohen.

The Chase Australia began airing on Australia's Seven Network in September 2015. The Australian version was originally 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 joined the lineup in 2016, after the GSN version’s end; Cheryl Toh ("Tiger Mum") debuted in 2019, followed by former contestant Mara Lejins ("The Smiling Assassin") in late 2022. In late 2021, Larry Emdur (from The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune fame) replaced O'Keefe as host after the latter was charged with domestic violence and common assault in January 2021. 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:

  • A Birthday, Not a Break: One contestant called Margo had her 91st birthday on the show. You wouldn't have guessed.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Occasionally, Bradley - or a contestant - will get this reaction from one of the Chasers.
    Paul: [after a particularly lengthy lecture] But other than that, it was a bit of a guess.
    Contestant: [to Bradley] Bet he's great on a night out.
    Bradley: He's actually very-
    Bradley: Actually, you can't top that. Well played.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Several of the Chasers' nicknames.
    • Beastie Boy, Man-Mountain of Maths (Mark)
    • Dark Destroyer (Shaun)
    • Sarcasm in a Suit (Paul)
    • Bolton Brainiac, Bolton Bombshell (Jenny)
    • Dublin Dynamo (Darragh)
    • Sensational Six, Deadly Half-Dozen, Super Smart Six, Gallery of Geeks, Brainy Bunch (collectively, on Beat the Chasers)
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Chasers all function as this during the personal and final rounds. This is more explicit in the personal head-to-head chase where they and the contestant take their steps at the same time, the latter figuratively trying to outrun the Chaser.
  • All or Nothing:
    • Escape the Final Chase, and 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.
    • In cases where the first three players are knocked out, it's common for the fourth contestant to go for broke and pick the high offer regardless of skill level since if they're caught they'll have to pick someone for the final chase anyway for the lowest possible cash amount. This rarely works for both the head-to-head and the Final Chase, but on the off-chance they're successful, they'll have won a huge amount of cash all to themselves.
  • All for Nothing: It's all too common for a contestant to pick the lower offer just in case, only to get all the head-to-head questions right and make it back with ease.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One question from 2024.
    In Stephen Fry's novel Making History, the hero changes time to try and prevent the birth of which figure? A: Joseph Stalin; B: Adolf Hitler; C: James Corden?note 
  • Ascended Extra: The UK, US, German and Australian versions have all promoted former contestants to regular Chasers (also can be considered a long-range form of Face–Heel Turn).
    • Three years after appearing as a contestant on the original UK version, Darragh Ennis became its sixth Chaser.
    • James Holzhauer went from being a contestant on the GSN version to one of the Chasers on the ABC version (having achieved fame and success on Jeopardy! in the meantime).
    • Grazyna Werner, Manuel Hobinger, Thomas Kinne, and Annegret Schenkel all appeared as contestants on the German version before becoming Chasers themselves.
    • Mara Lejins, a former The Chase Australia (2017) and Beat the Chasers Australia (2020) contestant, became a Chaser on the parent show in 2022. In 2024, another Beat the Chasers Australia contender in David Poltorak will join the team.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: The Final Chase is this: the four contestants use their pooled knowledge bases to compete against the Chaser's singularly vast amount of knowledge. None of the other rounds are like this: the Cash Builder is an easier, solo form of the Final Chase, and the head-to-head gives multiple-choice answers to even the playing field.
    • Beat the Chasers is the inverse, with multiple Chasers going up against a singular contestant. Naturally, this attracts a lot of trivia buffs who want to lock horns with them.
  • Back for the Finale: If all four contestants are caught, the Final Chase is still played: the team returns and elects one of them to play the Final Chase on their own for the lowest possible cash prize (£1,000 each in the UK version). In some cases, this can be advantageous: if a very good player got caught through bad luck, they can represent the team and can answer the questions as fast as they like.
