Part pantomime, part bawdy pub quiz, part nail-biting thriller, The Chase has become everyone’s favourite daytime TV gameshow.
It’s dangerously addictive and with housewives’ favourite Bradley Walsh as the host, it’s fun for all the family entertainment.
But what really goes on behind the scenes on The Chase? And what makes the dreaded Chasers tick? Here are 9 backstage secrets about the ITV show.
1. The Walk-Ons
When the Chasers walk on, Bradley Walsh genuinely doesn’t know who is going to be coming around the corner to take on the contestants. So it’s as much a shock to him as the budding competitors.
The rumour is that Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan even takes her high heels off when walking around backstage so Bradley can’t hear her coming.
There is no pre-record either. The Chasers film their strutting entry fresh for each set of contestants.
2. The Governess wasn’t an original nickname
The imposing figure of Anne 'The Governess# Heggarty originally had the title The Headmisstress. However, Bradley Walsh started calling her The Governess in rehearsals off the cuff and it stuck.
Anne apparently preferred The Governess because “it’s a bit more kinky”.
“A Governess is definitely more of a free agent then a headmistress,” she said.
3. The Chasers are banned from quiz shows – but not panel shows
It would be a bit unfair if The Beast or The Vixen suddenly rocked up on Pointless or sat in the Mastermind chair, so they are not allowed to take part in other TV gameshows.
However, that ban doesn’t extend to panel shows and Anne Heggarty told the Metro that she’s angling for a spot on BBC Two’s brainbox comedy series QI.
“Nobody’s asked me. Although a journalist told me that [host] Sand [Toksvig] has spoken well of me, so who knows?” she said.
4. The Chasers have their own Haka
Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha took inspiration from the All Blacks rugby team to create a special Chasers dance backstage, which they perform at the beginning of every day on set.
The Sinnerman described it to Metro as “West Side Story meets University Challenge”.
“We perform it with gusto. It is the most joyous 28 minutes of the working day,” he said. We’d pay a lot of money to see The Beast and The Governess busting some moves. Why has nobody got this on tape?
5. Bradley is being pranked all the time
Bradley Walsh knows that the show’s producers are deliberately trying to make him crease up with their naughty questions.
That infamous Fanny Chmelar incident was no accident.
“The second the contestant sees the question, that’s when I see the question,” insisted Walsh in an interview with the Radio Times.
“They deliberately go out of their way to find questions that will trip me up.
“I know that the question setters are on the floor of the gallery. They find it hysterical.”
6. The Chase was nearly a very, very different show
Did you know Bradley wasn’t the show’s first choice of presenter. We know? Shocking right?
The first presenter considered for the show was investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre. Thankfully the show’s producers came to their senses and eventually hunted down Bradley.
7. The show has got some serious quiz credentials
The show’s questions are set by the very best in the business – Olav Bjortomt. Olav was the inaugural World Quizzing Championships champion in 2003.
8. The Chasers are Facebook buddies
Despite their competitive nature there is no rivalry between the Chasers, in fact they’re all very good friends: “We have a Facebook message thread where we just chat to each other,” Anne Heggarty told What’s On TV.
“Actually Mark is doing a reality show at the moment and I've been on the receiving end of the rants about how much he hates it!”
9. There is not a fix
When Walsh stumbles over a question in the final Chase, the lawyers have to get involved. The show stops filming, lawyers come in the studio and they have to go back to the start of the last question and reshoot.
“It is stopped to the split second,” says Walsh. So that’s an end to those conspiracy theories.
The Chase: Celebrity Specials continue on Sunday nights at 7pm on ITV.