We spoke to the Durham Grad who was on The Chase

‘The internet can be a merciless place’

A recent Durham History graduate, Tom Harper, appeared earlier this month on the much loved ITV show, ‘The Chase’.

Tom, as well as two of his other teammates, made it to the final round against ‘The Vixen’, with a jackpot of £17,000, and 19 steps away from the Chaser. Tom had brought £3,000 to the table. 

Sadly, the Chaser beat them with just 27 seconds remaining. The episode aired on Wednesday 15 November and is available on ITV Player until 15 December if you’d like to catch up with his antics.

Tom spoke to The Tab about his experiences.

What made you decide to go on the Chase?

I’ve been watching the show for years with my family, and having applied for game shows in the past, the thought of me being on the other side of the screen whilst my family yelled the (obviously correct) answers seemed too hilarious to pass on.

I was having a catch-up with a good friend when I actually applied; we filled out the written application form as a bit of a laugh and then things escalated from there.

How hard was it to get on the actual show?

Ironically, the process of getting onto the show was very similar to the process of getting the sort of jobs that I’m currently applying for… it started with an online written application detailing why you would be good for the show.

After that, it took a few months for ITV to get back to me. I had completely forgotten about it when I received a call at 8 o’clock in the morning asking if I would be willing to answer some quick-fire general knowledge questions to see if they wanted to call me to an interview!

I then went to Newcastle to be pitted against other applicants as part of an assessment day. I was by far the youngest person there, but they were looking for a broad spread of people, so I was able to use that to my advantage.

A few interviews, tests and group assessments later, and I found out that I would be on the show. Essentially, it was a very thorough process, but genuinely quite fun and anyone could get through it.

What was the Vixen like?

When I arrived at the studio I was expecting to get to meet the Chaser beforehand so as to ‘humanise’ them and make you feel relaxed… nope. It turns out when they first appear on the table, standing high above you and sneering down at your inferior quizzing knowledge, that is the first time that you meet them. Needless to say, she was quite intimidating. Luckily her chat wasn’t so intimidating. THAT I could deal with.

How hard did you study for the questions?

*Sweats nervously* Study? For general knowledge? Uhhhh… pass? At the end of the day, I just kept on top of the news and did a fair number of online/pub quizzes. It’s not easy to revise literally everything.

Were you the best out of your teammates?

… Did you watch the episode? No. No I was not. Being the youngest definitely helped me on some questions, but when you’re rubbing shoulders with people who have several years on you, it’s very difficult to trump them on general knowledge.

Fortunately, I was by far the best in terms of being expressive. I never realised my face, head and shoulders could stretch and deform into so many different shapes when responding to pretty much anything.

Did you enjoy the experience?

I loved it. It was really fun meeting Bradley, seeing the studio and getting to be an actual contestant on the show. Also hair and makeup treat you like royalty, which was pretty cool.

What was perhaps less… enjoyable… was the tidal wave of banter and captioned screenshots on the evening that it was aired. The internet can be a merciless place, especially when you have mates who relish turning someone into a temporary meme.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely. It’s a great thing to tick off the bucket-list, and you get the chance to win quite a lot of money. Why wouldn’t you?