A forensic analysis of the biggest ever win on The Chase
History was made that day
You might have heard about it. One of the most important events in modern history filtering through in drips, hushed tones, murmurs. Like the gentle brush of the wind through the trees it arrived, the slow hum of something momentous, tremors of small talk through the splatter cushion seats on the bus, vibrations through the wooden drink stirrers around the coffee machine: "One hundred grand!? What I'd give for that kind of money..."
It was the news that four unvanquishable Great British heroes took on The Chase and won, and not only that, they took more money from a daytime game show than ever before and did so with an almost disturbing ease; bank robbery hostages turning the guns back on the bandits.
£100,000 is the amount they snatched from the grubby, sticky hands of Bradley Walsh and co, hardly answering a question wrong, hardly breaking a sweat under the feverishly hot glare of the studio lights.
Anne Hegerty - The Governess (sometimes The Duchess if you're kinky, always knowledgeable, always frightening) - was the chaser on the night, and is statistically the most difficult of them all to overcome*, a dispassionate search engine disguised in a blazer.
This is the tale of the chase, perhaps the greatest chase of all.
This is Gayna, a 38-year-old carehome laundry assistant from West Yorkshire, and the first one over the trenches and into the Bradley Walsh-manned no man's land. Gayna proved herself to be the second best player on this ragtag team of misfits and scoundrels during the final round.
She was the first one up, no easy task, bringing a healthy pot of £7,000 with her. Fair play to her. #Respect.
Tim, as you can see, was obviously the weakest member of the team and had "takes the lower offer despite his teammates telling him not" written all over him. He proved the doubters (me) wrong, however, by making it back with a respectable £3,000.
Tangent: nobody on The Chase ever listens to their teammates' arguments about what amount to take and the reason for that is because they simply don't offer them any actual advice. They just say words. Meaningless words. Completely meaningless words they don't mean. The whole rigmarole is completely redundant, with Bradley turning them around to face their #squad so they then offer such sage wisdom as:
"If you think you can get back with the higher offer, go for it. If you don't think you can, then don't do that. Obviously. So in conclusion, I don't know really"
"It's a good offer, and you could take it, but we need you back for the final round. So... yeah. Yeah."
" *shrugging* "
Tim is 62-years-old, a retired database administrator (??) and really, really into planes (???) for some reason, and that fact makes up the entirety of his banter for the show: occasionally referencing the fact that he likes planes and chuckling to himself.
If you had asked me the person most befitting of the name 'Tim' in the entire world, I would point to this man right here and say: "This one. This is the guy. He likes planes and spreadsheets and absolutely nothing else in the entire world."
Here he is then, the self-appointed cheeky one of the gang, whose only real character trait is simply "being a student".
"What do you study Luca?" Bradley Walsh asks, pulling a face as though he's just noticed your leg is turning septic and is mentally preparing an emergency amputation.
"Medicine" Luca replies, with a big, silly, wide-eyed grin that says: look at me. I study medicine. Isn't that great. I'm going to be a doctor and everything.
"Oh. So you want to be a doctor or a scientist or something?" Bradley Walsh then asks, right on the button.
Luca, 21, who is a "big fan of takeaways", brings back £4,000 somehow. And oh god, don't you just know it, he's really fucking pleased. He's really fucking happy with himself.
This is Diane. She is the best member of the team. She'd be the best member in any team ever assembled tasked with doing just about anything.
Diane went on The Chase, took a ludicrous higher offer of £86,000, proceeded to answer every single question correctly so it didn't seem like a pursuit at all really - more like two people silently riding an escalator a few steps apart - said "this is my yard", dropped the mic and left.
52, housewife, caring for her unwell husband, certified quiz genius, gigantic pair of stones on her.
The Chase pretends it is a team game but really it isn't, the power of the individual is always decisive. Diane could have listened to the faux advice of her wishy-washy teammates and taken the middle offer but she had absolutely no interest in doing so.
The Governess attempted to entangle her in the adhesive, throbbing web of greed with an offer simply too good to refuse but one everyone without the requisite cojones turns down anyway, and Diane just shrugged and met her steely, aristocratic gaze. She. Did. Not. Fucking. Blink. Ladies. And. Gentlemen.
It was then the spider realised she was, in fact, the fly.
This is Anne Hegarty, a.k.a The Governess, a.k.a the woman Clare Balding has a framed, signed poster of, above her bed.
