Jenny Ryan: The Chase star says Beat The Chasers caught new celeb contestants ‘off guard’

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Jenny Ryan, 38, has said celebrities were “caught off guard” during filming for Beat The Chasers, despite some of them having competed at the Olympics and performed on some of the UK’s biggest stages. Comedians Joe Pasquale and Katherine Ryan, presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, former sprinter Christine Ohuruogu and soap star Shaun Williamson feature in the special, which airs tomorrow night on ITV.

It’s a very intense environment

Jenny Ryan

The quiz show, a prime-time spin-off of The Chase, will see them compete against multiple Chasers for increasing amounts of money, but with a decreasing time advantage against them.

Professional quizzer Jenny was surprised by how nervous the stars had been.

She said: “I would say that the celebs were definitely more nervous than they anticipated.

“A lot of them are used to very high-pressure environments, from live TV and stage performance to Olympic finals, and it’s safe to say the Beat The Chasers studio caught them all off guard.

“It’s a very intense environment and I don’t think everybody was expecting the stress level. It was fascinating to see how different celebs dealt with the situation.”

Jenny stated the stars were “a bit more circumspect” when it came to risking their potential winnings, because of what even the lower amounts could mean for their chosen charities.

“A lot of contestants will get tempted into going too high because they are dazzled by the bigger cash offers, but I was impressed that the celebs took it so seriously and wanted to take something back for their charities rather than risk it all,” she added.

Darragh Ennis, who joined as a Chaser in 2020 after appearing on the show, was pleased the celebrities were intimidated by his fellow professional quizzers.

He continued: “That some of them find performing in front of thousands of people in theatres or stadiums less threatening than us was very unexpected, I guess it’s a kind of compliment.

“But some of them were quite at ease and were very determined to win money for their charities.”

Chasers Mark Labbett – ‘The Beast’, Anne Hegerty – ‘The Governess’, Jenny – ‘The Vixen’, Shaun Wallace – ‘The Dark Destroyer’ and Darragh Ennis – ‘The Menace’ – will all be competing in the show.

It comes as Jenny has spoken out on the lengthy recruitment process to become a Chaser, and divulged that a person could be the “world’s best quizzer”, but if they did not have “friendly banter” with show host Bradley Walsh it would not “work”.

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The Vixen had said that despite all five chasers  on the show having “big personalities”, they are all able to get along with the former Coronation Street star.

Jenny said of The Chases’ selection process: “It’s not just a matter of being the world’s best quizzer, in which case it would be a very different line-up of Chasers, and I don’t think it would have lasted as long as it has done.”

Going more into detail on what is most important to succeed on securing a spot on the programme, she cited the ability to gel with Bradley: “If he doesn’t feel that he can chat to you and have a bit of friendly banter with you and work with you, then it’s that which won’t work.”

“We’re all big personalities and Brad is such a well-loved personality, it’s a really tricky fit so it’s finding the right peg for the hole and I feel very lucky that I’m one of the chosen ones,” Jenny added.

On Beat The Chasers, the quizmasters team up to take on individual contestants.

Jenny revealed that she in some ways prefers it to The Chase, as it means the Chasers can “divide” the pressure between them.

She told Radio Times: “They’re both enjoyable and they’re both very different.  But it’s also quite exhausting because there’s five really big personalities up there.

 “It gets quite tiring after a little while to be part of that and the relentless quizzing as well.”

Jenny first joined The Chase back in 2015 after writing the questions for the first episode of the hit quiz show back in 2009.

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