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The Chase is a British television quiz show broadcast on ITV and hosted by Bradley Walsh. Contestants play against a professional quizzer, known as the "chaser", who attempts to prevent them from winning a cash prize. The chasers areMark LabbettShaun WallaceAnne HegertyPaul Sinha and Jenny Ryan. Labbett and Wallace have both been chasers since series 1, while Hegerty joined in series 2, Sinha in series 4 and Ryan in series 9. With a regular audience of three to five million, The Chase is one of ITV's most successful daytime shows ever.[7] It has been nominated six times at the National Television Awards, winning in 2016, 2017, and 2019.[8] It has also become a successful international franchise: regional versions have been made in Australia, China, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. Labbett, Hegerty and Wallace also feature as chasers on theAustralian version. Labbett featured as the sole chaser on the now-defunct American version.A team of four contestants individually attempt to amass as much money as possible, which is later added to a prize fund if the contestant survives their individual chase. The chaser must attempt to catch each contestant during their individual chase, eliminating that person from the game and preventing the money from being added to the collective prize fund. Later, in the final round, contestants who survived their individual chases play collectively as a team against the chaser for an equal share of the prize fund.[6]

Gameplay

Cash Builder and Head-to-Head rounds

Each contestant individually attempts to build up the team's prize fund through two rounds. The first round, known as the "Cash Builder", sees each contestant answering as many questions as they can within one minute, with each correct answer being worth £1,000. After completing the Cash Builder, the contestant enters the "Head-to-Head" round, in which the contestant attempts to bring the money that he or she earned to the bottom of a seven-step money board (referred to as "home"). In the first series, the board was eight steps long.

Before the round begins, the money is placed three steps down from the top of the board, and the contestant can choose to either start at that position, or begin one step further from or closer to the chaser. Should the contestant elect to stay where he or she is currently, he or she must answer five questions correctly in order to bank the money into the prize fund. If the contestant moves closer to the chaser, the contestant must answer six questions correctly, but earn a larger amount of cash. If the contestant moves closer to home, the contestant needs only answer four questions correctly, but the reward is lower. In some cases (especially in the second half of the individual rounds, or for contestants who do poorly in the Cash Builder round), the lower offer may be zero, or even negative, which means the contestants lose some of the money that is already in the team prize fund if the player makes it home, but earn an extra participant in the Final Chase.

Once the contestant chooses a starting position, they begin the Head-to-Head in which both the contestant and chaser are given multiple-choice questions, each with three answers. When either the chaser or contestant chooses an answer, their opponent has five seconds to lock in or be locked out. For each correct answer made by the players, he or she moves one step down the board, while an incorrect answer forces the players to stay where they are.

Questions continue until either the contestant has answered enough correctly to return home and bank the money they chose to take, or the chaser has answered enough questions correctly to reach the same space as the contestant. If the chaser manages to do this, then the contestant is "caught" and is eliminated from the contest with the money removed from the board.

If all four contestants are caught by the chaser, the team nominates one contestant to proceed to the Final Chase to win £1,000 each. In the celebrity editions, as they are accumulating money to donate to the nominated charities, the lowest offer is always £1,000, which is also the amount donated to each celebrities' chosen charities if they are all caught, or be caught at the Final Chase.

Final Chase

In order to win the prize fund that is banked, the surviving contestants work together as a team to beat the chaser in one final round of questions. Two question sets, A and B, are used in this round in which the contestants decide which to answer questions from, while the other set is used for the chaser. The round is divided into two phases–the first phase involves contestants answering questions in order to earn themselves steps to keep them ahead of the chaser, while the second phase sees the chaser trying to match these steps, in order to "catch" the team and prevent them winning the total prize fund.

Before the first phase begins, the contestants are given a head-start of one step per contestant participating in the round. The team is then given two minutes to answer as many questions as they can correctly, with each correct answer earning them one more step from the chaser. To answer a question, a contestant must use their buzzer to do so. If a contestant answers after a different contestant's buzzer sounds, their answer will not be accepted. No buzzer is used if only one contestant makes it to the Final Chase.

When the second phase of the round begins, the chaser has the same time of two minutes to catch the contestants. To do so, the chaser must match the number of the steps contestants earned in the first phase. However, should the chaser pass or answer a question incorrectly, the clock is briefly stopped and the question is given to the contestants. If the contestants answer the chaser's question correctly, the chaser is pushed one step back. From series 3 onwards, if the contestants answer correctly and the chaser is at the starting line, contestants earn an additional step that the chaser must match. Afterwards, the time limit and chaser's questions continue.