Some thoughts on The Governess:
- STRENGTH: Generally very, very ridiculously good at quizzing and adding unnecessary context to answers just to show off
- ANOTHER STRENGTH: Actual Strength
- MAIN WEAKNESS: completely and irreversibly crumbles under pressure because she is just not accustomed to it at all. Imagine knowing everything so tirelessly and endlessly that whenever the slightest hint of doubt creeps you just malfunction and descend into a murderous rage like the Hal 9000 unit from 2001: A Space Odyssey
- That is exactly what happened in this episode, except nobody got blasted into space (Bradley Walsh looked suitably worried that might happen)
- She is not entirely responsible for the contestants winning all that money, Diane was a giant fucking quiz-eating monster, but, but, if it was up to me, she would never be employed as a chaser again. Her chasing days would be over, simply put. You simply cannot allow someone to take the higher offer and laugh in your face afterwards
She's still the best Chaser though, in my humble opinion. Nobody has ever taken more pride in being so much c̶l̶e̶v̶e̶r̶e̶r̶ more intelligent than everybody else.
Just look at this and tell me, honestly, have you ever seen anybody think this hard? Imagine the sheer energy the Duchess is producing in this moment, just pure nuclear emissions radiating from that blow-dryed wind-tunnel quiff as she turns from aloof, nostril-raising, question swatter into a small child who has just sunk a Tango Blast in one and now, consequently, has a near fatal case of brain freeze.
A Study in Frustration by Kyle Picknell and Anne Hegarty
That is the endgame for us all, to at least once in our sorry little lives exert as much force, and pressure and heat, as the Duchess is in that exact moment where she is trying to remember who directed Milk and Good Will Hunting or what sport Ross Barkley plays.
Tennis, she says, reluctantly. She already knows it is wrong.
"Wrong!" Bradders snaps, as her head rocks back in disbelief.
Sometimes, and it is only in the rarest instances that she is stumped to the extent her face begins to resemble a dog trying to sneeze, she can't even offer a customary stab in the dark. She passes, the most embarrassing thing a Chaser can do, before the correct answer comes as it always does (the contestants do not remember the director either and plump for Ben Affleck for some reason).
"Gus Van Sant", Walsh utters, barely pausing to consider the pronunciation, before she sighs, then tuts, then rolls her eyes, then returns to her default snarl, figure a. at the top of the above chart of frustration.
The other funny thing she does, as she did when finding out the answer to a question about the Prime Minister of Portugal, is interrupting Bradley Walsh mid-answer in an attempt to convince the viewers (and herself, so she can sleep at night) of her own infallibility.
"The correct answer was Salaz-"
"Salazar." *nodding vigorously* "Yes, yes." *shakes head ferociously* "Of course!" *bashes her forehead with her palm over and over* "You should. Have. Fucking. Got. That. Anne." *she is bleeding now, there is blood everywhere* "You idiot, you absolute fucking cretin, Anne!" *collapses into the pool of blood*
*five seconds of studio silence, Bradley Welsh one-liner, cut to ads*
What happens on The Chase that means people don't usually win this much, or at all?
Diane isn't there.
What happened this time so that it was different?
Diane was there.
Let's talk about Diane then?
Yeah, let's do that.
- This is the face Diane pulls when she gets a question and is pretending to think about it quite deeply despite arriving at the answer in approximately 0.000002 seconds
2. This is her "Oh, did I get that one right??? OF COURSE I FACKIN' DID" face.
Diane is a shark. Don't believe anything you think you know about her.
3. This is the face Bradley Walsh pulls witnessing the above, literally unable to comprehend what is going on.
Note: look at that fucking side-eye glance Diane is giving the Governess as if to say "You think I didn't know what scrimshaw was? Bitch, please. I invented the tusk carving game."
4. This is the face Diane pulls when her mental calculations inform her she has won her team £100,000 and caused one of the best quizzers in the world to completely unravel.
After winning the £100,000, here are the things the contestants said they would spend the money on:
Gayna - Holiday with the kids
Tim - Buy a fucking stupid tiny plane or something
Luca - "A takeaway from the Ritz"
Luca - That isn't even one of my jokes to take the piss out of him, that's actually what he said
Diane - A wing walk, because she has already done parachuting and bungee jumping (told you, you didn't know shit about Diane) and to take her sick husband to an Arsenal match even though she is a Liverpool fan
Give Diane all the money. Seriously, let Diane keep all the money. Literally 86% of the money is rightfully hers anyway. Give her all the money because Tim and Luca are just going to waste it like idiots. Give it to Diane. The money. All of it. Now. The end.
*Jenny Ryan doesn't count. She hasn't proved herself yet.