Bradley Walsh has presented The Chase since its inception 15 years ago (Picture: ITV)
Given the line-up of Chasers, Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, Shaun Wallace, Paul Sinha, Jenny Ryan, and Darragh Ennis, can answer seemingly any question, no matter how niche or obscure, at a quick fire rate, ITV viewers have albeit unfairly assumed they cheat.
One major theory behind The Chasers’ continual success is that presenter Bradley Walsh, 63, purposefully reads their questions faster than the competitors’.
However, Anne, 65, told Metro.co.uk in no uncertain terms that any such allegations are false.
‘No, he doesn’t,’ Anne began. ‘They’ve gone over it with a stopwatch. What he does is, when we get closer to the end, his voice sometimes gets more high-pitched.
‘It may sound as if he’s speeding up, but actually, he’s reading as fast as he can for both the Chasers and the contestants while still being actually understandable. That’s how he does that.’
Anne insisted that everything on The Chase was ‘above aboard’ (Picture: ITV)
She also absolutely refutes claims The Chasers are given easier questions, although admitted occasionally the producers don’t get the balance ‘completely right.’
Anne explained: ‘There are two sets of questions. The question setters then go through them very carefully to make sure that they’re balanced in difficulty. The producers then go through them to make sure they’re balanced in difficulty. Maybe sometimes they don’t get it completely right but they’re doing their best. It’s all completely above board.
‘The contestants get offered a choice of which set of questions they want; whichever set they asked for, A or B, that’s the one that gets loaded into the computer.’
The Chasers sometimes get viciously trolled on social media (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
Cheating allegations, however, aren’t the only backlash The Chasers suffer. Shaun recently had to defend himself after trolls demanded his sacking for failing to know the colour of Marge’s hair on The Simpsons.
Stating that Shaun is ‘perfectly happy and comfortable’, Anne revealed hercoping mechanism for when social media – which she described as a ‘cesspit of horror – gets too much.
‘We have all learned basically to ignore the trolls. And if people are giving us a hard time we just come off social media for a bit and just ignore it,’ Anne sagely said.
However, Anne said they ignore any backlash and all support each other (Picture: Shutterstock)
‘If anyone’s having a hard time, and we all know it could be any of us – any of us might have had a bad game and be being abused online – we just check in on each other by Whatsapp or Messenger and ask, “Are you okay? Do you need to talk?” And if we’re physically there [in the studio] we probably go into each other’s dressing rooms.’
She also quipped that she now knows her way around a blockchain, which means, as she explained ‘when you block a person you block every single person that follows them. That way I can get rid of hundreds of people in the space of five minutes.’
‘But people have short memories,’ she continued. ‘Six months late they can’t even remember why they were abusing you. So I’m not really worried.’
Fans were outraged over Shaun not knowing the colour of Marge Simpson’s hair (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)
What does concern Anne, however, is that long-time host Bradley could be forced to leave the show due to juggling multiple TV commitments. The UK’s richest solo TV presenter, Bradley has recently started fronting the Gladiators reboot with his son, Barney.
‘I remember saying to him once that my great fear that you’re gonna have a heart attack over work,’ she recalled. ‘And he said, “Oh, but I love it.”If you love what you’re doing then isn’t so stressful.
‘I know that Gladiators, when it launched last week got massive ratings, which is terrific for Bradley. But it does also mean: “Oh, for goodness sake is he going to take on more and more other work” and when are we going to be able to fit The Chase around that?
Bradley’s latest TV gig is as the presenter of Gladiators with son Barney (Picture: BBC/Nick Eagle/ Hungry Bear Media Ltd)
‘But at the same time, it’s Bradley. One always wants to see him do well.’
When pushed, Anne said if the time for Bradley to leave ever came, her ideal replacement would be actor and comedian Omid Djalili.
She said: ‘I can imagine Omid Djalili doing it. It’d be quite fun. Who else? Maybe Stephen Mulhern but I think Omid is probably my preference. But, you know, Bradley is irreplaceable: let’s face it.’
Anne’s preferred replacement for Bradley – if the time ever came for him to leave – would be Omid (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
A more welcome addition to the beloved game show, though, would be Stephen Fry, who Anne would love to tap up for the celebrity spin-off.
‘Wouldn’t that be brilliant?’ she remarked.
Anne even admitted Stephen could give her a run for her money when asked if he could beat her.
Anne’s dream competitor on The Chase would be Stephen(Picture: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)
‘I don’t know,’ she replied. ‘I mean, he knows an awful lot. It might depend on what specific subjects come up.
‘I’m the more experienced quizzer I might be a little better at being able to tell what kind of quiz questions might go to come on. But it would be lovely to see Stephen certainly.’
We second that.
Beat the Chasers airs weekly on Fridays at 9 pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
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