The Chase (ITV, 2009-present)
This is the weekday daytime game show where contestants have to beat a general knowledge genius to win the money. One of the reasons I became interested in The Chase is because it is hosted by Bradley Walsh, who I remember watching on various things many years ago so it was good seeing him taking charge of this show.
Every day four contestants take part to answer questions to earn money and then try to keep it in the game by taking on the Chaser. In the first round they will be asked questions for one minute and earn £1,000 for every correct answer that they give. They will then have to face the Chaser for that day, and it could be one of five people.
The Chasers were chosen to appear on the show because between they have appeared on various game shows such as Mastermind and Only Connect and gone on to be very successful. In the first series the two Chasers were Shaun Wallace and Mark Labbett, who have since been joined by Anne Hegarty, Paul Sinha and Jenny Ryan. The idea is that using their knowledge they must stop the contestants from beating them and keeping their reputation intact.
There are seven spaces on the board and the contestants begin two spaces down from the Chaser with the money that they made. The Chaser then offers a smaller amount of money to start three spaces ahead, or a larger amount of money to start one space ahead. The contestant then consults the others about what they should do. Once they decide what amount to play for, Bradley declares the chase as being on.
The contestant then plays against the Chaser by answering general knowledge questions with three options. Get it right and they advance a space, get it wrong and they stay where they are. After the answer is revealed, we found out what option the Chaser chose. More often than not they get it right, but if they don’t Bradley says “ooh, he’s having a nightmare!” and hopes that the contestant can take advantage of this.
If the contestant gets to the end, they put the money into the bank and stay in the game. If they get caught though, the money is lost and they have to leave. The remaining contestants go into the final. If all four contestants are caught though, one of them is nominated to play a consolation final Chase for £1,000 for each contestant if they win.
In the final, contestants have to answer questions for two minutes, with a one-point head start for every contestant remaining, and one point for every correct answer. When time is up, the Chaser then has to match their score in two minutes. The contestants need about 20 points to have any chance of winning. If they get an answer wrong though the clock is stopped and it is handed over to the contestants who if they get it right push the Chaser back one space. Bradley will start shouting “go for your pushbacks” at this point. If the Chaser wins, no-one wins any money, But if they don’t get all the answers in time that they need the money banked is shared between the remaining contestants and some people have won a lot of money.
When I first watched The Chase, I wasn’t really sure what it was about, the Chaser always seemed to be really negative to contestants and they always easily beat them, but as I watched it more I did find the contestants competing rather interesting, and as far as games with a “contestants versus talented game show veterans”-idea go, it’s much better than Eggheads, a show that I’ve never really enjoyed.
The Chase has done very well for ITV in its daytime slot and like the BBC’s Pointless it now seems to be on about 48 weeks a year, with also celebrity specials, and international versions, with the American one being shown on Challenge. There has also been a board game and a book released, and while it remains a success with viewers it should remain on our screens for a while yet.