Who Is Mark Labbett, the ‘Beast’ Joining ‘The Chase’ in Season 2?
The newest promos for The Chase are revealing to fans that there’s a new “titan of trivia” entering the arena in Season 2 of the ABC game show. British know-it-all Mark Labbett is the quiz’s new “chaser,” joining Jeopardy! “Greatest of All Time” alums Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer.
And though Labbett might not have the same name recognition as his new costars here in the United States, there’s a reason they call him “the Beast” overseas.
Between the U.K. version of The Chase (which has aired on ITV since 2009), the Australian version (which has aired on Seven Network since 2015), and the prior American version (which aired on GSN between 2013 and 2015), Labbett has appeared in more than 700 episodes of the format, according to his IMDb.
And, as we previously reported, Labbett actually duked it out with Holzhauer in a 2014 episode of GSN’s The Chase. Labbett told The Atlantic in 2019 that Holzhauer gave him the “worst beating” he had ever had.
“I’ve got to give Jeopardy! immense credit, and [GSN’s] The Chase” Labbett added at the time. “In Britain or Australia, James would not have made it onto television, because he’s just too damn good. They would never have him on.”
While praising Holzhauer, though, Labbett also revealed his own trivia routine. Before his days as a father, Labbett spent anywhere from 30 to 70 hours a week studying, whether that meant reading random Wikipedia pages, combing through reference books, or just watching TV to memorize the minutiae of the moment. Labbett has also had a lot of formal education. On his website, he explains that he studied mathematics at Oxford University, secondary education at Exeter University, and law at the University of Glamorgan, and he spent 15 years working as a secondary teacher.
He told The Guardian in 2012 that he caught the trivia bug while doing holiday work at Butlins resorts. “I discovered the quiz machines in the bar,” he said. “I really enjoyed playing, and it was also lucrative. At the beginning of the week, I banked my £55 wage, except for £3 or £4 which I played on the machines. By the end of the week, I’d have £200 in coins.”
— Mark Labbett (@MarkLabbett) May 19, 2021
Labbett’s onscreen trivia career started in the 2000s. In 2005, he came in second place on BBC1’s Sudo-Q and Radio Four’s Brain of Britain. In 2006, he landed a £32,000 payday on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And in 2007, he came in second place in The People’s Quiz, narrowly missing the £200,000 prize. (“I, as runner-up, got a hearty handshake. Occasionally a day goes by and I don’t think about that,” he quips on his website.)
Now, having shown his expertise across hundreds of Chase episodes, he’s joining Holzhauer, Jennings, and Rutter in the American version’s second season, which kicks off on ABC on Sunday, June 6. “Finished taping Season 2 of The Chase,” he tweeted earlier this month. “We made a few good shows and a lot of great shows. Hope you like them.”
The Chase, Season 2 Premiere, Sunday, June 6, 9/8c, ABC