A team of four contestants individually attempt to amass as much money as possible, which is later added to a prize fund if the contestant survives his or her individual chase. The chaser's job is to catch each contestant during their individual chase, eliminating that person from the game and preventing the money from being added to the collective prize fund. Any contestants who survive their individual chase later play collectively as a team for an equal share of the prize fund against the chaser.
With a regular audience of three to five million, The Chase is one of ITV's most successful daytime shows ever. It has been nominated four times for "Best Daytime Show" at the National Television Awards, winning in 2016 and 2017. It has also become a successful international franchise: regional versions have been made in Australia, China, Croatia, Germany, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Israel and the United States. Labbett and Hegerty both feature as chasers on the Australian version, with the former also featuring as the sole chaser on the now defunct American version.
Each contestant comes up one at a time and attempts to build up the team's prize fund through two rounds. The first round, known as the "Cash Builder", sees each make an individual cash pot by answering as many questions as the contestant can within one minute, with each correct answer being worth 1,000. After completing the Cash Builder, the contestant enters the "Head-to-Head" round, in which the contesant attempts to bring the money that he or she earned to the bottom of a seven-step money board (referred to as "home"); in the first series, the board was eight steps long. Before the round begins, the money is placed three steps down from the top of the board, and the contestant is given the choice of either starting at that position, beginning one step closer to home or being one step closer to the chaser.
Should the contestant elect to stay where he or she is currently, he or she must answer five questions correctly in order to bank the money into the prize fund. However, should the contestant decide to change position, the chaser offers them a different amount of money depending on the change. If the contestant moves closer to the chaser, the contestant must answer six questions correctly, but can earn a larger amount of cash. If the contestant moves closer to home, the contestant need only answer four questions correctly, but the cash offer is lower. In some cases (especially in the second half of the individual rounds, or for contestants who do poorly in the Cash Builder round), the lower offer may be zero, meaning the contestant only earns a place in the Final Chase, or even negative, which means the contestants lose money if the player makes it home.
Once the contestant chooses a starting position, he or she then begins the Head-to-Head in which both the contestant and the chaser are given the same multiple-choice questions; each question has three answer choices. To answer, each must secretly press one of the three buttons on their keypad in order to lock in their answer, which then gives their opponent only five seconds to lock in an answer or be locked out. For each correct answer made by the contestant and the chaser, he or she moves one step down the board, while an incorrect answer forces the contestant to stay where he or she is currently.
In order to win the round and have a place in the final round of the contest (known as the "Final Chase"), each contestant must move down the board towards the bottom (known as "getting home"), in order to bank the money chosen to go for based on the starting position he or she elected to take. The chaser's job in this round is to catch them ("close the gap") by moving closer to them and eventually move onto the step that the contestant currently occupies; if the chaser manages to do this, then the contestant is "caught" and is eliminated from the contest with the money removed from the board.
If all four contestants are caught by the chaser, the team nominates one contestant to proceed to the Final Chase for a prize fund of 4,000.