Beat The Chasers star Jenny Ryan says the show caught its celebrity contestants off guard, despite them having competed at the Olympics and performed on some of the UK’s biggest stages.
Comedians Joe Pasquale and Katherine Ryan, presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, former sprinter Christine Ohuruogu and soap star Shaun Williamson feature in the special, which airs on Saturday night on ITV.
The quiz show, a prime-time spin-off of The Chase, will see them compete against multiple Chasers for increasing amounts of money, but with a decreasing time advantage against them.
Professional quizzer Ryan, dubbed The Vixen, was surprised by how nervous the stars had been.
She said: “I would say that the celebs were definitely more nervous than they anticipated.
“A lot of them are used to very high-pressure environments, from live TV and stage performance to Olympic finals, and it’s safe to say the Beat The Chasers studio caught them all off guard.
“It’s a very intense environment and I don’t think everybody was expecting the stress level. It was fascinating to see how different celebs dealt with the situation.”
Ryan said the stars were “a bit more circumspect” when it came to risking their potential winnings, because of what even the lower amounts could mean for their chosen charities.
“A lot of contestants will get tempted into going too high because they are dazzled by the bigger cash offers, but I was impressed that the celebs took it so seriously and wanted to take something back for their charities rather than risk it all,” she added.
Darragh Ennis, who joined as a Chaser in 2020 after appearing on the show, was pleased the celebrities were intimidated by his fellow professional quizzers.
He said: “That some of them find performing in front of thousands of people in theatres or stadiums less threatening than us was very unexpected, I guess it’s a kind of compliment.
“But some of them were quite at ease and were very determined to win money for their charities.”
Beat The Chasers – Celebrity Special airs on Saturday March 27 at 8.30pm on ITV.