The Chase: Exclusive interview with Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty

small_YLyxuNddaTZ-SZ_EhCwS4ppER9ISZY2hwiSZPhcxdWoOne of ITV’s most acclaimed teatime successes of all time is currently occupying the prime time pre-X Factor slot and holding up well against its titan rival (some dancey thing).

I recently highlighted the many successes of The Chase in a blog post for Pauseliveaction and have since caught up with the exquisitely humble ice maiden herself, Anne Hegerty – the quiz show’s top performing chaser and most fearsome opponent.

The dynamics, personalities, intellect and foibles of the show’s pantomime villains, the Chasers, is, alongside the magnificent host, Bradley Walsh (Danny Baldwin off Corrie), the show’s greatest strength and they have become the biggest stars, even in the celebrity editions. 

When she isn’t filming her several hundred appearances on The Chase, Anne is busy participating in European and World Quizzing championships and being buried under a backlog of magazine back issues and quiz books, for the homework of a quiz genius is never complete.

So I was very lucky to grab a few in-depth conversations with Anne, exclusively for the readers of this blog, to get an insight into her work on the UK’s most popular quiz show.

Anne considers her responses carefully, in order to give honest, detailed and non-cliché answers and I have had to be as ruthless as the proof reader herself in the editing process of the material I was left with.

Anne explains that the process of preparing and filming The Chase is a lot more complex than it may appear on screen, with each of the three shows filmed daily taking in excess of two hours to record.

With Anne based in the North, like my good self, this involves a lot of time away from home. Even before the cameras are switched on, Anne is hard at work, with hair, makeup, unflattering costumes and preparatory questions being fired at her backstage.

When asked how she got on with her fellow colleagues, Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett, Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha, and Our Man In The North’s biggest rival for his fiancee’s affections, Shaun ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Wallace, Anne describes an atmosphere of camaraderie and support.

“We genuinely do get on really well,” she told me. “It’s like having three extra little brothers. Shaun claims I’m his lucky charm, and that he plays better when I’m sitting backstage. Paul is my pairs partner in the British and European Pairs Championships. Mark and I are always texting and chatting.”

Of course, it’s natural for there to be a little light competition and Anne confirms that the four quiz masters are always keeping an eye on their statistics, but she explains this is more to do with not wanting to be the worst performer as opposed to a drive to be the best. With a day starting at roughly 9am and ending around 7pm, it isn’t quite as straightforward as popping in for an hour to answer a set of questions and then go home for the day. Particularly for host Bradley Walsh, who films three shows a day, it is a hectic, full on day and Anne expressed particular admiration for her witty colleague.

“Brad sometimes does ‘pick-ups’, which are retakes of individual lines that he didn’t say clearly enough,” Anne explained. “He’s having to read so fast while remaining clear, and he doesn’t see the questions beforehand, so he’s got to do it on his feet. I couldn’t do what he does.”

Anne also describes another colleague, writer Adam Bostock-Smith, who, as well as being responsible for the witty lines on BBC quiz Only Connect, comes up with suggestions for the banterful comments made by the Chasers as they meet contestants for the first time. Although there is a script of sorts in place, Anne goes on to explain that these are never set in stone and much of the material which comes across on screen is ad lib and is a result of the genuine rapport between the Chaser and Bradley.

Of course, YouTube is awash with hilarious moments which have cropped up unscripted on the show and perhaps most infamous of all, is the Fanny Chmelar question which reduced both Bradley and Anne to hysterics. Anne comments that she knew right away when she was told the laughter was not being edited out that it would become a memorable moment, but she admits expressing surprise by just how much of a viral internet hit it has become.

Asked about other favourite moments from the show, Anne comments that the team were proud of the Text Santa special last year, which showed all chasers competing against a team of celebrities while dressed as pantomime characters. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, you can see it on YouTube here. At the time of interview, Anne was still unsure as to whether there will be a similar festive edition this year.

In her own time, Anne has to work hard to keep at the top of her game. But, behind the façade of ‘Frosty Knickers’, Ms Hegerty is just human like the rest of us, and admits that she isn’t always as focused as she ought to be.

