What Chasers did before The Chase: from tough barrister to quiz machine winnings

Only the best quiz brains in the country have the ability to become a Chaser.

Countless teams have tried, but only a slim few have managed to defeat these geniuses on The Chase.

Each weeknight, millions of us tune in to see whether a team of four contestants can bring home some cash then beat The Chaser in the daunting Final Chase.

While many watch just to see presenter Bradley Walsh take down the brain boxes with his hilarious one-liners and brutal nicknames, including 'Frosty Knickers' and 'Sarcasm in a Suit'.

But the Chasers all found success before joining The Chase – with many appearing on our screens on a variety of other popular quiz shows.

Among the ranks of the Chaser is a former barrister, doctor and a Butlins employee who loved winning money on the quiz machines.

Here is a look at what The Chasers were doing before they joined the hit ITV show.

Mark Labbett

'The Beast' started out as a PE and Maths supply teacher at a secondary school in Newport, South Wales.

Having studied Mathematics at Oxford and obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) – he was always destined to make it big.

He first gained an interest in the world of quizzing while working at a Butlins holiday camp.

And he started making a lot of money by playing on the quiz machines and quadrupled his wage.

"I discovered the quiz machines in the bar ," Mark told The Guardian in 2007.

"I really enjoyed playing and it was also lucrative. 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."

'Beastie Boy' then joined the TV quizzing circuit, appearing on Mastermind in 1999 and 2000 with the Olympic Games and The Simpsons as his specialist subjects.

He scooped £500 on Channel 5 show BrainTeaser and £1,500 with two friends on BBC One's SUDO-Q.

His big break came on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in April 2006 when he took home £32,000 from the hot seat.

Mark has also made appearances on The National Lottery People's Quiz, University Challenge and Are You an Egghead?

As well as appearing on the British version of The Chase, he has also starred in the American and Australian editions.

Anne Heggerty

Anne joined The Chase as the fearsome 'Governess' in 2010 and quickly became a fan favourite.

She actually started out life in journalism, working as a reporter and features writer for the South Wales Argus until she moved to Manchester.

Anne, who has also worked as a ghost writer, then moved into the world of TV quizzing and made appearances on Mastermind, Fifteen to One, Today's the Day, Are you an Egghead? and Brain of Britain.

She also helped a pal win £75,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in 2010 by helping her as a "phone a friend".

As well as taking down opponents on The Chase, Anne has been scaring and entertaining audiences in pantomimes, including Dick Whittington and Sleeping Beauty.

Anne headed to the Australian jungle in 2018 for I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.

She showed a different side to herself and bravely poke about being diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 45.

Shaun Wallace

'The Dark Destroyer', another original Chaser, started his career in the courtroom when he was called to the Bar in 1984.

The barrister has been part of hearings at the Old Bailey and several magistrates' courts across the country – and has been part of the Jamaican Bar since 1999.

He first tasted success as a quizzer when he won Mastermind in 2004 with the chosen specialist subject of FA Cup Finals.

He narrowly lost out in the final of the first series of Are You an Egghead and went on to appear on Fifteen to One and The Weakest Link.

As well as being a Chaser in the UK, Shaun has taken part in the Australian version of the show and been in Countdown's Dictionary Corner.

Jenny Ryan

Jenny 'The Vixen' Ryan was the most recent Chaser to join the line-up – making her first appearance in 2015.

'The Bolton Braniac' helped Leeds University make it to the semi-finals of University Challenge in 2003.

During a 2006 Mastermind appearance her chosen subject was Buffy The Vampire Slayer, while she also had a go on Only Connect, The Weakest Link and Fifteen to One.

Before becoming a Chaser she was actually a quiz show question writer, which has put her in good stead.

"I actually worked on the pilot of The Chase and wrote the questions on it," she told RadioTimes.

“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 was recommended to join the Chase team by her friend, Anne Heggerty, as they both compete in the same quiz team.

After nine months of screen tests she won the role and was given her nickname by Bradley Walsh because "vixens are notoriously clever and cunning".

Aside from quizzing, Jenny is an incredible singer and made it to the live shows on last year's Celebrity X Factor.

Paul Sinha

Paul, also known as 'The Sinnerman', went to St George's Hospital medical school before becoming a GP in 1995.

While training at medical school he developed a love of performing on stage as a comedian.

Alongside working as a junior doctor he started performing stand-up, promoting himself as "the world's only gay Anglo-Bengali GP turned stand up comedian".

Paul's big breakthrough came with his second solo Edinburgh Fringe festival show 'Saint or Sinha?' – with the quiz legend fronting nine different shows from 2004 to 2018.

This led to appearances on Comedy Central's The Alternative Comedy Experience in 2013 and on BBC Radio 4.

His first TV appearance was on The Weakest Link, then he went on to appear on University Challenge, Are You an Egghead?, Brain of Britain and Mastermind.

'The Smiling Assassin' was the first new member to join the original Chasers, first appearing on The Chase in 2011.

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