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Jenny Ryan on 'Beat The Chasers' — 'I wish we were psychic!'

Jenny Ryan poses for the camera in the Beat The Chasers studio
Jenny Ryan in the Beat The Chasers studio (Image credit: ITV)

Jenny Ryan — aka 'The Vixen' — and her brainbox colleagues are back soon for Beat The Chasers series 3 on ITV, and any members of the public hoping to take them on need to have done their homework!

The spin-off series flips the typical format of The Chase on its head, so instead of a team of up to four contestants taking on one Chaser, in this instance one member of the public takes on a team consisting of between two and five Chasers — and the more Chasers they're willing to take on, the more money they stand to win.

Here Jenny, 39, tells us what skills the contestants will need to stand a hope of winning — and why she prefers it when they're not so nice...

Jenny Ryan on the standard of players in Beat The Chasers Season 3

"It keeps getting better and better. I know that the casting team must work really hard, but also the contestants have been putting the practice in — they’ve had two whole series to watch and make notes and then to practice as well, particularly through lockdown. I think we’ll have a real glut of great contestants on quiz shows because a lot of people have been doing a lot of quizzing over the last 12 months!" 

"But particularly this series, contestant after contestant has been amazing: not just great knowledge but great tactics — they’ve really thought things through. 90% of them, you want them to do well and maybe win some money. If they can put in a great performance and beat you, you don’t feel hard done by, you think ‘they deserve it, what a nice person’ — I hate it when the contestants are nice!"

Jenny on how the players can beat the Chasers

Contestant Caitlin McCulloch in the Beat The Chasers studio with host Bradley Walsh

Contestant Caitlin thinks she has what it takes to beat the Chasers — but has she followed Jenny's advice? (Image credit: ITV)

"It is difficult to beat us. A lot of people seem to think that they could come out and beat us just with a standing start, and they’re crazy — they need that head start, and they need to try and maintain it. They need to have basically ice cold water in their veins, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes of playing that final round, and to just maintain their own performance."

"We see quite a lot of contestants who haven’t thought tactically about which offer to take, or in the heat of the moment when we present them with a very large amount of money that’s possibly there to be won, they go crazy! And they make daft decisions, so stay cool, I think, is the main thing — have good general knowledge, know your limitations and stick with them, because there is money to be won if you are realistic about how well you can do.

"A lot of people, they take the offer that’s just one step beyond their capabilities, you see it quite a bit — the best contestants are the ones who are really honest about how good they are and then sort of damp it down a little bit further and give themselves a little bit more time, one fewer Chasers to face. Less money, but at least they’re taking the money home!"

Jenny's number one tip for preparing to take on the Chasers

"If you’re going to do a competition, particularly one like Beat The Chasers, which is very intense, you have to practice that endgame. I would say that to people who appear on The Chase — you can’t just think 'I’m a good quizzer, I’ll do all right in that final'. You don’t really know how long a minute is until you’ve had someone firing questions at you for one minute solid, and you start getting them wrong. So really practise and practise that time element, because you see people absolutely fall to bits when they start to watch the seconds tick away."

Shaun Wallace, Anne Hegerty, Bradley Walsh, Mark Labbett, Jenny Ryan and Darragh Ennis in the Beat The Chasers studio

The Beat The Chasers Season 3 team (L-R): Shaun 'The Dark Destroyer' Wallace, Anne 'The Governess' Hegerty, Mark 'The Beast' Labbett, host Bradley Walsh, Jenny 'The Vixen' Ryan and Darragh 'The Menace' Ennis (Image credit: ITV)

Jenny on how the Chasers have learned to work as a team...

"We are getting into a little bit more of a rhythm, but there’s only so far we can take that. I know people will be probably worried that by series five, if we get there, we’ll be reading each other’s minds — we can’t do that! There’s going to be an upper limit to how well we work as a team, and we’re approaching it.

"I think we’re doing really well at reading each other. It’s all very well, the contestants standing there watching us tripping over each other, and we might be a little bit slow answering one or two of the questions, compared to others, but a lot of that is because we’re not just having to answer the question in the way they are. They can come straight in — we are having to assess the question, assess whether any of the colleagues who are in that line-up will get that first, or should be left to get that first, who’s going to go in for a guess, should I go in for a guess — you’re trying to make all these assessments at the same time. So there’s a lot going on for us!

"I wish we were psychic so much of the time. Unless we get some kind of cybernetic implants in the near future, we’re kind of getting as good as we can do, so people should rest assured, we’re still going to stay possibly beatable — but very rarely!"

Beat the Chasers series 3 starts on ITV on Monday 3 May.