    • The Australian version of Beat the Chasers utilizes a tournament format: the 7 biggest winners of the first four episodes (dubbed the “heats”) are invited back on the Grand Finale to play another game against all four Chasers for even bigger (bonus) payouts. On the Grand Finale, each Cash Builder question is worth $5,000 and players must wager a portion of their heats winnings to add to their Cash Builder total to make the lowest cash offer. Then they are given that and two other big offers of time and money to face the four Chasers. A win adds the chosen offer to what they have had (before the wager), a loss deducts their wager.
  • Beard of Evil: Shaun grew one in late 2021.
  • A Beast in Name and Nature: Mark Labbett goes by "The Beast" due to his genius-level knowledge of trivia, and perhaps also his imposing physical stature (6'6", 380 pounds — 1.98 m, 172.4 kg). As a Chaser, he is basically the antagonist of the episodes he's in, as the players have to compete against him to win. For a bit of Bilingual Bonus, his surname also sounds like "la bête", French for "the beast".
  • 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.
    • Want to stay on Bradley's good side? Do NOT answer a head-to-head question before he has finished fully reading all of the answers. Some of the funniest examples can be found here.
  • 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.note 
  • Big Entrance: Whenever the Chaser enters the studio, 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 see 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:
    • On The Chase:
    Bradley: Hello, and welcome to The Chase. Can a team of total strangers beat one of Britain's finest quiz brains and take home thousands of pounds? I certainly hope so. Let's meet them.
    Bradley: (after the team members introduce themselves) And that is my team. Now, one by one, they'll try to bring as much money as they can down the table and into the team prize fund, but as always, hunting them down every step of the way is the Chaser. Anyone who gets caught loses their money and is out of the game. Make it back safely though, and they'll go through to the Final Chase with a chance to win an equal share of that total prize fund. And, first to face the Chaser, it's [contestant].
    Bradley: Let's put some money on the table...
    Bradley: For [amount] pounds, the chase is on.
    Bradley: (when a contestant answers a fairly easy question) Yeah, all day long.
    Bradley: I'm sorry, [contestant], you have been caught, and for you, the chase is over.
    Bradley: Time to bring on/face the Chaser.
    Bradley: Can anyone take money from our chasers? Come and have a go if you think you're clever enough.
    Bradley: It is time for the Final Chase.
    Bradley: Stop the clock; that is wrong. (When the Chaser misses a question in the Final Chase)
    Bradley: Money's in your hands. (Said to the team in the Final Chase, when the Chaser doesn't have any chance to catch up in the remaining time)
    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/I'm better than you.
    Mark: (when a contestant who takes the middle offer claims to be playing it safe) The middle offer may be safer; it is certainly not safe.
    Mark: In the words of the great philosopher Shania Twain, "That don't impress me much."
    Brooke: Unleash the Beast!
    Sara: (after a contestant says what they'd do with the money) Oh, I love that.
    Brooke/Sara: The Final Chase is on!
    Andrew/Larry: Release the Chaser!
    • On Beat the Chasers:
    Bradley: Hello, and welcome to Beat the Chasers. (as he walks to center stage) And here they are: (introducing the Chasers, one by one)
    Bradley: (beginning the head-to-head round) (It is now) time to face the Chasers.
    Chaser: We want [amount] seconds on our clock; (and/but you’ll be playing for [amount] pounds.)
    Bradley: (initiating the head-to-head) [contestant], let’s see if you can… beat the/those Chasers.
    Bradley: [contestant], your time starts counting down... now.
    Bradley: (after a win) [contestant], you have beaten the Chasers.
    Bradley: (after a lose) I’m sorry, [contestant], you’ve been beaten by the Chasers.
    Bradley: Can anyone else beat/take on the Chasers/[funny nickname]? Find out after the break.
  • Celebrity Edition: Every so often, usually with the Christmas Episodes.
  • Christmas Episode: Except for 2016, The Chase has held celebrity episodes around Christmas every year since 2012, usually during their "Text Santa" marathon. Unlike other episodes, each of the celebrities faces a different Chaser, with one of them (2012-14) or the fifth (2015 on) playing the Final Chase. The Chasers have dressed either in formalwear, or in costume as follows.
