The Chase

The Chase on ITV1 is not by any means the perfect show, but it has the force of personality to paper over the cracks and as such is a show that I approve of even though I don’t really make time to watch it on a regular basis.

Today’s episode (that of the 13th January) was a complete cracker and I’m really glad everyone alerted me to it. Mark Labbett is basically perfect in his chasing role and everyone seemed to be having a rather jolly time (except the bloke on the end). Also, the criticism I was making at the start of the series, that the muliple-choice round questions had become a bit pub quiz machine-y, seemed a bit less appropriate today.

Right then – presumably Chasers are on some kind of performance related pay, but what I would like to know is who sets the amounts that get played for in going up or down a step? Is the Chaser just acting as the mouthpiece of the producer? Or is it a bit more interesting than that?


  1. Travis P says:

    I know for a fact Mark had something to do with the -£2,000 option on today’s show. Not sure about if they set the other amounts though.

  2. Travis P says:

    and yes, they do read this website, well one of them anyway.

  3. David says:

    I’m assuming the producers set the offers for the steps based on the game situation at the moment.

  4. art begotti says:

    Whoever’s job it is to set the amounts, I honestly envy them. It sounds like a fantastic mind game trying to predict what amounts will attract people to take a risk or what will drive them away from avoiding the risk, and all while keeping it in a budget.

  5. Tim says:

    I’d like to imagine the Chaser gets something like a £500 fee for turning up and that £10 comes out of their pocket for every grand they give away.

    I suspect that doesn’t happen though.

    • Travis P says:

      I think it’s a bit similar to Eggheads where they don’t win their appearance fee if they lose. Whether that is true or not.

      • Brig Bother says:

        I should just point out I’m not all that interested in the specifics (i.e. the exact numbers) but intrigued by the ideas.

        • Tim says:

          Fair enough, but it’d be rather cute if it wasn’t actually the producers doing the string-pulling. I see this as the only way for the Chaser to derive any interest in pulling/pushing them forward/backward a step rather than just making it up for dramatic effect.

  6. James E. Parten says:

    I like what I’ve seen of “The Chase”. Granted, it’s mostly Final Chases that get uploaded onto YT. But there are a couple of complete episodes (less commercials) to be found there.

    I like the format. It’s a good general-knowledge quizzer, with lots of questions and a lickety-split pace that is a far and distant cry from “101 Ways. . . ” or “Million Dollar Money Drop”.

    Could it work here? I think it’s possible if the producers aim at the kind of audience that watches “Jeopardy!”. The biggest problem would be in casting Chasers. Here in the States, game show contestants don’t have the status they do over your way. They don’t even have bragging rights, much less the chance to make a minor career out of winning a championship on a game show. Further, I cannot see any of the top game show contestants here casting themselves as a villain. We don’t have the tradition of “pantomime villains” here. The closest thing we have is in the field of professional “‘rasslin'”, and those chaps are not especially known for their brain power.

    If Watson, that IBM computer program, proves to be as good a competitor next month as he was in a run-through (as reported on Another Blog), “he” might serve as a good Chaser. After all, despite the fact that millions of people (including myself) use computers every day, there is still a belief bubbling under the surface that computers are somehow evil, malevolent, and something to be feared. Perhaps that can be used to advantage here!

    • Travis P says:

      I’m going to upload that -£2,000 face off as well as the final chase on Buzzerblog over the weekend.

      I can see the show on GSN but not on another channel in the US. The major networks will “Americanize” it. The show can work in Australia though and they got enough candiates to be a Chaser. OK, The Master flopped over there but The Chase could work well on a channel like Ten rather than Seven and Nine.

      Talking about Aussie shows, I noticed Channel Nine are actually show The Cube from the first series on Saturday nights. Although the weekends is a quiet period for TV (like the US), and it’s the summer non-ratings period.

      • James E. Parten says:

        Thanks for the upload. Quite a twist, and another exciting Final Chase.

        If GSN can find Chasers of the caliber of Labbett, Wallace and Hegarty, then even they can afford the prize money on this show. According to the Wiki, Labbett’s batting average is something like .667, and the other two are in the .800 range. I can think of a number of baseball players who’d like that kind of betting average, and a lot of pitches who would like that kind of won/loss percentage!

        You realize, of course, that if Labbett had gotten that last answer right, there would have been some degree of kerfuffle over his answer of “Chris Isaacs” instead of “Chris Isaak”. But it turned out not to matter.

        And though they may call him “The Beast”, he is a perfect gentleman in defeat.

  7. Dan Peake says:

    Digital Spy have a brief article about a new game show possibly being developed based on Pacman.

    Sounds interesting, anyway.

