Beat The Chasers is a spin-off from The Chase which I recently went to see filmed at Elstree.
It was a great twist on the format; it bears some similarities to the parent show, but is distinct in terms of format. All five Chasers are present, and sit in a gallery overlooking the studio – with a solo contestant taking them on. Gameplay is divided into two parts – a cash-builder and head-to-head.
First up is the Cash-builder: The contestant answers multiple-choice questions, Bradley Walsh (Doctor Who) gives the contestant a few seconds to consider the answer. The contestant has up to five questions to answer, a thousand pounds for each correct one. This round stops as soon as a contestant gets an answer wrong, or gets all five questions right; if he (or she) gets the first question wrong, he is immediately eliminated from the game.
The second part is the head-to-head. The amount won in the cash-builder forms the minimum offer for the contestant, and for this he can take on two Chasers. The second offer is a higher cash amount, but taking on the three Chasers. There’s an even higher cash amount for four, then the jackpot to take on all five Chasers (£100k or £120k was offered to contestants I saw).
The graded offers also give varying time advantages too: The contestant invariably has 60 seconds on his clock. The Chasers start off with 60 seconds on their clock too; however this is then reduced, depending which of the four offers the contestant takes. Thus if a contestant takes the highest offer, only a few seconds will knocked off the Chasers’ 60 seconds, the lowest offer will see a reduction of around twenty seconds.
The head-to-head in Beat The Chasers starts with the contestant, his 60 seconds counting down as soon as Bradley starts asking questions, with the clock stopping when the contestant gets an answer right. Then the Chasers’ clock starts, with Bradley asking them questions – their clock stops when they get a question right. Bradley then returns to the contestant to ask questions, his clock thence resumes and counts down until he gets a question right again; Bradley shifts across to the Chasers again, and so on. If the Chasers’ clock reaches zero before the contestant, this means the contestant has won the money. If the contestant’s clock counts down to zero before the Chasers’ clock, then the contestant loses and goes home with nowt.
Star of the show was undoubtedly Jean from Chester, a magistrate and former teacher – she was very wry and gave Bradders a run for his money. Jean started talking about her mini-Schnauzer and how she handles her the animal – this led to a discussion about different sizes of Schnauzer available. Perhaps that’s what they call them in adult shops in Chester….
As for how she did, you’ll only discover that by watching the episode.
Bradley was on form, telling us funny stories from Watford. He also told us about the last episode of Breaking Dad that aired: He fractured three vertebrae in the rodeo incident. The medics had suggested putting him in a case for weeks; he said that wasn’t an option, so they advised to keep moving about gently and gave him strong pain-killers instead. What a trooper. He’s alright now. He was high on morphine in the ambulance, trying to set up the paramedic with Barney.
UPDATE Episode 2: In fact, I was sat behind Bradders’ podium! (DVDfever Dom chips in: “Dare you to shout, “Down in front!” 😉 )
Also, the contestants are being shown out of sequence. (Dom adds: I’m not surprised about that, so they can get to a cliffhanger point like last night when one woman was about to go up against the Chasers and the programme ended. That’s what irritated me about Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, while The Chase gets it all finished by the end of each episode.
There’s a new warm-up man on the scene, and the first time Bradders had worked with him, Johnny Cowling. A comedian/singer from Padstow: “Where fathers day is confusing – especially when you have to buy your brother a card”. He was good, but not a patch on Big Stuey, aka Stuart Holdham.
Beat The Chasers airs for five nights in a row from next week, Monday April 27th at 9pm.
There’s no trailer for the new series, so instead, check out some of The Chase‘s funniest moments below!