The Chase is back on our screens after its summer break, so as more brave contestants return to face the chaser, we caught up with host Bradley Walsh and new addition Jenny ‘the vixen’ Ryan to find out what goes on on set of the much-loved quiz show…
1. Three episodes are filmed in a day.
2. It takes about an hour and a half to film each one. “It runs like clockwork,” said Walsh now nine series in.
3. Walsh genuinely doesn’t know which chaser is going to appear on each episode. New chaser Jenny ‘the vixen’ Ryan told us she tiptoes into the studio so Walsh can’t hear her heels clicking on the floor.
4. The chasers film their walk to the desk fresh each time, it’s not a pre-record.
5. It may look like chasers pluck the figures they offer the contestants out of thin air, but producers tell them what they can offer before they sit at the desk.
6. Walsh doesn’t see the questions beforehand: “The second the contestant sees the question, that’s when I see the question.”
7. The question writers do try and make Walsh laugh, to re-create that Fanny Chmelar moment. “Of course they do!” Walsh told RadioTimes.com. “That’s their bent. That is exactly what they do. They deliberately go out of their way to find questions that will trip me up.”
8. It’s not just anyone writing the questions either: world quizzing champion, Olav Bjortomt, is actually one of the question writers on the show.
9. The final chase is almost always filmed in one go. “98% in one hit,” said Walsh.
10. The final chase can be stopped and re-started if Walsh stumbles on a question. “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 video tape 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. ”
“It means no time is lost for either the contestant or the chaser,” he added.
11. Walsh is aware of the speed at which he asks the questions: “You have to be at such a speed: if you’re a contestant and I go ‘what’s… the capital… of France… ‘ they’d be dead and buried in thirty seconds. I have to make sure they get up to speed and they’re getting about 18 or 19 questions answered correctly. That’s the real banana skin score [that will trip the chasers up]. Once the chasers get in a rhythm there’s no stopping them. They can answer 24, 25 questions in two minutes. We’ve even almost reached thirty.”
12. It’s about 3.6-4 seconds on average to ask and answer a question.
13. The chasers are genuinely miffed if they don’t win. “Have you seen Mark [Mark Labbett aka ‘The Beast’] thump the desk? It’s their reputation on the line,” Walsh explained.
14. The chasers know each other pretty well. In fact, Anne Hegerty is a member of Jenny’s own quiz team – and the latter quite enjoys bossing her about.
15. Walsh won’t be drawn on a favourite chaser: “Anne and I get on so great, we have such a laugh, I love ‘The Beast’ because he gives me plenty of stick and he takes it, he’s a great lad. Shaun [Wallace] and I are actually twins, but we were born two days apart. We’re exactly the same age, although I do look a lot older than him and he’s always telling me that. We’re big football fans, I’m Arsenal and he’s Chelsea. It’s great to have Jenny on board and Paul [Sinha] was a stand up, as was I. They’re so brilliant, they’ve all got their own thing, it’s great. They’ve got their own characters and they’re own way of working.”
The Chase continues 5pm weekdays on ITV