If the chaser achieves the same number of steps that the contestants delivered before time is up, then the contestants lose their prize fund and leave empty-handed. But if two minutes pass and contestants are not "caught", they win the prize fund. The prize fund is divided equally between all contestants that were not eliminated before the Final Chase.

Filming

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

Chasers

Spin-offs

A spin-off titled The Chase: Celebrity Special featuring celebrity teams as contestants began airing on ITV in 2011. As many contestants are comedians or actors, there is a much-higher comedic element. The game is played exactly the same way as the regular version. However, if all four celebrities have been caught by the chaser, the prize fund during the Final Chase is £20,000 (originally £4,000). If the team is caught during the Final Chase, a consolation prize of £1,000 is awarded to the charities for each celebrity who advanced to this stage.

In February 2017, ITV commissioned The Family Chase, a spin-off featuring a team of four family members.[15] The six episode spin-off debuted on 2 September 2017.[16] A second series of 8 episodes was commissioned and commenced airing on 24 March 2019.

Transmissions

Regular editions

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes References
1 29 June 2009 10 July 2009 10 Aired as one of three summer replacements forGolden Balls, with the other two being Dividedand The Fuse. [17][18]
2 24 May 2010 19 July 2010 40 No episode aired on 29 June due to the World Cup match between Paraguay and Japan. [19][20]
3 3 January 2011 25 February 2011 40 Series 3 was unknown whether it took any breaks or not. [21][22]
4 5 September 2011 30 January 2012 60 Series 4 took a break from 31 October – 2 January. [23][24]
5 31 January 2012 26 October 2012 120 Series 5 took breaks from 13–17 February, 2–6 April, 4 June – 31 August & 17 October. [25][26][27]
6 29 October 2012 21 November 2014 150 Series 6 took breaks from 24 December – 1 January, 11–15 February, 25 March – 5 April 27–31 May & 1 July 2013 – 20 November 2014. [28][29][27]
7 2 September 2013 17 November 2014 150 Series 7 took breaks from 28 October – 1 November 11 November – 19 December, 17–21 February, 7–18 April, 6 June & 15 June – 4 July. [30][31][27]
8 1 September 2014 3 July 2015 150 Series 8 took breaks from 22 December – 2 January & 20 April – 29 May. [32][33][27]
9 22 June 2015 6 September 2016 190 Series 9 took breaks from 3–28 August, 23 September – 7 October & 21 December – 1 January. [34][35][35]
10 15 April 2016 24 October 2017 190 Series 10 took breaks from 13 June – 26 August 19 December – 1 January 20 January & 22 March. [36][37]
11 25 April 2017 3 September 2018 170 Series 11 took breaks from 1–26 May, 19 June – 1 September & 25 December – 1 January. The 23 April 2018 episode was aired on 31 August 2018 due to the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge.[38] [39][40]
12 2 March 2018 TBA 170 Series 12 took breaks from 28 May – 31 August, 10 – 31 December 2018, 11–15 March and 1–5 April 2019 [41][42][43]
13 7 March 2019 TBA TBC Series 13 took a break from 20 May – present

On 29 September 2016, The Chase celebrated its 1,000th episode by having all five chasers involved in a random selection where each chaser was present for all five sections of the game (one each for each contestant, then Hegerty attempting to catch the team in the Final Chase). This format is also used for the Christmas edition of the Celebrity Specials.

Celebrity editions

Series Start date End date Episodes Notes
1 29 October 2011[44] 10 December 2011[45] 6[45]
2 19 August 2012[46] 7 October 2012[47] 6[47]
3 5 October 2013[48] 28 December 2013[49] 14[49]
4 30 August 2014[50] 8 March 2015[51] 18[51] The last two episodes of the series aired in March 2015.
5 24 October 2015[52] 15 May 2016[53] 16[53] This series aired in two parts; series took a break from 19 December 2015 – 20 March 2016.
6 11 September 2016 20 August 2017 14 This series aired in two parts; series took a break from 6 November 2016 – 2 July 2017.
7 14 October 2017 24 December 2018 10 This series aired in two parts; series took a break from 25 November 2017 – 14 October 2018.
8 8 June 2018 23 December 2018 12 Soccer aid special on 8 June 2018. Episodes resumed on 14 October 2018.
9 14 June 2019 TBC TBC