    • 2012 — Panto villainsnote 
    • 2013 — Traditional Christmas charactersnote 
    • 2014 — Sequin-covered formalwear based on their usual outfits, while Bradley and the contestants wore suits and dresses
    • 2015 — Everyone onstage wore a Homemade Sweater from Hellnote 
    • 2017 — Characters from A Christmas Carolnote 
    • 2018 — Bands that charted #1 hits at Christmasnote 
    • 2019 — Characters in movies about, or released at/near, Christmasnote 
    • 2020 — Subjects of famous paintingsnote 
  • 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. This is often done to pad time for a contestant who's about to be caught early: the host can then spend some time recapping the situation to pad the runtime.
  • Confetti Drop: Averted normally, but beginning in the mid-2010's, confetti is used at the end of the Christmas Specials to simulate a snowy scene. Previously, the show used pyrotechnics at the end of the Christmas Specials.
    • However in the spin-off Beat the Chasers, this trope is played straight: confetti falls whenever a contestant defeats all five chasers and wins an especially high amount (normally £100,000), which is usually the highest amount won in that episode. In later seasons, winning at least £50,000 or £60,000 is enough to get confetti falling on you.
  • Consolation Prize: In the celebrity specials, if the team fails to outrun the Chaser, they still get £1,000 each for their chosen charities.
  • Continuing is Painful: If all of the players are caught out by the Chaser, they still have a chance to take home some money in the Final Chase. However, only one person (chosen by the team) is allowed to answer the questions, and they only get a one-step head start rather than four/three (since it's one step for every person playing the Final Chase).note 
    • On the British and American GSN versions, the money at stake is enough to give every team member the value of one Cash Builder question. From Season 3 of the American ABC version, it is two questions per person, or $60,000. On the Australian and ABC (Season 1) versions, the chaser names the prize, to be divided evenly among all the players.note 
    • 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 chase 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.
    • Sometimes invoked by the Chasers, if its within the last couple seconds and they can't answer a question knowing they can't recover from it, they will simply let time run out rather than waste time being wrong as they still have to stop the clock for the team to answer and possibly push back.
    • Certain contestants will feel this after taking a substantial low offer only to romp home easily and deduct a lot of cash for no reason.
  • Couch Gag:
    • Bradley's/Andrew's/Larry'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 GSN 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.
    • Also in the GSN 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 and Chaser 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 marked history as the first Australian player to win with a one-man team. Even more impressive is the fact that he was facing the Governess, whose very page information stated that she had never been defeated by a one-man team before.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Chasers, to an extent. It's Paul's schtick specifically, however.
    • Anne occasionally gets in on it as well - here's an example.
    • Bradley himself can become this at times.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Overlaps with Suspicious Video-Game Generosity when a contestant's pre-round interview lasts much longer than normal. Nine times out of ten, this is because they'll get caught exceedingly quickly in the head-to-head and the editors need to fill time. The Chase's format practically invokes this: a contestant cannot actually lose the first round, which gives the audience time to know them, but the show's difficulty means they'll likely lose in the second or third rounds.
  • 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.
  • Dwindling Party: A natural effect of the Chasers catching contestants and eliminating the team members throughout the game. Particularly unfortunate sessions can look like tin can target practice.
  • 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 did well in the Cash Builder (or talked themselves and other contestants up during previous rounds).
    • There are occasions where this doesn't happen, particularly with poor players in situations where the numbers are dwindling; knowing how good you aren't is sometimes more important than knowing the questions themselves, and you can't win anything if you get caught. On at least one occasion, a player took a (negative) low offer and made it home, and the team went on to win the Final Chase by exactly one step — the head start for having that extra player in the game.
    • 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 Builder, meaning the low offer may reduce the total prize pool by a negligible amount. For him, sometimes taking the middle offer is the worst thing to do.
