The Chasers' Road Trip sees three of our favourite Chasers set off on an international mission.
The Chasers' Road Trip is a brand-new series coming to ITV tonight, where three of the nation's top quizzers set out to put their brains to the test against some unusual opponents. Will they come home with some new insights into the workings of the human mind?
Here's everything you need to know about The Chasers' Road Trip
The Chasers' Road Trip start date: when does it air on ITV?
The Chasers' Road Trip: Trains, Brains And Automobiles starts on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 21st January. The series consists of three episodes, and will air weekly.
The Chasers' Road Trip format: what's going to happen?
Chasers Mark Labbett, Anne Hegarty and Shaun Wallace will be taking some time away from their day jobs to investigate the world of intelligence. The trio will be looking at intelligence in animals, children, and robots, and will take part in a series of scientific tests to see if any of these challengers can best them.
"We were really up against it!" says Shaun. "When we did the children's challenge, we were given very little time to prepare to take on our respective child prodigies. I took on a young girl with an IQ of 162 who knew everything about the functioning of the brain - and she thrashed me 15-1! But I didn't feel in any way compromised or belittled by taking on a child prodigy."
"I'm not afraid that my job is going to be taken by a child or a robot or a dolphin," adds Anne. "I think I'm fine!"
Over the course of the series, we'll see the Chasers try to beat an orangutan at a video game, take on child geniuses at chess and Scrabble, and pit themselves against the latest developments in artificial intelligence.
Locations: where are they going?
In episode one, the Chasers head to the US to meet some exceptionally intelligent animals, while episode two sees them travelling within the UK to encounter some very clever children. In episode three, the trio visit Japan, where they get a glimpse of the future of artificial intelligence.
"We saw [electronics company] NEC and some of their future technologies," Mark reveals. "They had a technology called 'the empty shop', which I could see having repercussions in the Western world if it gets adopted, because it basically turns a small shop into one giant vending machine."
What else do we know?
- Mark draws the short straw in episode one and has to drive the Winnebago that transports the Chasers from Iowa to Indiana - and it's not an easy task. "I enjoyed it, until they took me on some very narrow roads!" says Mark. "I actually do, as a teacher, drive minibuses quite a lot, but this was a whole new ball game - it was just that little bit wider!"
- Episode one also sees the Chasers visiting Miami, where they will test their blindfolded communication skills against some dolphins. But Shaun had an injury to contend with: "I almost broke my shin when I went swimming!" he recalls. "I went straight into the stairs, and it just swelled up. So I left it to Anne and Mark to do the Flipper thing, and they seemed to enjoy it!"
- During their trip, the Chasers learned a few things about their sleep patterns too. "Apparently deep sleep is when one lays down long-term memory," says Anne. "I found that out a couple of months later when I was in Middlesbrough rehearsing for my panto, and I was trying to learn these really quite complex and difficult lines. I noticed that I was sleeping really deeply - it was as if my brain had said, 'okay, we need to go into memorising mode!'"
- The series was filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the trio were still able to travel freely and didn't have to follow social distancing guidelines!
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Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com, who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.