Family editions

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

International broadcasts

  •  Australia – Episodes of the British version of The Chase air on weekday afternoons at 3:00 pm on the Seven Network to good ratings. Seven also considered producing a local version, and filmed a pilot episode on the UK set, but decided not to proceed.[54] However, in mid-2015 a local version was commissioned to replace Deal or No Deal andMillion Dollar Minute in a bid to revive ratings for its struggling 6:00 pm nightly news.[55][56][57] Hegerty, Labbett and Wallace feature as three of the six chasers on the Australian version.[12][58] They are currently airing series 8.
  •  New Zealand – Episodes of the British version of The Chase air on Monday to Friday mornings at 11:00 am and Monday to Saturday afternoons at 4:55 pm on TVNZ 1, while The Celebrity Chase airs on Sunday afternoons at 4:55 pm. The show frequently ranks in the weekly top-20 most watched TV shows, drawing in an average of 1.3 million viewers per week.[59] As of September 2018, they are currently airing series 11.[60]

Reception

Critical reception​​

The Chase is highly popular with critics and viewers. Despite early criticism,[61] opinion has improved over time. Some critics, as well as the chasers,[7] put the show's success down to Walsh as host and his many memorable moments, some of which come from questions or answers which often leave him in hysterics.[62] Labbett also said that the sense of fun and the variety of chasers is a major factor.[7] Sinha said, "The format has been brilliantly thought out. No matter the relative strengths of the players, it is resolutely a team game, with a dramatic climax."[63]

Controversies

The Chase has also been at the centre of controversy on several occasions, in which viewers have complained that, during the Final Chase, Walsh asks the chasers' questions more quickly than those of the contestants.[64][65] In an interview with theRadio Times, however, Walsh repudiated those claims: "We have lawyers on the floor to watch all of this. I read [the questions] at exactly the same speed for both." He went on to say, "Don't forget, if I've got Mark Labbett answering questions for two minutes and I've got a team answering for two minutes, the team aren't going to be quicker. Simple as that, because they have to press the button [before answering], which is why they get a head start based on how many people are in the final. If you've got three people in the final chase that's a three step head start–that's about a twelve second advantage."[66]

There have also been a number of occasions in which the chaser has won with (almost) no time remaining on the clock,[67][68][69][not in citation given] but spokespeople have insisted that an independent adjudicator always checks each show.[70][71][72][73][74]

On 6 April 2016, in an episode in which Labbett was the chaser, a glitch occurred whereby the clock struck 10 seconds and then increased to 11 seconds, giving Labbett an extra second of time. Although the contestants were far ahead and there was no chance of them being caught, a spokesperson for the show told OK! Online the following day: "There was an error on the clock on last night's episode of the Chase. This error happened during the editing process and not in the studio when the show was being recorded so could not have affected the outcome in any way."[75]

On 4 March 2019, in an episode in which Hegerty was the chaser, Walsh asked a question about which band had the fewest members – with the possible answers being The ProclaimersThe Pretenders or The Prodigy. Many viewers criticised ITV for deciding to air the episode hours after the news had publicly broken about the death of The Prodigy's frontman Keith Flint.[76][77]

Ratings and rivalry with Pointless

During its first two series, the show averaged 1–2 million viewers, but in the third series, ratings rose to over 2 million. By December 2012, The Chase had become ITV's most popular "teatime" programme since The Paul O'Grady Show in 2005, with over 3 million viewers an episode.[78] On 21 January 2013, The Chase managed a peak audience of 5.1 million, a new all-time high.[79] Almost every episode is now in ITV's Top 30 weekly broadcasts.[80]

In its timeslot, The Chase airs at the same time as BBC One's Pointless,[81][82] a game show launched in August 2009, two months after The Chase's debut.[7] The two programmes usually receive similar ratings (for example in September 2012,The Chase had 2.44 million viewers versus 2.27 million for Pointless).[83][84] However, between October 2012 and January 2013, The Chase beat Pointless in the ratings each week. For two weeks in February 2013, Pointless received a higher share than The Chase (3.53 million viewers to 3.41 million, and again 3.58 million viewers to 3.30 million).[85][86]