    • Mark once declared a negative low offer to a contestant specifically to prevent them from betraying the team. The guy actually took it. His team immediately turned against him and Mark caught him in one of the few times where a contestant elimination on the show was positive.
  • 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. Funnily enough, the ABC version uses this style of intro at present, though it had three Chasers.
    • As the series goes on, the set goes through several revisions, including replacing the circular disk at the bottom of the head-to-head table with a floor that stretches back to "the bar" where the contestants are, which itself has been changed several times. Going back to these episodes is a strange sight.
    • The culture around low offers has also changed quite a bit, at least regarding the Chasers and the host. In the early days a negative offer of any amount was tantamount to treason: -2,000 was enough to earn your team's ire and ward off anyone thinking of going low. Nowadays however it's understood that in certain situations it is justified to go low, so the "I'm setting this so you won't take it" offer is closer to -7,000. Chastising a player for going low is now only done when it's tactically unjustified: if one person brought back 50,000 but is the only one back, the last player taking -10,000 is acceptable. Interestingly, this outlook rarely applies to the contestants themselves: "I'll never take the low offer" is still said very frequently no matter what it actually is.
    • The first season of the ABC show had Cash Builders worth a whopping $25,000 each. This was toned down to $10,000 after they realized it made the choice between the three amounts almost moot.
  • Evil Wears Black: Most of the Chasers' outfits are primarily black. Anne sometimes wears a blouse under her suit that's so dark gray as to be nearly black, and Paul wears a black shirt under his white suit.
    • On the Beat the Chasers specials, all the Chasers wear black outfits with red accents - and they absolutely do not mess around once the head-to-head round starts.
  • Extra Turn:
    • Played straight on the Final Chase when the Chaser gets the question wrong, giving the players a chance to push him/her back (or move themselves ahead if the Chaser is still on the starting line).
    • Subverted in the head-to-head rounds, as taking the extra turn lowers the player's potential prize.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Less-skilled contestants will often invoke this when they fail to read a question correctly (very rarely, the Chasers themselves do this). While The Chase is considered to be one of the more difficult quiz shows, many questions can be outright guessed based on a provided clue (pyro = fire, for instance). Video game questions are ripe for invoking this: if a question is asked about what you drive in Grand Theft Auto, a contestant may panic over not knowing anything about video games to realize they only have to answer "cars".
    • In one 2020 episode, a team was given a lecture by Anne on Henry I, who died in 1135 supposedly of eating too many lampreys. Would you believe it, he came up in the Final Chase, and the team passed.
  • Fan Disservice: Often verbally invoked regarding Anne's pre-match bio, and even one of her nicknames: Frosty Knickers. Also invoked by certain (often male) contestants when explaining why they hope to take her on:
    Contestant: I think she's rather cute, rather sexy.
    Brad: ...yuk.
  • Flawless Victory:
    • Often highlighted by the Chasers who point out to a contestant that they haven't gotten an answer wrong yet.
    • The American GSN version raised the stakes with occasional six-figure "Super Offers" that could run as high as $250,000. However, these offers gave a head start of only one step and fell into Schmuck Bait territory, since one wrong answer by the player would knock them out of the game unless Mark missed the same question. (No one ever took the Super Offer.)
    • A more straight example would be if a contestant answered all of their questions correctly during the head-to-head; a chaser can't catch anyone who doesn't answer incorrectly. That had happened before in the British version when Colin answered every question correctly in both his Cash Builder and his head-to-head round against Paul Sinha.
    • On the flip side of things, during the Final Chase, players cannot push back a chaser who answers everything correctly. Of course, the chaser still has to catch up before time runs out, but while it's easy to see if the contestant(s) score on the lower end of things, a flawless chase by said chaser becomes important if they have to score 20 points or more. On one occasion, Mark defeated a team scoring 26 with no wrong answers and 3 seconds remaining, visibly exhausted after the chase and acknowledging that he got lucky.
    • The Chasers often try to have perfect games where they give no wrong answers in a single episode. On at least one occasion Mark answered too quickly trying to do this and breaks his streak in the Final Chase.
