We tried to Beat the Chasers – and it was a truly terrifying experience
RadioTimes.com writer Lauren Morris tried out Beat the Chasers – but what was it really like being a contestant?
Like many quiz show fans, I'm guilty of being that viewer who's shouting answers at the television, frustrated at how contestants can get so many questions wrong while I confidently play along from the comfort of my sofa, wrapped up in a dressing gown, barking out trivia to an audience of just my dog.
So, when the chance to have a go at Beat the Chasers – ITV's successful spin-off to The Chase – came along, it was time to show I wasn't literally all mouth and no trousers.
On behalf of RadioTimes.com, I set off to the Beat the Chasers studio in Elstree back in March, when filming for the primetime show's fifth season was underway. Hosted by Bradley Walsh, the quiz competition sees brave contestants take on up to six Chasers after answering a series of multiple-choice questions (the Cash Builder round) in the hopes of taking home a sizeable prize pot. In the final stage, contestants must answer questions correctly to stop their 60-second clock from running out of time and, while choosing more Chasers to go up against will result in a bigger cash prize, they'll be given less of a time advantage.
Having watched Beat the Chasers since it first premiered back in 2020, I knew taking on six of the world's most accomplished quizzers in front of a live studio audience was going to be a daunting task. However, the enormity of the challenge only really sank in when I was ushered into the contestants' greenroom. Luckily for me, it was only the final round of the competition that I'd be trying out and while the (admittedly disappointing) fact that I wasn't playing for real cash did take some of the pressure off, I was going into full Eminem mode – my palms were sweaty, knees weak and arms were indeed heavy.
As I waited for my turn in the Beat the Chasers arena, I decided to play along with the live feed of the episode being filmed, but it did absolutely nothing to calm my nerves. Out of the many questions being fired at the contestant before me, there was only one I managed to get right and unsurprisingly, it was TV-related. I'd interviewed the Chasers beforehand and all of them gave helpful advice – the most common tip being to avoid passing a question and to just guess instead. But what if I guessed something really stupid? What if I got a TV question wrong? What if the video went viral because I panicked and said Justin Bieber was the prime minister of Canada? (Believe it or not, this has actually happened before on The Chase).
Thankfully, the catastrophising spiral I'd spun myself into was interrupted by a producer, who was ready to take me to set. After being mic-ed up and given instructions on exactly how and where to walk on stage, I stepped out in front of the glaringly bright lights and stood next to Bradley Walsh. You don't realise just how high up the Chasers are when watching the show from home but as a contestant, it feels as though you're being sentenced by the Supreme Court – if it were made up of colour co-ordinated quizzing enthusiasts.
When asked how many Chasers I wanted to go up against, all I knew is that I didn't want to take on all of them (the round would be over pretty quickly), so I randomly went for four of them – Paul Sinha, Jenny Ryan, Mark Labbett and the newest addition to the Beat the Chasers panel, Issa Schultz.
If you want to know how I did (or see some of the amusing faces I make when concentrating), then you'll have to watch the video above, but my overall takeaway from my experience on Beat the Chasers is that it's a truly unique quiz show to compete on. As terrifying as it was to stand on that brightly lit stage in front of the Chasers' intimidating faces, I did have an amazing time and even getting just one question right felt like a victory to me by the end. As it turns out, beating the Chasers is an incredibly difficult thing to do!
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