Awards

Year Group Award Result Reference
2013 National Television Awards Best Daytime Programme Nominated [87]
Broadcast Awards Won [88]
TV Guide Awards Nominated [89]
2014 National Television Awards Nominated [90]
2015 Nominated [91]
2016 Won [92]
2017 Won [93]
2018 Nominated [94]
2019 Best Quiz Show Won [95]

International versions

Legend:      Currently airing        No longer airing        Upcoming  

Country Local title Channel Presenter Chaser(s) Premiere date End date
Australia The Chase Australia[96] Seven Network[57] Andrew O'Keefe[58] Brydon Coverdale

Anne Hegerty Mark Labbett(2016–)[12] Matt Parkinson Issa Schultz Shaun Wallace(2018)[97] Cheryl Toh(2019)

14 September 2015
China 挑战文化名人

Tiǎozhǎn wénhuà míngrén (Challenge the Culture Masters)[98]

Jiangxi Television Liú Wèi Meng Man
Ji Lianhai
A Yi
Kang Zhen
Li Bo
20 July 2014 4 October 2014
Croatia Potjera

(The Chase)[99]

HRT Tarik Filipović(2013–2019)

Joško Lokas (2019–)

Dean Kotiga (2013–)

Mirko Miočić (2013–2016) Morana Zibar (2013–) Krešimir Međeral-Sučević (2016–) Mladen Vukorepa (2017–)

3 November 2013
Finland Jahti

(The Chase)[100]

MTV3 Mikko Leppilampi Eero Ylitalo

"Mister Archive" ("Herra Arkisto") Magnus Mali "Sharp" ("Terävä") Markus Leikola "Besserwisser"[101]

30 August 2018
Germany Gefragt–Gejagt

(Asked–Chased)[102]

NDR Fernsehen(2012–2015)

Das Erste(2015–)

Alexander Bommes Holger Waldenberger(2012, 2015–2017)

"The Giant" ("Der Gigant") Sebastian Jacoby (2013–)[103] "The Quiz God" ("Der Quizgott") Sebastian Klussmann(2013–)[103] "The Know-all" ("Der Besserwisser") Klaus Otto Nagorsnik (2014–)[104] "The Librarian" ("Der Bibliothekar") Grażyna Werner (2017)[105] "The Governess" ("Die Gouvernante") Manuel Hobiger (2018–)[106] "The Quiz Volcano" ("Der Quizvulkan") Thomas Kinne (2018–)[106] "The Quiz Doctor" ("Der Quizdoktor")

8 July 2012
Israel המרדף

HaMirdaf (The Chase)[107]

KAN 11 Ido Rosenblum Itai Hermann
Ron Kofman (Guest Chaser; 2017 and 2018)
Nadav Jacobi (Guest Chaser; 2018)
Michal Sharon (2018–)
18 May 2017
Norway Jaget

(Hunted)[108]

TV 2 Sturla Berg-Johansen Trine Aalborg
Jan Arild Breistein
Thomas Kolåsæter
7 September 2014 11 May 2016
Russia Погоня

(Pursuit)[109]

Russia 1 Alexander Gurevich[110] Alexander Ediger
Yuriy Hashimov
Olga Uspanova
Boris Burda
17 November 2012[111] 14 September 2013
Serbia

Потера (PoteraThe Chase)[112]

RTS Jovan Memedović Milorad Milinković (Series 1–)

Uroš Đurić(Series 1–5) Milica Jokanović (Series 2–) Žarko Stevanović (Series 5–) Slobodan Nešović (Series 1) Maja Lalić (Series 1)

28 October 2013[113]
Turkey Takip

(Follow)[114]

Kanal D Uraz Kaygilaroğlu Muhsin Divan 9 April 2014[115] 19 January 2015
United States The Chase[116] GSN Brooke Burns Mark Labbett 6 August 2013[117] 11 December 2015

Merchandise

A board game based on the show was released in 2012 by Ideal.[118] In 2013, a card game based on the show was released by Ginger Fox.[119]

On 12 December 2012, a version for iOS was released by Barnstorm Games. The app features four chasers (excluding Jenny "The Vixen" Ryan, who had not yet appeared on the programme at the time of release) and can be played by up to four people, as in the actual show. The only differences between the app and the show are that four choices are presented for questions in the Cash Builder and the Final Chase rounds and that no Final Chase is played if all players are caught in their individual chases. The app is designed for both iPhones and iPads.[120] An updated version, The Chase: Ultimate Edition, was released in 2017 and features all five chasers and host Walsh.[121]

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