Weekday evenings just wouldn’t be the same without The Chase and viewers find a great deal of entertainment in seeing everyday folk competing against some of the most intelligent people in the whole of the UK.
While it is often thought that the show’s stars hit sudden fame through the ITV show, this isn’t actually the case – as all of the Chasers had already been involved in a number of other quiz programmes beforehand.
Hosted by comedian and entertainer Bradley Walsh, the show has become characterised by each Chaser, so much so, that they have become a part of our early-evening entertainment. So, let’s take a look back at their early careers to see how they have progressed:
The legendary Bradley Walsh doesn’t really need much of an introduction – but we’re going to give him one anyway!
Born in Watford, Hertfordshire, Bradley has made no secret of the fact that he didn’t have much of an easy upbringing whilst growing up – in terms of his working-class roots and dealing with living in a single-parent household.
At the age of eighteen, Bradley made it as a professional footballer for Brentwood, however, failed to make it onto the team, but secured his place in the reserves. However, this career wasn’t to last long as Bradley suffered a serious ankle injury.
Ditching his short career in football, he later decided to venture into the entertainment industry and gained the role of bluecoat at Pontins for a three-month period in Morecambe.
His big break came in 1994 after he was picked up as a host for the National Lottery which aired on BBC; soon moving to ITV to host an array of entertainment shows which included Mids Touch and Wheel of Fortune.
After a number of years as a presenter, it was in 2001 that Bradley tried his hand at acting and gained a minor role in the Channel 4 series Lock, Stock. In 2003, he went on to take on a small part in ITV’s The Bill, as well as shows as Law & Order: UK and Doctor Who. His big acting break came in 2004 when he was offered the role of Danny Baldwin in Coronation Street.
In 2009, Bradley was offered the role as host for The Chase, which has undoubtedly become one of the most popular teatime shows; beating rival quiz show Pointless which airs on the BBC.
Let’s take a look back at some of Bradley’s most memorable moments on the show so far:
1. Dick, Helmut and Willi
Fans of the show were left choking on their dinner when a contestant was asked the hilarious question by Bradley: “What is the cartoon character Andy Capp known as in Germany?”. The three options were Dick Tingeler, Helmut Schmacker and Willi Wakker.
Both Bradley and the contestant were in fits of giggles for a number of minutes and even the straight-faced ‘Beast’ cracked a smile at the peculiar options.
Producers of the show were definitely aiming to give Bradley a challenge during one particular episode, as he was forced to read out the longest place name in the UK, as discovered by the Guinness World Records.
As he read out the question, it’s possible he knew he was going to slip-up on some of the long worded answers, but the total horror plastered across his face was a priceless moment as he tried to read out the name of the Welsh town: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
3. Fanny Cchmelar
It goes without saying that the nature of the word above is set to make anyone chuckle – therefore on a pre-watershed gameshow, Bradley’s tickled response was highly entertaining to those in the studio and viewers at home.
As Bradley aimed to read out the question: “In what sport does Fanny Chmelar play for Germany?”, he struggled to compose himself as he giggled his way through the round.
“We’re going to make a rule now never to say her name again,” he laughed. “I’d be straight down the court in the morning if that was my name! I’d have that changed straight away!”
Now we’ve given a bit of an insight into Bradley’s lengthy career and best bits whilst on The Chase, what were each of the Chasers up to before getting their big break on the show?
Who are the Chasers and what is their past games how history?
Although Shaun may be best known for his character role of ‘The Dark Destroyer’ on The Chase, he is, in fact, a professional barrister and holds three degree qualifications in law.
Known for his highly sarcastic attitude, Shaun joined The Chase team back in 2009 and in 2018, joined the Austrailian version of the show alongside Anne Hegarty and Mark Labett.
Prior to joining the ITV show, Shaun had also been a contestant on other quiz shows including Are You An Egghead? The Weakest Link and Fifteen To One. He also became the very first black Mastermind champion back in 2004. Discussing the achievement, he told The Guardian:
“When I won, I was crying for two to three minutes, I thought of everybody – my friends, my family, black people, everybody who knows me, everybody who had heard about me.
To me, as far as black people are concerned, this is the equivalent of Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the moon.
People have this perception black people can only excel at sport, can only reach a certain level in terms of administrative posts and the police force.
Well, guess what, I broke a concrete ceiling and whether you’re black, Asian, Chinese, go through that gap.”
