• Jon Reeves

Is the ITV quiz show 'The Chase' a bit morally wrong at times?


I Love a quiz, me. The latest barrage of daytime/evening time quiz shows on the telly box have only recently made an indentation on my viewing schedule. Mainly because my now widowed mother always seems to have one of them on when I pay her a visit.

The two main ones, 'Pointless' on the Beeb and 'The Chase' on ITV have, at times, thoroughly entertained me.

Pointless appeals to me due to its unusual format, and also because the bloke who sits behind the computer, Richard Osman, is the brother of the guitarist from Suede. I also like Alexander Armstrong because of that RAF banter sketch he used to do with Ben Miller. But I don’t really feel like I can join with it much.

However, The Chase, with its format of question and answer - as in the more you get right the better you do – is one that I feel I can be a part of. I only see it on average once a week, but having now seen 20 or so episodes, I’ve started to question if I think it's slightly devoid of morals.

The idea is for the ‘Chaser’ to stop the contestants from winning any money. It doesn’t seem like it matters how many questions the contestants answer, because if the Chaser answers more, then they lose all the money that they've built up during the show.

The civvy version doesn’t really bother me that much. I do feel a bit sorry for Dave or Brenda from Ealing and Bolton respectively when they build up a good amount of cash and then lose it to, as the show describes, 'One of the finest quiz brains in the country'. It’s the celebrity version that makes me question the idea of the show.

The format is the same, only this time when the contestants build up a cash prize, in all their celebrity glory, that money will then potentially go to a worthy charitable cause of their choice. But as is the case with the civilian version, the 'Chaser' is then paid by the show to stop them from winning that money. Only this time it doesn’t mean that Dave or Brenda go home with empty pockets, and therefore can't put the money towards a new car or holiday – this time it means that the charity doesn’t get the money.

I know that all celebrity versions of quiz shows are for charity, as, of course, we are led to believe that the celebs in question have enough cash of their own. But with the Chase, its not a survey of a hundred members of the public, or a computer that they’re playing against, its another human, who’s job it seems is to ensure that the charity doesn't receive the cash.

When it doesn’t go the celebs way, the Chaser seems only too pleased to have taken that money away from the charity, and also manages to crack jokes about how they have outwitted the celebs in question.

The only image I have in my head at that point is of a group of potential beneficiaries looking all hopeful that they’re about to get a well needed and deserved cash injection, suddenly looking somewhat disappointed as they realise that the cash will now be kept by the multi-million pound production company or ITV themselves. It just doesn’t seem right.

I don't know, maybe I’m wrong?

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