Those who follow my various musings on different platforms will no doubt have picked up on the subtle hints that I leave expressing my enjoyment of ITV’s hit quiz show ‘The Chase’
Whilst I am a self confessed trivia and quizzing nut, I rarely invest any time in television shows based around general knowledge as a successful formula is very difficult to hit and, more often than not, represents the hobby of quizzing as boring and tedious. For a quizzing show to work, it has to attract the casual viewer; those with a non specific interest in the idea of quizzing as there are simply insufficient quiz fanatics in the world to generate ratings which a mainstream television show requires in order to be fruitful. Finally, The Chase came along and delivered the ideal teatime quiz experience.
The premise of the show is refreshingly simple. A mix of four people from varying backgrounds and levels of quirkiness team up to attempt to overthrow a ruthless quiz and trivia expert. They answer questions on topics varying from the height of film stars, to the musings of philosophers and from little known facts about the greatest works of fiction to the achievements of skiers with unfortunate names.
Building up a cash prize based on the contestant’s levels of bravery and notions of good teamplay, those who survive the original battle with The Chaser, then combine their knowledge (or lack of) to try and outrun them once more and take the money home.
I have often heard a casual viewer who has seen the odd episode here and there bemoan the imbalance of knowledge when comparing the Chaser and the contestant, complaining that ‘nobody ever wins’
Those who invest the time in the show, however, will know that the beauty of the Chase is that absolutely anything can happen. With a contestant victory at least once in a week, some of the best teams are conquered by the Chaser whereas some of the underdogs you’d never imagine could beat the knowledge of a trivia genius leave the show a few thousand pounds richer.
What makes the show so unpredictable is that the contestants are not up against a formulaic system or a computer but their victory depends largely on the performance of a human being who, whilst having an impressive bank of knowledge, is as fallible as the rest of us and just as prone to slip ups, bad days and sheer bloopers. (Who can forget Paul Sinha, the registered GP, getting his bones mixed up resulting in a tidy tune of £100,000 being won on a celebrity edition of the show?) Continue reading