Headshots of The Chase chasers Mark Labbett, Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace

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

Once upon a time, ITV's Chasers were just like us... kind of

The Chase stars are firm fixtures on the ITV show – but there was a time when they had day jobs just like the rest of us before becoming the formidable Chasers.

From a school teacher to a barrister to a doctor, the Chasers were exceptional in their own fields even before becoming household names.

If you ever wondered what The Chase stars’ day jobs were before they appeared on the hit ITV show, here’s a guide…

The Chase star Mark Labbett looking smart in promotional shot for the show
The Beast used to teach PE! (Credit: ITV)

The Chasers: The Beast (Mark Labbett)

Mark Labbett, aka The Beast, worked as a PE and maths supply teacher in Newport, South Wales, before landing a gig on the show.

He started quizzing after becoming a questions writer for pub quiz company Redtooth and holiday camp company Butlins. It was at Butlins that Mark discovered his passion for quizzing.

Mark told the Guardian that he started playing the quiz machines at the bar in Butlins and discovered doing so was rather lucrative!

He said: “At the beginning of the week I banked my £55 wage, except for £3 or £4 which I played on the machines. By the end of the week, I’d have £200 in coins.”

Before joining The Chase, Mark appeared on various other TV quiz shows. He was the captain of the Glamorgan team on University Challenge in 1996 and 1997. He also appeared on Mastermind (twice), Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Only Connect. He even won Only Connect in 2009 with his team The Rugby Boys.

The Chase star Anne Hegerty looking smart in promotional shot for the show
We love Anne on the show (Credit: ITV)

The Governess (Anne Hegerty)

The Chase star Anne Hegerty worked as a journalist before becoming a chaser. She has a degree in journalism, and worked as a news reporter for the South Wales Argus in Newport before moving to Manchester.

Anne was also a ghostwriter, writing the copy for two books using art by children’s author-illustrator Richard Scarry.

Although, Anne admits herself that these books weren’t a success. She told Twitter: “They were a bit rubbish and nobody bought them.”

Anne also had TV quiz experience before The Chase. She appeared on Mastermind in 1988, with her specialist subject being The Life and Works of Lorenzo Hart.

The Chase star Shaun Wallace looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Shaun has a very successful legal career (Credit: ITV)

The Dark Destroyer (Shaun Wallace)

The Chase star Shaun Wallace is more than a terrifying Chaser, he is also a qualified barrister! Shaun was called to the Bar in 1984. He’s also been a member of the Jamaican Bar since 1999.

His fruitful law career meant he took part in hearings at magistrates’ courts across Britain, including at the Old Bailey.

Before The Chase, Shaun was the winner of Mastermind in 2004. His specialist subject was FA Cup finals. He also appeared on The Weakest Link.

The Chase star Paul Sinha looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Paul is a qualified doctor (Credit: ITV)

The Sinnerman (Paul Sinha)

The Chase star Paul Sinha is a man of many trades. Firstly, he is a qualified doctor, having graduated from St. George’s Hospital medical school in the ’90s and becoming a GP.

Paul also performs stand up-comedy, after getting a taste for it at medical school. Paul has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival multiple times, as well as appearing on Comedy Central’s The Alternative Comedy Experience.

And then there’s the quizzing. Paul has also appeared on The Weakest Link, University Challenge, Are You an Egghead?, Mastermind, and Brain of Britain.

The Chase star Jenny Ryan looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Jenny joined The Chase in 2015 (Credit: ITV)

The Vixen (Jenny Ryan)

The Chase star Jenny Ryan may have only been a Chaser on the show since 2015, but she’s worked on the show for much longer.

Prior to becoming The Vixen, Jenny worked as a question writer for The Chase! In fact, she told Radio Times that she worked on the pilot episode of The Chase all the way back in 2009.

However, she doesn’t think that puts her at any advantage nowadays. She said: “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.”

Jenny has had some success on TV quiz shows herself. Her first quiz show appearance was 2003, when she was part of a University of Leeds team that reached the semi-finals of University Challenge. Jenny’s team The Gamblers also won the 2010 series of Only Connect.

As well as that, Jenny’s appeared on Mastermind, Are You an Egghead?, Fifteen to One, and The Weakest Link.

The Chase star Darragh Ennis looking smart in promotional shot for the show
Darragh is a firm favourite on The Chase (Credit: ITV)

The Menace (Darragh Ennis)

Darragh Ennis’ winning performance on The Chase in 2017 was legendary. It came as no surprise in 2020 when he was announced as a new Chaser!

The Chase star is also a qualified neuroscientist and entomologist, after completing almost a decade of study at Maynooth University. His PhD in biology explored natural methods of pest-control.

Aside from The Chase, Darragh works as lab manager and a post-doctoral researcher in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

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

Read more: The Chase star Anne Hegerty reveals TV shows she’s ‘banned’ from as producer stopped her joining Celebrity Mastermind

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Susan Brett
TV Writer