  • Foil: The chasers in the UK are given "opposite" personas: "icy" Anne and "fiery" Jenny, "witty/annoying" Paul and "humourless/boring" Shaun, and "brash/cocky" Mark and "reserved" Darragh — not only do these last two also have completely opposite body types, but Mark is famously ruthless to contestants while Darragh was a contestant, and often expresses a level of reassurance or sympathy for his opponent. If a 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.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Darragh Ennis appeared on the show as a contestant in 2017 and became the sixth Chaser three years later. During his team's Final Chase, he provided 14 of their 19 correct answers. He remained undefeated in the Final Chase until August 2021, a winning streak of over nine months.
    • Ditto for James Holzhauer in America, though he first proved himself worthy elsewhere.
  • 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: 6'6" and 380 pounds. They don't call him "The Man-Mountain of Maths" for nothing.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The question writers are fond of this. Particular favourites are answers involving celebrities or athletes with names that sound like sexual innuendo, English towns with highly questionable names, and jokes involving Uranus.
  • Godzilla Threshold: While the lower offer has a reputation for making enemies of the other contestants, there are sometimes situations where taking it is perfectly justified. If a contestant isn't that good and only got one or two correct answers, they probably wouldn't last taking the middle offer and have no business taking the higher one, and if the lower offer is a positive the difference is negligible. Another factor can be the remaining contestants: if two contestants have been knocked out, the last one taking the lower offer is tactically sound to provide the extra step and boost the knowledge base.
  • 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.
    • Beat the Chasers relies even more strongly on this trope. The more Chasers you decide to play against, the higher the offer goes, often topping out at 20-50 times the Cash Builder total if you take on five. Beginning with the fourth series, any contestant who gets all five Cash Builder questions right will receive an extra "Super Offer," allowing them to go up against all six Chasers with no time advantage and play for an even bigger prize.
  • Hold the Line: In the Final Chase, the exact number of questions the contestants get right doesn't really matter. As long as the Chaser can't match their score 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, followed by an updated version known as the "Ultimate Edition", which featured voice cues of Bradley, options to play as a chaser, and more. The British version was later ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2022. The American GSN version also had a similar app. In 2023, a "World Tour" edition was released, featuring Chasers from the UK, US and Australia.
  • Ice Queen: Anne is famously known for her cold demeanour and Death Glare, hence her other nickname, "Frosty Knickers".
  • Iconic Outfit: Each Chaser has one.
    • Mark's black suit/tie and white shirt.
    • Shaun's all-black suit/tie/shirt.
    • Anne's dark gray suit and white blouse with a matching ribbon tie.
    • Paul's blindingly white suit and black shirt with no tie.
    • Jenny's black dress with pink leopard-print trim around the shoulders/neckline/sleeves.
    • Darragh's black velvet suit, white shirt, and bolo tie.
  • 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 Cash Builder, 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.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the Final Chase on one of the celebrity editions, Mark Labbett got a question he had no idea about (on Coronation Street) with one second to go, and immediately conceded the whole round and congratulated the team rather than passing.
  • 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.
    • Also Andrew O'Keefe, the first host of the Australian version, with a... hyperactive hosting style straight out of Deal or No Deal.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to above, Larry Emdur's hosting style can be considered this.
  • Losing Horns: Inverted. If the horn sounds on the Final Chase, it's a win for the team.
    • On Beat the Chasers, this is played both ways, if the horn sounds during the Chasers' turn, the player wins and vice-versa.
  • 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).
    • Taken even further on Beat the Chasers as you don't have the luxury of a team to back you up. Not only that, but to play for a higher payout, you have to give the chasers a higher safety net by allowing more chasers into the game with more time on their side of the clock.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Used in the Cash Builder on Beat the Chasers. Miss the very first question, and you're out the door with nothing.
    • Also on the short-lived Chinese version of the main show: a player getting zero in the Cash Builder is eliminated immediately, without the opportunity to face the Chaser at the table.