“What I like to think I do is: read every week the Radio Times, The Week and Heat, then set myself 100 or so questions on each and keep revising them. Also watch the chart shows and keep an eye on the headlines, as well as constantly reading quiz books and Trevor Montague’s A-Z series,” Anne told me, before going on to confess:

“What I actually do is: sit around on the internet, haphazardly reading anything that takes my fancy, including political blogs and fanfiction, neither of which is really going to be much use for quizzing, while feeling guilty about not actually doing all the efficient stuff above, and wondering if I’m going to die in a landslide of unread issues of the Radio Times, The Week and Heat!”

A rising television star, Anne often faces a lot of fan recognition but takes her fame in her stride, careful to maintain her privacy. With an intense workload, it often seems as if Anne never seems to relax but she reassures me by explaining that research is her way of relaxing. Asked for any advice to budding quizzers, Anne simply replies that maintaining natural curiosity is the key.

It is refreshing to see a person with such passion and enjoyment for their career and I am confident when Anne agrees to be reunited with me for a further interview in a few years’ time, she will have some new stories to tell and many more successes to add to her belt.

If you have any comments or thoughts on Anne Hegerty’s interview, The Chase in general or the blog, please make use of our comments section below.

What’s it like to be a contestant on The Chase? Charlie Gardner tells all in our interview here: https://pauseliveaction.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/the-chase-interview-with-contestant-charlie-gardner/

Posted by Our Man In The North

Follow Our Man In The North on Twitter for more entertainment news, reviews and interviews here: https://twitter.com/Our_manPLA

My Interview with another Chaser, Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett can be found here: https://pauseliveaction.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/the-chase-usa-exclusive-interview-with-mark-the-beast-labbett/

34 Comments

Filed under Quiz Shows

34 responses to “The Chase: Exclusive interview with Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty

  1. Hazel athey

    Very interesting duncas. well done x

  2. I’ve never met Anne, but my admiration of her work on The Chase led to a serendipitous encounter on the Internet. Yes, she’s very down-to-earth, witty and (don’t tell her I said this) very warm and caring. And — when it comes to quizzing — smarter than any three people you know put together.

  3. Brian Nuttall

    I find her very endearing , warm and and , most of all extremely well read !!!! She’s unusually delightful to listen to !!! B Nuttall !!

  4. love the chase think anne is really good as well as other chasers and Bradley cracks me up hope it runs for years x

  5. Gwyneth

    Can’t bear missing The Chase. If I am going to be out I record it. I love the chasers and Bradley Walsh is fantastic. It wouldn’t be the same without him. The work together so well.Long may it continue. Gigi

  6. LOVE the show; enjoy it immensely; really enjoy watching Anne.

  7. I love The Chase, Bradley is fantastic with his witty comebacks and \I enjoy all the Chasers- Anne & Shaun are my favourites.

  8. Derek

    Anne is one of those 4 guests I would dearly love for a dinner evening
    The frosty knickers is an act and she pulls it off so well but I believe there is an amazing soft thoughtful lady there really…long may she reign on the chase
    Or even a one to one dinner date…would love her company I am sure

  9. Ruth Moore

    I have only recently become a fan of The Chase, and have to say Anne Hegerty is absolutely outstanding. Besides being a brilliant lady she is very attractive, softly spoken, and has a delightful sense of humour. When she walks across that little bridge I know without a doubt we are all in for a treat. Thank you Anne

  10. I never miss the Chase… Shawn is my absolute favourite… Imagine my delight when he walked across the bridge when I was lucky enough to be on the show!

    • Ruth Moore

      I wasn’t too sure about Shawn, but saw him last night, and have to admit he is a brilliant man, and his own particular personality shone through that I hadn’t previously noticed.

