FROM unusual romances to surprising talents, the Chasers are not just a group of exceptionally clever individuals.
The stars are currently appearing on Beat The ChasersCredit: ITV
This week the quizzing kings and queens re on a twice a day as they return each evening for the nerve-wracking series of Beat The Chasers, where contestants can opt to take on up to five Chasers at once.
There’s no doubt the stars keep us on hooked on screen but take a look at their lives off-screen which cover everything from marrying cousins to dealing with life-changing conditions.
Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett
Mark, 55, has a long list of qualifications which include an MA in Maths and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.
The Devonshire-born star was once a PE and Maths supply teacher at a secondary school in Newport, South Wales.
Mark took his nickname from the French word for The Beast, La Bête.Credit: Rex
His interest in quizzing was sparked playing machines in barsCredit: Rex
He took on the nickname because his surname sounds like the French for The Beast, La Bête.
He once revealed his love of quizzing was sparked by playing quiz machines while employed at a Butlins holiday camp.
He told The Guardian: “I discovered the quiz machines in the bar.
“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.”
And it went on to become a very lucrative career choice for the dad-of-one, who had also previously worked as a question writer for a quiz company.
He was married to his second cousinCredit: Rex Features
His appearances on shows include Mastermind in 1999 and 2000, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in April 2006 where he won £32,000 and Channel 5’s BrainTeaser.
Not to mention BBC One’s SUDO-Q, The National Lottery People’s Quiz, University Challenge and Are You an Egghead?.
On joining the The Chase in the UK, Mark also went on to appear in the American and Australian versions.
Mark married nurse Katie in 2014 after meeting on Facebook – it was only after their wedding day they realised they were also second cousins.
The pair, who have a 27-year age gap were told Mark’s dad and Katie’s father are first cousins.
The couple were married for seven years and are parents to four-year-old Lawrence, but announced their split last year.
The break-up was the result of Katie cheating on the star with engineer Scott Bate.
The pair did try to have an open relationship, but that failed to work.
Mark told The Sun at the time: “There was never any deceit on Katie’s part but it’s got to the point now where I realise it is better for us to go our separate ways and remain friendly.”
Paul Sinha is a trained doctor and comedianCredit: ITV
Paul ‘Sinnerman’ Sinha
Paul, 50, was a junior doctor when he discovered his comedic skills on stage.
The funnyman became a GP in 1995, at the same time as working the circuit promoting himself as “the world’s only gay Anglo-Bengali GP turned stand up comedian”.
By 1999, he’d come third in the final of the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year.
His breakthrough came in 2006 when his second solo Edinburgh show, Saint or Sinha?, earned him an if.comeddie nomination.
2013 saw appearances on Comedy Central’s The Alternative Comedy Experience.
On BBC Radio 4 he had his own show The Sinha Games, and Paul Sinha’s History Revision in 2014.
But his love of quizzing was always there with appearances on The Weakest Link, Are You an Egghead?, Mastermind and Brain of Britain.
He joined the Chaser line-up in 2011 and is a regular on the show despite being absent for the current series of Beat The Chasers.
Paul married his partner Olly in 2019Credit: Instagram
He has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and was sick when the current series of Beat The Chasers was filmedCredit: Rex
The star was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019 and recently confirmed that he was ill when filming was taking place.
In September 2020, Paul revealed that he “won’t let the disease dictate how he lives his life” as he updates fans on Parkinson’s battle.
Speaking on Loose Women, Paul said: “By the time I got the diagnosis there was a sense of relief that it wasn’t anything worse.
“I’m tired from time to time, but anyone that’s quizzed with me in the last six months will tell you I am answering questions very very rapidly indeed.”
The comedian added: “I refuse to live in the future; I only want to live in the present and enjoy the present because I don’t know what my future is. I don’t know when I will start deteriorating.”
Paul tied the knot with Olly Levy in December 2019 after proposing to his partner the January before, despite saying the pair were in an “open relationship”.
Anne has been a Chaser on the show since 2010Credit: Splash News
Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty
Anne, 62, has been a Chaser on the ITV show since 2010 but started off her career as a journalist, writing for the South Wales Argus before moving to Manchester.
Her career has also seen her ghost write two books under the name of author-illustrator Richard Scarry.
Her quizzing appearances have included Mastermind, Fifteen to One, Today’s the Day, Are you an Egghead? and Brain of Britain.
In 2010 she helped her friend Lisa win £75,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? as her ‘phone a friend’.
Since her TV stardom, she’s also taken a liking to panto and has been seen on stage in Dick Whittington and Sleeping Beauty.
In 2018 Anne finished in seventh place on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Viewers warmed to her as she spoke about her Asperger’s diagnosis at the age of 45.
She’s known as The GovernessCredit: Rex
Anne has also had a stint in the Australian jungleCredit: Rex Features
The quizmaster has admitted she struggles with physical intimacy as her Asperger syndrome means she “zones out” during sex.
Anne told The Sun: “It took years of psychotherapy before I even considered dating. I lost weight, replaced my glasses with contact lenses and felt a lot more confident, but I find it really hard to hold down a relationship.
“The longest was with a man I met at the Mastermind Club. I’d fancied him for years and we were together for four months.
