The Chasers’ nicknames explained – from The Governess to The Beast

The Chasers are some of the most formidable quizzers in the business.

And as if facing Britain’s brightest brains wasn’t daunting enough, the quizzy quippers’ nicknames are specifically designed to strike the fear of God into terrified contestants.

There’s the Beast, Vixen, Governess, Sinnerman and even the Dark Destroyer.

And most recently, The Menace has joined the elite brain boxes to try and prevent contestants walking away with cash prizes.

The Fantastic Five became the Sensational Six when new chaser Darragh Ennis joined the hit teatime TV quiz show The Chase last year.

Mark Labbett (The Beast) and Shaun Wallace (The Dark Destroyer) were the two original chasers when the show was first broadcast in 2009.

The Governess Anne Hegerty joined in 2010, followed by Paul Sinha (The Sinnerman) the following year and then The Vixen Jenny Ryan in 2015.

Ennis became the first new Chaser for over five years and, by doing so, joined elite trivia royalty.

The hugely-successful show, hosted by Bradley Walsh, is a three-time National Television Awards winner.

It attracts a regular audience of between three to five million, making it one of ITV’s most successful daytime shows ever.

But where did Ennis’ and his fellow Chasers’ brilliant intimidating nicknames originate from?

Well, host Walsh has had a big hand in that department!

Shaun Wallace – The Dark Destroyer

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Also known as The Barrister, Wallace is one of two original chasers who started on the show in 2009.

The brainy quiz ace won Mastermind in 2004 and is a qualified barrister who has worked on a number of high-profile cases.

His good pal Walsh came up with his nickname, originating from how his intelligence destroys people.

But his nickname has drawn criticism from some quarters with Wallace stressing there was no malice or offence behind it.

“Bradley started to call me the Dark Destroyer,” revealed Wallace. “Britain may be less PC, but I am proud to be black.”

Mark Labbett – The Beast

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Wrongly, people assumed Labbett got his nickname because of his towering 6ft 7in height and imposing frame.

But it has come to light that it came from how the former Masters teacher intimidates contestants when he interacts with them on the show with his beast-like temper.

Fellow Chaser Paul Sinha joked: “He scares the bejesus out of the contestants, so we call him The Beast.”

Labbett has famously stormed off set having been out-smarted by winning contestants.

Anne Hegerty – The Governess

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The quiz boffin was originally going to be called The Headmistress, but wanted The Governess because it sounded “more kinky”.

Walsh started called it her during rehearsals and the name stuck.

Hegerty revealed: “I said to producers ‘Could I be that instead?’ What I meant was that the headmistress can’t do everything she wants, but a governess is a free agent.”

Walsh also calls Hegerty Frosty Knickers because of her cold demeanour with contestants.

Paul Sinha – The Sinnerman

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A fully qualified doctor who trained at St George’s Hospital in London – and a part-time stand-up comedian – it was suggested Sinha had a nickname linked to his professions.

But his name is just a clever play on his surname.

Host Walsh likes to call him The Smiling Assassin and Sarcasm in a Suit for the way he responds with humour.

Jenny Ryan – The Vixen

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The flame-haired Chaser was originally going to be called The Cougar, but ITV bosses pulled the plug on that suggestion because of the sexual connotations.

Ryan revealed: “They suggested ‘The Cougar’ and I said, ‘no, because I’m too young to be cougar!”

Walsh, again, came to the rescue with a much-improved alternative.

“Brad came up with ‘The Vixen’, because of the red hair, it looks like a fox’s brush.”

Also knows as ‘The Bolton Braniac’ Ryan was no stranger to the show having written questions for the pilot episode.

She was also part of the winning team on BBC Two’s Only Connect, competed in Celebrity Masterchef in 2019 and proved to be a capable singer on The X Factor: Celebrity, reaching the final.

The Menace – Darragh Ennis

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Irishman Ennis is famously the first chaser who was previously a contestant. He took part in the show in 2017.

His name is quite simple to understand, it rhymes and is also a link to Beano character Dennis The Menace.

But ITV producers were originally going to call him The Professor. He also known as The Dublin Dynamo and D. Ennis, in a nod to his own name.

“They didn’t tell me my name until I was on set,” revealed Ennis, a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University.

“I was on stage, waiting to go on and that was the first time I heard.

“They did say that they wanted to call me the Professor originally, but I work at a university in Oxford and that’s a title you really have to earn.

“I think people would be very annoyed if I started called myself the Professor."

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