The Chasers on quiz shows: Mark Labbett on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Darragh Ennis on The Chase and Jenny Ryan on Only Connect

The Chase: All the other quiz shows the Chasers have appeared on

They've proved themselves on more TV shows than The Chase

The Chasers on hit ITV game show The Chase are expert quizzers – but did you know they’ve been on countless other quiz shows?

From Mastermind to Only Connect, the Chasers were all prolific on TV quiz shows prior to landing their jobs on the ITV programme.

Here’s who has appeared on what quiz show and when.

Mark Labbett on The Chase
Mark won Only Connect in 2009 (Credit: ITV)

The Chasers on quiz shows other than The Chase: The Beast (Mark Labbett)

The Chase star Mark Labbett started his TV quiz show career on University Challenge in 1996. He was the captain of the Glamorgan team. Unfortunately, Mark didn’t have the best time – answering the question ‘What number results from adding, the number of noble truths in Buddhism to the number of pillars of Islam?’ incorrectly. The answer is nine, although Mark said 12.

Next, Mark appeared on Mastermind – twice. He appeared in 1999, with the specialist subject of The Olympic Games. In 2000 he returned for a second shot with The Simpsons as his specialist subject. He also competed on Countdown in 2000, but narrowly lost his first game on a conundrum.

Mark finally had some success on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which – again – he competed on twice. After his first attempt in 2005, Mark managed to bag £32,000 in April 2006 on the programme.

In 2008, Mark appeared on Are You An Egghead?, where he lost out in the first round to future The Chase co-star Jenny Ryan.

And finally, the same year that The Chase aired for the first time in 2009, Mark won Only Connect with team The Rugby Boys.

Anne Hegerty on The Chase
Anne’s specialist subject on Mastermind was The Life and Works of Lorenz Hart (Credit: ITV)

The Governess (Anne Hegerty)

Fellow original Chaser Anne Hegerty appeared on Mastermind twice, though she admitted she “wasn’t that good” at the show.

Her first Mastermind attempt took place in 1988, and she chose the specialist subject The Life and Works of Lorenz Hart.

She told the Daily Express: “I wasn’t that good at Mastermind. I’ve been on it twice and lost both times.”

Anne’s other quiz show appearances include Fifteen to One, Today’s The Day, Are You An Egghead?, and Brain of Britain.

Anne hasn’t only competed on her own behalf, either. In 2010, she was contestant Lisa Harman’s ‘Phone a friend’ on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. As you might have guessed, Anne correctly answered a question about Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and Lisa went home with £75,000. It pays to have Anne as a friend!

The Chase star Shaun Wallace looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Chaser Shaun won Mastermind in 2004, years before joining The Chase (Credit: ITV)

The Chasers on quiz shows other than The Chase: The Dark Destroyer (Shaun Wallace)

While Mark and Anne might have failed, The Chase star Shaun Wallace famously did win Mastermind in 2004. His specialist subject was FA Cup finals.

Shaun also competed on the first season of Are You An Egghead? in 2008. He made it all the way to the final, too, where he was beaten by Barry Simmonds.

However, his appearance on Fifteen to One didn’t go quite as well, after he became the first person to be knocked out.

He told The Switch podcast: “I took six weeks off work and read 27 encyclopaedias and I thought I was invincible. I was so arrogant, that I couldn’t even be bothered to stand with the following contestants when they came to drawing lots for the contestant’s row.

“It taught me a big big lesson, firstly, never have an over-self-inflated importance of your own ability. Secondly, never ever underestimate people you don’t know because you don’t know how good they are.”

He also appeared on The Weakest Link in 2001.

The Chase star Paul Sinha looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Paul’s quiz show credits include (Credit: ITV)

The Sinnerman (Paul Sinha)

The Chase star Paul Sinha‘s TV career didn’t get off on quite the same foot as Shaun Wallace’s.

Chaser Paul appeared on University Challenge: The Professionals, which saw professional adults compete instead of students, in 2008. His team – the Comedians – were wiped out by employees from the Ministry of Justice (probably for the best). That same year, Paul came fourth on Mastermind.

He also appeared in The Weakest Link, Are You an Egghead?, and Brain of Britain. He placed third in the latter.

The Chase star Jenny Ryan looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Jenny, known as The Vixen on The Chase, won Only Connect in 2010 (Credit: ITV)

The Chase: Vixen (Jenny Ryan)

The Chase star Jenny Ryan also appeared on Are You An Egghead? alongside finalist and co-star Shaun Wallace in 2008. Jenny famously beat fellow Chaser Mark Labbett on her way to the Last 16, where she was defeated by David Rainford.

It wasn’t her first quiz show appearance. That was in 2003, when she was part of the University of Leeds team on University Challenge. Her team reached the semi-finals of the competition.

She also appeared on Mastermind in 2006, where her specialist subject was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Finally in 2010, Jenny also won Only Connect alongside her team The Gamblers.

Before becoming a Chaser in 2015, Jenny wrote questions for The Weakest Link and Fifteen to One – landing the gig of writing for the first ever episode of The Chase in 2009.

Nowadays, Jenny doesn’t think being a former quiz question writer gives her an advantage. She told the Radio Times: “All the questions I wrote have long since been used. If I could remember every question I ever wrote I’d be the world quiz champion.”

The Chase star Darragh Ennis looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Before becoming a Chaser, Darragh famously won The Chase himself in 2017! (Credit: ITV)

The Chasers on quiz shows other than The Chase: The Menace (Darragh Ennis)

Fans of the Chase will no doubt remember that the latest Chaser – Darragh “The Menace” Ennis – first appeared on the show as a contestant in 2017.

He impressed from the off, banking £9,000 in the cash builder round of The Chase. However, Darragh’s team lost £2,700 of that money by going for lower offers, which enraged fans and sparked the Twitter hashtag #JusticeforDarragh. Some fans even started a GoFundMe for Darragh to bring his total back up to £9,000.

After being beaten by Darragh’s team, on-duty Chaser Paul Sinha said: “I got beaten by a better team – there’s no shame in it.”

He then turned to Darragh’s teammates and said: “You should be incredibly grateful to Darragh for doing the hard work to get you to win. I feel honestly that you should have realised the fortune you had of being in a team with such a good quizzer and should have backed yourselves to get back.”

After that performance – it was not a huge shock when Darragh was invited to become a Chaser himself in 2020!

The Chase airs weekdays from 5pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

Read more: The Chase stars’ day jobs before they found fame – from teacher to barrister

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Susan Brett
TV Writer