  • 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".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Brad leans hard into the "I just ask the questions, I don't know any of the answers" persona; when he introduces Darragh, a scientist, he often claims that the fruit flies that Darragh studies have bigger brains than Brad. However, even the Chasers bow to Brad's knowledge on classic film, and he had a previous career in engineering — not hallmarks of someone lacking in brainpower.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: There were two examples from Mark Labbett in a June 2010 edition: after one player only earned £4,000 in the cash builder round, she decided to gamble and take his higher offer of £26,000. Despite her losing, he applauded her for being the bravest contestant he'd ever faced. At the end of the show, the two remaining contestants built up a 26-step Final Chase, but he caught them with 3 seconds to go, and he apologized to and praised the contestants.
  • Power Trio: The original three chasers on the 2021 ABC version — all Jeopardy! champions with seven-figure winnings totals.
  • Punny Name: Darragh Ennis's nickname is the Menace. Which makes him D Ennis the Menace.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: In Beat the Chasers, all the Chasers adopt black-and-red versions of their standard outfits. Paul's is the biggest change as he normally wears a white suit.
  • 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, The Transatlantic Giant - Mark Labbett (the only chaser to appear on the first four seasons of the American GSN version)
      • The Dark Destroyer, The Legal Eagle, The Barrister - Shaun Wallace
      • The Governess, Frosty-Knickers - Anne Hegerty
      • The Sinnerman, The Smiling Assassin - Paul Sinha
      • The Vixen, The Bolton Brainiac - Jenny Ryan
      • The Menace - Darragh Ennis
    • From the Australian version:
      • Goliath, Colossus - Matt Parkinson
      • The Shark - Brydon Coverdale
      • Supernerd - Issa Schultz
      • Tiger Mum - Cheryl Toh
      • Smiling Assassin - Mara Lejins
      • Professor - David Poltorak
    • From the American ABC version:
      • The Professor - Ken Jennings
      • The Buzzsaw - Brad Rutter
      • The High Roller - James Holzhauer
      • The Queen - Victoria Groce
      • The Lightning Bolt - Brandon Blackwell
      • The Stunner - Buzzy Cohen
  • 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. Future lower offers would be significantly higher.
    • This can happen in the inverse as well: on at least one occasion a poor player made it back but the other two are knocked out. When the fourth contestant turns out to be excellent, the remaining player begged them to not go high and either stick or go low so they had some support. The fourth contestant instead goes for broke and inevitably gets caught, leaving the unskilled player on their own where they lose the Final Chase, meaning nobody won any money.
  • Running Gag: The GSN 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.
    Mark: Not if it's to the cake trolley, you couldn't.
    • In the ABC version, Rutter and Holzhauer will take jabs at Jennings for his popularity, especially when the subject of Jeopardy comes up.
    • Another Running Gag in the ABC version is when Groce is close to or about to catch the contestant, she begins knitting with what her fellow Chasers call "The Needles of Death".
  • Self-Deprecation: All the Chasers to some extent.
    Anne [on the image of her as a pole dancer]: Terrifying image, isn't it?
  • Serious Business: The Chasers take the show extremely seriously from a trivia perspective, often beating themselves up when getting particularly bad flubs on easy answers. Contestants also show similar seriousness when playing, which can cause frustration when one of them is only there to have fun and has a rather flippant attitude.
  • 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.
    • Also the "Super Offers" in the UK Beat the Chasers from series 4 onwards (which only one person has dared to accept). Taking one of these means facing all six chasers with no time advantage for a massive cash prize. Highest Super Offer ever proposed was a whopping £500,000.
  • Serial Escalation: Happens naturally over the course of the show regarding the Chaser's offers: each contestant is offered progressively higher and higher amounts, typically starting in the 20K range and often ending in the 60K range (the inverse happens with the low offers). This sometimes has the unfortunate result of a very skilled player in the first seat earning 7K or more but only getting 20-something thousand as their high offer; if they were in seat four they would have gotten far more than that.
