I wish I could say I was there for day 1, but I wasn't. I wish I could say I was there for series 2, but I can't. Nor series 3, 4 or 5. At the time I was working regular office hours, and the delights of the 5pm slot were completely oblivious to me. I can't remember when I began watching The Chase regularly, but it was in the 4 chaser years.
When I did start watching, the first thing to appeal was the fast pace and the many questions they got through. There are a number of quiz shows where they don't actually do much quizzing, and it's more about having dramatic pauses to build the suspense. The Chase isn't like that, the drama is in the show's excellent format. The thrill of the chase where you wonder if the players are going to escape from the clutches of the quizzing genius, both individually and as a team at the end.
The next thing I noticed was how brilliant Bradley was as the host. He is warm and friendly at the start, trying to set the players at ease before their cash builder. He is also there for moral support during the head-to-heads. From some of the answers he gives, I suspect he is actually a knowledgeable quizzer himself. But he downplays this to make the contestants feel more confident in their own ability. Plus of course, Bradders is also very funny. Making jokes all the time, trying to keep a straight face when the question setters have set him up, or playfully teasing the chaser or a contestant.
Then there were the chasers to get to know. Each has their own character to play, which may or may not be similar to their actual personality. The Beast making sure it be known that he is the alpha male, The Governess looking like she might put you in detention or worse, and The Sinnerman who is as good at quipping as he is at quizzing. The Dark Destroyer started out with a boring and quiet persona, but these days he is just as likely to sing or dance, or tell jokes. As well as trying to get as many of his catchphrases into each show.
Then I noticed how interesting the show was from a statistical point of view. There are many questions the show raises. Who is the best chaser? What target do the team need to set to win the final chase? What is the biggest amount won? And so on. So I started collecting data from the show. On finding there wasn't really a website that presented all of this information, I started my own, and One Question Shootout was born. Once on Twitter, it didn't take me long to find out I had a German equivalent - SebastianEYC (although his account is no longer active). He was collecting more data than I was, and I was jealous. So I decided I would start collecting even more than he was. Practically everything to do with an episode apart from what colour shirt Bradley was wearing.
This meant I needed to re-watch the episodes I'd already seen, as well as watching all the episodes I had yet to see. A total of 1,083 episodes including specials at the start of 2017. So for a couple of years, my PVR's recording schedule was as many episodes of The Chase I could find. New episodes on ITV, repeats on ITV, repeats on ITV4, and repeats on Challenge. But this wasn't catching all the episodes. Fortunately, the UK version of The Chase is broadcast internationally in English speaking countries, and they tend to be at least 2 years behind. So I was able to fill in some gaps by watching episodes broadcast in Ireland and Australia. The Aussies are so far behind, that it is only in the last few months that The Vixen has appeared on screen there. After two and a half years, I have almost caught them all. Just one episode left - the Text Santa special from 2013. So if you are reading this Matt Barbet, Charlene White, Romilly Weeks or Alastair Stewart, or anyone else who might have a copy of the show, please do get in touch.
Thank you to everyone who has helped with the website over the past few years. And here's to at least another 10 years of The Chase!