Before taking part on The Chase, Jenny a.k.a ‘The Vixen’ was no newcomer to the quiz show, after taking part in similar shows as a contestant herself in The Weakest Link and Fifteen to One. In 2003, she also took part in University Challenge on behalf of The University of Leeds, in which the team managed to reach the semi-finals.
While Jenny didn’t actually become a Chaser until much later on in 2015, she was in fact involved from the very beginning, as she gained the role of question writer for the pilot episode back in 2009.
The 35-year-old also seemed to impress hard-to-please fellow Chaser, Anne Hegarty who recommended Jenny for the show, as the pair had previously completed in the same quiz team.
It seems Jenny has certainly come up top trumps in recent years. Back in 2016, she was discovered to be the weakest chaser amongst the bunch, but as of February 2018, she is now the strongest, with an overall winning score of 80%.
A recent photograph of Jenny stunned viewers looking completely unrecognisable as she was captured without her signature beehive hairstyle and cat-eye glasses. Although she still sported her vibrant red hair, her long longs were replaced by a much shorter bob.
Before gaining her role on The Chase, Anne a.k.a ‘The Governess’ was already familiar with quiz shows, in which she appeared in programmes such as Fifteen to One, Are You An Egghead? and Mastermind.
After making her name on the UK version of The Chase, she later decided to star in the Australian version of the show alongside fellow chasers Mark Labbett and Shaun Wallace.
Her nickname, ‘The Governess’ was later amended from the original concept ‘The Headmistress’ after she claimed she preferred it more due to its much ‘kinkier’ option. She also appeared in pantomime in 2014 as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella and in 2016; the Entrantress in Beauty and the Beast. Finally, in 2017; she starred as the Empress of China in Aladdin.
While Anne has an entertaining comedic side to her character, she once admitted on Loose Women that she had been diagnosed with autism back in 2005, which had left major impacts on her finances.
Discussing her condition, she said: “When you’re on the autistic spectrum, one of the things you do, it’s what’s called perseverating… You get interested in something and you just get really interested, you just have to know everything about it.
“You go completely down the rabbit hole, you can’t think about anything else, you have to learn everything there is to know about this particular subject. ” she added.
Paul Sinha a.k.a ‘The Sinnerman’ joined the team at The Chase back in 2011, however, becoming a quizzer was never in his initial plan.
He currently works as a doctor after gaining a medical degree at St. George’s Hospital Medical School back in the 1990s. However, it was during his time as a student that he discovered his love for comedy.
Aside from his work on The Chase and his professional role as a doctor, Paul is also a stand-up comedian and is also openly gay.
I am happy with a boyfriend,” he told the source GuysLikeU. “We are in an open relationship, but can’t say more than that. One of the advantages of being gay is that there is no traditional template for how you are meant to engage with your partner.”
“Hetero relationships are supposedly based on the idea of procreation and offering a loving environment for your children, therefore by definition would mean monogamy. Being gay we can make our own template that works for us.”
“I assumed everyone knew I was gay,” he admitted.
Before making his name in television, Mark had a career as a supply teacher in Maths and Physical Education. It wasn’t until he worked at Butlins that he became interested in quizzing.
Mark appeared on Mastermind in 1999, in which his specialist subject was the Olympic games and reappeared on the show in 2000, in which he specialised in The Simpsons.
He’s also appeared in many quiz shows playing for large sums of money – winning £500 in BrainTeaser on Channel 5; £1,500 on BBC’s SUDO-Q and £32,000 on Millionaire Live.
In 2009, he became the iconic ‘Beast’ on The Chase – a name given to him due to his large frame and surname. In French, la bête means beast and sounds a little like his last name, Labbett – just in case you were wondering where the connection lay.
The 52-year-old confessed recently that he is in fact, diabetic and appeared on Loose Women on behalf of their body stories campaign.
“Recently I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes which, given the amount of sugar I’ve eaten over the years, I’m not gonna complain,” he said. “I’ve done the crime so now I’m doing the time.”
Those who’ve got diabetes know there’s actually several indicators,” he added. “They check for cholesterol, blood sugar, weight is one of them. And my indicators are all quite comfortably in the yellow zone with one big one in the red zone: my BMI.”
“In some sense, it made it easier, just no arguments now. I’ve enjoyed being this heavy, I always used to say I’ve got away with it. Well, now I haven’t so the weight’s coming off.”