  • Shown Their Work: In the head-to-heads, the Chasers will often expound on the correct answer after it's been given, such as the birth and death dates of the individuals listed as answers, and often explaining why the right answer couldn't have been the other two. Shaun in particular is known for listing off football dates and scorelines.
  • 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 (who herself practically became a regular in the meantime).
    • Prior to Mara Lejins' ("Smiling Assassin") debut, Cheryl Toh, "Tiger Mum," was one, as she was the only female Chaser in the Australian version due to the coronavirus situation preventing Hegerty (and also Labbett) from gaining a work visa for Australia.
    • Victoria Groce, "The Queen," is one for the US version as of May 2022.
  • 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.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The "Running out of Time" variant pops in up in the Final Chase. Additional instruments are added as time goes on. It starts with a beat, with instruments added with about 1:33, 1:07, and :30 seconds left to go.
  • Speed Round: The whole show, essentially.
    • Each contestant starts with the Cash Builder 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.
    • The head-to-head in Beat the Chasers, with alternating questions to both sides (contestant and Chasers) and a separate clock for each.
  • Spin-Off: The Beat the Chasers specials, which began airing April 2020. One contestant builds up a prize pot, then decides how many Chasers (from two to all fivenote ) to face at once in a timed showdown of alternating quick-fire questions. More Chasers equals more money, but also more time on their clock. The Beat the Chasers format was so successful that it began to expand internationally as a separate program later that year. The Australian version, the first to feature a tournament format, premiered in November 2020; versions of the program in six European countries have also been produced. The Dutch version, entitled Beat the Champions, would be the first international version of the program to air in a country that did not have a localized version of its parent show.
  • Studio Audience: Only in the Celebrity versions, the Beat the Chasers specials and the first four seasons of the US version. A laugh track is added to normal shows. A few foreign versions actually have live studio audiences (Australia) and they are as useless as ever as on any game show barring Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. A few versions (the Croatian and the Serbian ones) don't even bother with the canned reactions and just film without any outside reactions besides the usual host-contestant-Chaser banter and the background music.
  • Suddenly Significant Rule: On the GSN run in the US, the five-second shot clock in the Individual Chases. If Brooke said something to the effect of, “Remember, you and the Beast must lock in within five seconds of each other” before the first Individual Chase, it was almost certain that one of the contestants (usually the first contestant) would get locked out by the time limit. Averted on the UK version, because unlike the Game Show Network version, there is a short piece of music that kicks in immediately when someone enters their answer. This would be remembered for the ABC run, often with one side scrambling to avoid being locked out (and risk spotting the other side a "free answer" that could cost the game).
  • Swapped Roles: The premise of Beat the Chasers. It's one contestant against the team of Chasers, how many they face is up to them.
  • Take That!: On the US version, Mark chastised a contestant for not knowing what 2^3 + 3^3 isnote  (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 bank).note  This is an unusual iteration of this trope, as the player can refuse it.
    • Averted in the UK version: there, if the first contestant doesn't get a question right in the Cash Builder, no low offer is given in the head-to-head, since there's no money to take away yet.
    • Averted on Beat the Chasers; the base offer (to face two Chasers) is always whatever amount the player won in the Cash Builder, and it grows with every additional Chaser. Unless they got the first question wrong...
  • 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 Cash Builder, 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 out of desperation. 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, previous contestants have been eliminated and/or they aren't that good, although certain negative amounts can preclude even these.
  • 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!
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Many a contestant has come onto the show proudly stating that they play pub quizzes a lot. While this can be good trivia exposure, The Chase focuses entirely on verbal and written questions, whereas pub quizzes can use a variety such as naming songs from samples or locations from pictures. Many pub quizzes are also played as a team; while The Chase is also a team game, the first two rounds are played on your own and demand far more individual knowledge (the Final Chase also only features team huddles for pushbacks). Time pressure is also a significant factor.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Chase


Willi Wakker

One of the many incidents of Bradley Walsh cracking up while reading a question

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