    • Simon Joseph Lott says:

      Saw the above comment, and my mind went crazy: TV screens on the floor showing the dots, 2 metre wide passageways (with similar height walls, of course) and lazer beams at knee height (or floor pads) to remove dots (and keep score). No doubt the ‘ghost’ people will wear clothing with lights which change colour just as the ghosts do on the real Pac-man.

      Meanwhile regarding The Chase, I haven’t seen episodes lately (blame parents wanting The Weakest Link on – boo!), but I want to clarify, did the Chaser really offer ‘minus £2,000’? And what would have happened had it been won?

    • art begotti says:

      I’d hate to say it, but this hardly seems new at all. Ironic that this should come up during a “The Chase” thread, but does anyone remember Sci-Fi’s “Cha$e“? Running away from baddies, getting and using powerups to protect you, grabbing things along the way for more cash… I truly can’t see what’s novel about this. I’d honestly pin it more to Namco or whoever trying to slap their franchise on another market.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like it could be a bit like the maze games on Takeshi though on a larger scale.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like it could be a bit like the maze games on Takeshi though on a larger scale.

  10. Greg says:

    Sounds like it could be a bit like the maze games on Takeshi on a larger more Americanised scale.

  11. Alex says:

    There’s a Japanese game show segment (isn’t there always?) that’s basically Pac-man, right down to the costumes. The players all carry foam bats to smack Pac-man in the head with if he gets caught.

  12. Jennifer Turner says:

    I saw a contestant call for Britain’s Best Dish today… in the window of the local newsagent. I would be tempted to enter Mrs Beeton’s little-known recipe for toast sandwich (really, it’s in her Book of Household Management, it’s a slice of toast between two slices of bread) but I’d probably burn it.

  13. David B says:

    The multiple choice questions have always been of quite a high standard.

    What I find a little annoying is sometimes the vary quite wildly from simplistic to actually quite difficult, and if either the team or the Chaser get a ‘wave’ of very easy ones it tends to skew the game somewhat. At least they could order them in a repeating pattern of easy, medium, hard, easy, medium, hard… to make it fairer.

  14. Brekkie says:

    IMO The Chaser suffers from the same problem as so many shows at the moment – a gameshow that doesn’t need an hour being stripped out to an hour.

    Also the fake evilness of The Chaser’s really annoys me – it’s clear they’re having to act up pretty much against their character.

    • Travis P says:

      It’s not much as a problem with Mark as he is very competitive and hates losing (bit like a certain TV presenter from Germany) so role of The Beast is more of the norm to him. Where as Shaun and Anne do tend to put an act on for the show.

      No offence Brekkie but do you actually say anything positive these days? I got the impression from reading your posts over the many weeks and months (here and DS) that you don’t praise anything. Reminds me of the forum version of Ian Hyland.

      If anybody has been wondering how well the show is performing, here are the ratings for Wednesday’s show.

      The Weakest Link: 2.00m
      Antiques Roadtrip: 2.09m
      The Chase: 2.46m
      Celebrity Five Go To: 1.43m
      Five News at 5: 1.00m
      Neighbours: 1.28m

    • Brig Bother says:

      Having seen them on other shows I’d suggest “exaggeration” rather than fake. Mark’s a maths teacher, correct me if I’m wrong, he probably gets to talk down to kids all the time. I put up a hilarious performance from Shaun on The Waiting Game a while ago. Anne’s a bit more of a mystery to me.

      • Travis P says:

        Anne is more the dark horse out of the three since she is more known on the professional quizzing circuit than on TV. She has only done a handful of shows (Mastermind, Today’s the Day and Are You an Egghead?) but I believe her role on The Chase as the governess/teacher/matron etc… is mearly an act.

  15. BigBen says:

    Someone remind me where I’ve seen James from today’s Chase – I know I recognise him from somewhere… Possibly Krypton Factor?

    • Travis P says:

      James was on Who Dares Wins in 2008, won a share of £170,000.

      Quite a few folks who have been appearing on quiz shows have been showing up on The Chase these days.

  16. Travis P says:

    2.8 million watched the -£2,000 drama unfold yesterday. An all-time high. Weakest Link had 2.14 million. Is it possible they can reach 3 million?

    • Des Elmes says:

      If Anne R keeps on being beaten by Anne H and co, is it possible that the Beeb could find themselves having to reconsider WL’s future?

