1,000 up for Bradley Walsh and the Chasers
We celebrate with Bradley Walsh and his Chasers as they get set for their 1,000th episode
Since it burst onto our screens back in 2009, The Chase has established itself as the nation’s teatime favourite, topping a triumphant first seven years by winning Best Daytime Show at the National Television Awards this year.
This Thursday, it celebrates its 1,000th episode with a special featuring all five of the formidable Chasers – Mark Labbett, Anne Hegerty, Paul Sinha, Jenny
Ryan and Shaun Wallace.
TV Times caught up with host Bradley Walsh and the gang after they’d finished filming the special to talk The Chase, celebrations and celebrity contestants.
you’ve just filmed the 1,000th episode. How did it go?
Bradley: Very good and highly entertaining. It was a slightly different format featuring all the Chasers, so it was tremendous fun. One of the contestants, John, was fabulous. We’re thrilled the show’s come this far. To do 1,000 hours of TV and to still be at the top of the tree is fantastic.
What makes it so special?
Mark: I think it’s because we had a very good team who were enjoyable to play. It’s a different atmosphere, as we rarely see each other because of the scheduling. We very rarely get together as a five and we never really hunt as a pack. Anne: Did Mark mention the fact that we’re all here?!
What’s changed since the show launched in 2009?
Jenny: It’s been a massive learning curve. I was very worried about how the public would perceive me and actually that hasn’t been as bad as I thought. I’ve started to relax and enjoy it now! shaun: I think what’s changed is that when we started out, Mark and I were just the professional quizzers, and as the show’s progressed, we’ve become more and more relaxed and more ourselves, which has made it more authentic. Mark: When Shaun and I started on the pilot, we were very much told, ‘Just answer the questions, maybe add a bit of fact and whatever you do, don’t be pantomime villains’. When Bradley started using my nickname [The Beast] the producers said, ‘No, none of that’. So much of this show has been a happy accident. Things have worked, so by seasons three and four, the producers told us, ‘Do be pantomime villains and use your nicknames!’
Paul: There was an episode with Mark where a contestant took the lower minus offer and the team was begging Mark to catch him. Before that episode, The Chase was just a general knowledge show, but then another level was added.
It’s very clear that more people watch the show for the gladiatorial
competition rather than a love of general knowledge!
Mark: We have a wider range of questions than Mastermind because on the one hand we’ve been able to ask about highbrow things, and on the other we ask about the Backstreet Boys. Mastermind wouldn’t ask that!
How will you be celebrating this fantastic achievement?
Jenny: In our downtime we quiz each other to keep ourselves warmed up, so probably a quiz. Paul: By sitting in my bed learning more facts to ensure The Chase goes on and on and on.
How do you like to celebrate?
Anne: I’m a total geek. I like to go home, surf the internet and chill. Mark: I try to bottle up the screams of delight I have for winning because it might be too triumphant. But they’re there… internally. Bradley: I like an early night, me! I go home, I watch a bit of TV with my son and then I go to bed because it’s a long and tough old day.
Who’s the most competitive?
shaun: I think we’re all equally competitive because we all equally want to beat the contestants and win. The ideal situation is where the contestants go home with zilch.
If money and scheduling were no problem, who would you like to see play The Chase?
shaun: Probably David Beckham… Jenny: Well, I’d be fibbing if I didn’t want some eye candy… Tom Hardy or Benedict Cumberbatch… They would be good! I think Bradley would be great, actually. He knows a lot on the sly and he doesn’t show it all the time. Bradley: They all bring something different. I’d like to see Ant & Dec come and do it because they love the show. People can get intimidated by it but if you come on and have a laugh then it’s a different ball game.
Who would play you in a film version of The Chase?
shaun: Idris Elba, obviously. He could put on some glasses
– he’s a good-looking boy.
Jenny: I hope I have a very long career and it gets to be someone like Maggie Smith. But seriously, Jessica Chastain would be good because she’s a redhead, but I don’t think she could get my accent!
Paul: Erik Estrada, who played Ponch in CHIPS. Anne would be played by Jennifer Lawrence.
I don’t know who would play The Beast… he’s one of a kind! Michael Mcintyre is the only person I can think of who looks vaguely like him. Bradley: It would be a toss-up between Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Orlando Bloom… or Joe Pasquale.
Success is sweet: Bradley accepts a specially made TV Times cake
The gang’s all here... the Chasers and Bradley mark their milestone
Photographed for TV Times by Dan Goldsmith Itõs very clear more people watch for the gladiatorial competition rather
than a love of general knowledge
PAUL SINHA The team would love to get quizzical with Ant & Dec