“Even though he lived in Brighton I still felt suffocated in Manchester. And sex was always better in my head, I felt like I was somewhere else while it was happening.
“It made me realise I needed space both mentally and physically in life, and I can’t make it work.”
During The Chaser’s Road Trip, which aired on ITV earlier this year, Anne opened up about being single and her previous relationships.
Jenny was given the nickname The Vixen by Bradley WalshCredit: Rex
Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan
The 39-year-old – known as The Vixen – became a quizzer on The Chase in 2015 after previously writing questions for the show.
Previously the Bolton babe joined Leeds University on University Challenge in 2003 and they made it to the semi-finals.
She has also featured on Only Connect, The Weakest Link and Fifteen to One.
Her subject of choice on Mastermind in 2006 was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Jenny is actually close friends with Anne – playing on the same weekly quiz team – who recommended her for a spot on The Chase.
And it was host Bradley himself who gave Jenny her well-known nickname.
She revealed her singing voice during an appearance on Celebrity X FactorCredit: Rex Features
She told Lorraine earlier this year: “I had my hair in a big ponytail and the producers were trying to work out what my nickname should be. They wanted something animal-related because I like animal print.
“They suggested The Cougar and I said no, because I’m too young to be a Cougar.
“Bradley came up with The Vixen because of the red hair.”
She added: “It looks like a fox’s tail and foxes are really intelligent animals, are really cunning and can be quite fast.”
As for Jenny’s love life the red head hasn’t given much away over her status.
A tweet from 2016 revealed she was in a relationship, but whether she’s still a taken woman is unknown.
Uploading a picture of a dog wearing a shark costume she said: “My boyfriend is shark phobic but dog-obsessed so I am showing him all #BarkWeek pics to help him get over his fear. Cheers x.”
In 2019 Jenny revealed she was hiding an incredible singing voice as she made it to the live finals of Celebrity X Factor.
She was initially booted out at the Judges Houses stage, but then returned after public uproar and finished third on the talent show.
Shaun Wallace was a practising barrister before joining The ChaseCredit: PA
Shaun ‘The Destroyer’ Wallace
Shaun, 60, studied Law and was called to the Bar in 1984 – he has been a member of the Jamaican Bar since 1999.
But the barrister soon found his feet as a regular on quiz shows including Are You an Egghead? Fifteen to One and The Weakest Link.
In 2004 he won Mastermind with FA Cup Finals as his specialist subject.
2009 saw the start of his journey on The Chase, with the star known for his catchphrase: “Just another day at the office.”
He has also been on the Australian version of the show and has taken a seat in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner.
His autobiography, Chasing The Dream was published in 2018.
He wasn’t impressed by reports he had a mystery wife, according to Wikipedia
Shaun’s shorts got mixed reviews from fans in The Chasers Road TripCredit: ITV
He’s also featured in ITV’s adventure series Don’t Rock the Boat last year, as well as a stint as a reporter on Good Morning Britain to cover Black History Month.
The part-time lecturer doesn’t say much about his relationship status but was unimpressed with Wikipedia claiming he’d been married to a woman called Matilda Bray since 1990.
Last August he was said to have sent a stern letter to Wikipedia and a source stated: “There is no Matilda, never was”.
Last year’s series of The Chasers Road Trip showed another side of Shaun as he relaxed in barely-there clothing.
Although it did lead to some fans begging the star to “put it away” after he displayed his huge bulge in tight shorts.
While others But others loved getting to know the “real” Chasers who were seen out of their comfort zones as they took on a range of activities like country line dancing.
Darragh Ennis joined the show at the end of last yearCredit: Rex
Darragh ‘The Menace’ Ennis
Neuroscientist Darragh became the sixth Chaser on the show last year, having previously been on the show as a contestant.
Born September 29, 1973, Darragh Ennis hails from Ireland – making him 47 years old.
Outside of being a quizzer and the new Chaser, he is also a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University – specialising in the study of the brains of insects.
Darragh previously worked at Concordia University in Canada and Ireland’s Maynooth University.
His Twitter bio says “I do science and occasionally quizzes. Chaser on ITVs The Chase. Send me terrible jokes.”
The neuroscientist was a contestant in 2017 and banked £9,000Credit: ITV
He’s been described as the show’s ‘eye candy’Credit: Cameo
Ennis took part in the show in 2017, performing well in the cash builder round to put £9,000 on the table.
Despite Chaser Paul Sinha’s attempts to persuade him to go higher or lower, Darragh eased through and banked that amount for his team.
But his teammates all took lower offers – including two minus ones – to get through to the Final Chase.
Darragh contributed 14 correct answers to leave Sinha with the insurmountable challenge of topping their 23 steps – yet they took just £1,575 each home.
After his first appearance as a Chaser in December, fans were left swooning over the new “dreamboat” and described him as the show’s new “eye candy”.
Unfortunately for fans, Darragh is a taken man and recently revealed he and his wife were college sweethearts.
The 47-year-old said: “We’re both Irish. We met in Maynooth University, we did our degrees and PhDs there. We were in labs down the hall from each other and she’s from Kildare.”
Beat The Chasers airs this week on ITV at 9pm and The Chase weekdays on ITV at 5pm.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.