  11. I am so annoyed if I happen to miss an episode. but we get a second chance to catch up as the TV Chanel repeats last night’s episode the next morning. Regards to all the “Chasers”.
    Shirley Hay, Hastings NZ

  12. sandra linden perth western australia 6025

    HI FROM AUSTRALIA,I REALLY LOVE WATCHING THE SHOW, ANNE IS SO DELIGHTFUL,AND A GOOD LOOKING WOMAN,ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE SMILES,BUT MOST OF ALL SHE HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR.THE BEAST MARK,LOOKS LIKE A LOVELY MAN,ALSO VERY CARING,ESPECIALLY ABOUT HIS NIECES.THESE TWO PEOPLE I WOULD DEARLY LOVE TO MEET.BUT IT’S ONLY A DREAM.BRADLEY IS A CRACK UP.KEEP GOING LOVE IT.TAKE CARE EVERYONE.LUV SANDY

  13. carol Robinson

    Love ann brilliant

  14. SHEILA FORSTER

    I know Anne lived in MANCHESTER. I was born there,went to BIRCHFIELDS ROAD SECONDARY MODERN SCHOOL,LEVENSHULME. A teacher there was MISS PRICE.That was 1955!! The build of both women is very similar,and faces almost identical.
    I would love to know if the two women were related.

    • Brenda Cooke

      Hi Sheila, I too went to Birchfields Sec Mod School. I left there is 1955. I remember Miss Price also. I remember queuing up for fresh scones at the window of the cookery room Lol I came to Australia in 1964. regards Brenda Cooke (nee Ross)

  15. Marie

    Please let Anne wear something brighter than that grey suit, it is very unflattering!! She looked so much nicer in the red at Xmas time although the sequins was a bit full on. Mark (The beast) would look better too with less gel and maybe a grey or blue suit rather than the really dark black. Looking forward to seeing if you give it a whirl. They’re not old foggies, give them something nice to wear that reflects their quirky funny and warm natures. The sinner man looks great in the white and dull brown suits surly Shaun …sorry Shaun but you’re not very sunny :/

  16. I think anne is a very beautiful and witty lady i love watching her on the chase may long she continues on this fabulous show.

  17. We(my husband) stop everything for the chase…it’s known in our home now as sherry time then we eat dinner after. Ann your great!! And so lucky to have these gorgeous men around lol. It would NOT be the same without Bradley presenting the show. Love you all.x

  18. carol

    Me And my husband love this programme we watch this Every evening Carol & Tony

  19. Brenda edwards

    Is Anne married….

  20. paulette berry

    I love the chase,I also love Ann,I the mark looks like her,is he her love child, has mark got got a girlfriend,long may the chase continue.

  21. MONICA GLENNON

    THEY’VE SAID IT ALL! ANNE IS SUPERB. = MONICA GLENNON

  22. June zwager

    Can’t miss their show and so happy it’s being shown in Kenya…all four are just superb, and Brad too

  23. Mary ryan

    Wonderful in every way

  24. Mary ryan

    Look forward to the chase so much
    As I love quizzes

  25. Why does nobody know whether Anne is married or not?

  26. pauline hillier

    it is private to her,if she wants u to know fair enough if not let her get on with the chase.

  27. Trish

    Not interested in her private life. I think it is a very unfair game. The team haveto wait until their name is called and that wastes many seconds, and if it supposed to be a team, why “WRONG PERSON ANSWER”. If any member of the team answers correctly the point should be given.. The Chaser has a better chance and can answer BEFORE the whole question is asked. PLEASE BE FAIR.

  28. Sylvia

    I too record The Chase if I am going to be out when it is on. I don’t look forward to Sean being on because I am avery happy, smiley person and his sulky face upsets me. I do love the way Bradley teases him though. My favourites are Ann and Paul.

  29. Kay Richards

    Love the chase and never miss it, as does my 9″yr old grandson he says he’s going on there one day do,hope,so,as he’s autistic and everyday is a struggle.

  30. Sylvia Green

    Does anne have a partner i hope so
    i wouldnt like to think she was on her own
    she is brilliant

  31. Bert Tarry

    Why do the chasers always wear the same clothes As we have been watching this show for months and no clothes changes??

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