Those brutal Chasers Mark ‘The Beast’ Labett, Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty, Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha and Shaun ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Wallace have gleefully sent many a seasoned quizzer home empty-handed over the years.
Now, as ITV's The Chase returns, Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan is joining their ranks as the latest, and perhaps kindest, Chaser.
Before she makes her debut on ITV's The Chase on Wednesday, TV Times gave the 33-year-old former QI question setter from Bolton a grilling…
So, are you excited to be the new Chaser?
“Yes, but not as much as my mum! She’s seen me do quizzes forever. Now it has paid off and she realises that I’ve not had a wasted life!”
How did you get the audition?
“I’m in a quiz team with Anne Hegerty. She heard they were looking for a new face and she said, ‘I like being the only woman and the queen bee, but if they’re going to have another woman I’d like it to be you. Can I recommend you?’”
What’s your approach as The Vixen?
“I’m a glamorous hot-blooded counterpart to ‘Frosty Knickers’ Anne. As well as being fiery, I’m warmer towards the contestants because I’ve appeared on my fair share of quiz shows, so I know how they feel and how nerves can get to you. I’m not a meanie or bully like some of the others, unless the contestants have a go at me first, then I crush them!”
What’s Bradley like to work with?
“Lovely. When I was nervous at the start he just told me to enjoy it. I like to tease him about being significantly older than I am and he calls me The Bolton Brainiac.”
Is there rivalry with the other Chasers?
“No, we’re a support network. Once I was livid when I underperformed, but Shaun was at the bottom of the stairs when I came off set to give me a hug. Mark is the most competitive and he keeps statistics to show he’s the best! But I was once on Are You An Egghead? with him and I beat him on sport, which he considers himself unbeatable on. He’s still seething!”
You’ve been a contestant on everything from University Challenge to Mastermind, which has been your favourite?
“Only Connect. I won series three with The Gamblers. It’s one of the toughest quizzes, because it’s not just about knowledge, it’s about lateral thinking.”
Do you hope to encourage more girls to get into quizzing?
“I’d love nothing more. Women shouldn’t feel ashamed to show that they are knowledgeable. They are as smart as men and if I can inspire them to get out there and be brave then I’ll have done my job.”
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