      • Mark L says:

        “Proteges” is in development with BBC Manchester with a view to the WL slot. Suspect it will be used to “augment” WL and see if it strikes a chord with the viewers

  17. Probably a FAQ, or at least a previously asked question, but do the size of contestants’ “take a step back towards the chaser and try for a bigger prize at the risk of being permitted one fewer wrong answer” offers depend on how many/few questions they got right in their minute to a significant extent? If so, is it tempting for a really strong (but sufficiently anonymous to get away with this…) contestant to sandbag and deliberately only get 2-4 questions right in their minute so to be offered a possible £40k for the pot by taking the step backwards instead of, say, £20k?

    • Brig Bother says:

      The size of the offers generally follow that the bigger the cash builder, the larger the offer but there’s no sliding scale as such, and on some occasions what has happened in previous rounds may be a determining factor (for example yesterday Bloke A earns £10k and is offered £20k but says it’s not enough of a jump, Woman B earns £11k IIRC and Chaser takes previous comment into account and offers £30k. Bloke C gets £5k I think and is offered £21k), not unlike Deal or No Deal really.

      • Mmm. There is a part of me that would like to see The Chase continue to develop its confidence and play with its own format as much as DoND occasionally does, and a part of me that thinks it’s too straight a game to risk unfairness.

        For instance, imagine a very storng contestant earning £11k in the first minute. The Chaser might offer them, say, £11100 in return for taking one step back towards the Chaser, but might offer them, say, £55000 in return for taking two steps back towards the Chaser and thus requiring the contestant to match or beat the Chaser’s performance. (Or, conversely, a Chaser offering a really weak contestant the chance to take not one but two steps away from the contestant for -£10,000.)

        Am not sure whether or not that’s a good idea, but I think it’s not an uninteresting one.

  18. Alex says:

    Oh yeah, also You Don’t Know Jack is coming out Feb 8th.

  19. Brekkie says:

    To say something positive, the opening obstacle on this week’s Wipeout is the best obstacles they’ve had in a long time. Basically a Zip Line over variations of rotating sweeper arms, it’s different, provides great Wipeouts and unlike so many from last year, is actually possible too.

    And back to The Chase – I just think it would be better off being a little shorter. I think you could cut it to three contestants within a half-hour format, and shorter rounds. It is a neat format though and one of the more original ideas in recent years – personally though when it was first piloted I preferred The Fuse – that just had the wrong host!

    • Travis P says:

      The fate of The Fuse was half sealed in 2009 when ITV Factual decided to produce the show, where ITV Entertainment produced The Chase. Might be a different story if both producing teams swapped shows.

    • JC says:

      I would argue that The Fuse was worse in this regard – what with the first round being the same game played 6 times (and many of these would turn out to be a waste of time i.e. when the amount in the box was small). And this was followed by three similar chess clock games.

      (Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed The Fuse, putting aside the minor issues with the host, the clapping and the impossible endgame. If it were a choice between The Fuse and Divided, I would pick The Fuse, if only for the sake of my blood pressure.

    • David B says:

      There’s no way that dropping one contestant would mean a 30min (that’s just 23min of programme time) would be possible.

  20. NJ says:

    I would rather see The Fuse over Divided too, given a few tweaks the format has legs. Also maybe a few pyros to give the impression of boxes exploding. Both games needed a live audience though, hopefully The Chase will get that promotion for series 4 now it’s kicking serious ass in the slot. I also don’t think it needs cutting back to 30-45 minutes, the 4-player version works just fine as it is and manages to move at a fair pace.

  21. John R says:

    I saw a question on the Chase recently which was a £250,000 question on Millionaire a few years back!

    Talking of which, I’m stunned ITV hasn’t gone down “Celebrity The Chase” road yet…

  22. Joe says:

    Please start applying for Endemol’s new ITV gameshow which is set to be a smash hit:

    Anyone over the age of 18 and any gender will be eligible to enter.

  23. James E. Parten says:

    The complete episode under discussion here is on YouTube in all its glory. Having seen it, I want to say that this Yank is quite favorably impressed with the whole shebang.

    Even in preliminary rounds, this show could teach Endemol something about pacing. The reveals have some delay, but it’s not carried to the extremes that are becoming an unfortunate Endemol trademark.

    I am also impressed with Bradley Walsh’s work as host. He looks like he is having a good time, which is a change from the detached style so common among American game show hosts.
    ITV should give a bonus to whomsoever is in charge of casting their Game Show Hosts. First we get Phillip Schoefield on “The Cube” and now Bradley Walsh–both perfect for their respective shows.

    Going back to the preliminaries, there is enough variance between contestants so that it is not just lather-rinse-repeat, lather-rinse-repeat. . . The “table talk” between the Contestants and the Chasers adds to the lighter-hearted attitude this show has. And Mark Labbett looks the part. I don’t think I’d want to have been one of his students! (On the other hand, if any of his students watched the program of the 13th., he is not going to hear the end of it!)

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