It’s 5pm. You’ve just taken the dog for a walk, mum (or dad because equality) is popping dinner on, it’s time for a quiz show. On the BBC you have Pointless, and on ITV (or STV for us Scots) there’s The Chase. Both very different yet comparable quiz shows to rattle your brain. I’m going to answer the dreaded question plaguing pre-news television, which show is better?
Pointless has, arguably, one of the more interesting concepts for any quiz show. Prior to the show they survey 100 people and ask them questions such as ‘Name a country that shares a border with land and sea’. The contestants (4 couples) then have to answer the question whilst trying to pick an obscure answer to get the lowest score. The aim of the game is to get the smallest score possible, with the goal of it being pointless (nobody said the answer). If your answer is wrong, you get the maximum amount of points (which is 100). To win the game, you have to get through each round until you reach the final and then try and find a pointless answer. You get 3 tries to find this answer, and if you fail then the winning money will move through to the following day’s show. I’ve seen the grand winnings reach over £15,000 as getting a pointless answer is hard. They add an extra £1000 every day AND £250 is added if anyone playing gets a pointless answer throughout the show. Not only does it test your knowledge, but it tests your obscure knowledge and really gets you brain thinking.
The Chase couldn’t be more different. Contestants are in a team of 4, but work individually throughout the majority of the game. Each contestant takes part in a ‘cash builder’ round where they answer as many quickfire questions they can within 1 minute, each right answer is worth £1000. Then they meet the chaser, who changes depending on the episode. There are 5 chasers, who are all extremely intelligent and almost always get every question correct. The chaser offers the player a low, current (what they received in the cash builder) or high offer on the board. If the contestant takes the high offer, they will have to get more questions right in order to secure the money, if they take the low offer they have more opportunities to get answers wrong. The contestant and the chaser then answer a series of questions, if the contestant gets ‘caught’ by the chaser (they get too many questions wrong) they lose the money and are eliminated. If they make it to the end of the board, the money is put into the groups bank and they return back to the group, all 4 contestants go through the same process. At the end of the show, the surviving contestants have another 2-minute long quickfire round and aim to get more answers right than the chaser, if they win they keep the money but if they lose they go home empty handed.
Concept- Pointless wins. It’s more challenging, unique, and the categories are often fun
Pointless has Alexander Armstrong as the ‘quizmaster’ so to speak and Richard Osmon as the brains behind it all. Arguably, these two are the best duo on British television. Not only are they both intelligent, but they are hilarious and have good ‘banter’ (weep) with each other and the contestants.
The Chase has Bradley Walsh as its host, despite a couple of internet memes, he lacks the natural charisma that Richard and Alexander have. He’s often relatively judgemental when it comes to the contestants and sometimes struggles to carry a joke. Obviously this could be due to other factors (such as a lack of studio audience), however, he’s just not got the flair.
Hosts- Pointless all the way
The questions on The Chase are probably more of ‘pub quiz’ than serious quiz. Every question is from a different category and, arguably, the questions are easier than its BBC’s counterpart. During the cash builder and the final chase the questions are quickfire, whereas for the main ‘chase’ they are multiple choice (which is ALWAYS easier let’s face it). However, the chasers hardly ever get a question wrong, so you have to get every multiple choice correct with no help.
Pointless definitely focuses on more niche knowledge and often features anagrams and photos which can be difficult to get if you are shit at either of these. However, you are in teams, so for the majority of the show you have two brains working together. As questions go, Pointless is way harder than The Chase- you would need to work on your geography, history, and film knowledge before going on.
Level of Difficulty- Pointless is harder
Easier to win
You have more chance of winning Pointless than you do The Chase. Although you may have more people in your team when trying to beat the chasers, I’ve rarely seen anybody walk home with the prize fund. However, on Pointless if you get a good category in the final round you could easily be walking home with the money. Not only do you have to work with strangers on the Chase, but you work individually for the majority of the show, on Pointless you only work individually for one round. Saying this, if you do win The Chase you will probably win more than you would on Pointless, however you are more likely to win Pointless so it’s a bit complicated.
Easier to win- Pointless
Don’t @ me for this, but the majority of BBC contestants seem to be more intelligent than their ITV counterparts. Whether this is a government conspiracy or just luck is unknown, but the hypothesis is clear when comparing Pointless and The Chase. Let’s face it, the majority of contestants on Pointless are well-educated, white, middle-class Tories. Although their answers may be more intellectual (apart from the gal who said Paris was a country ending with a vowel), this doesn’t make them entertaining. The Chase seems to have a more wide-range group of contestants from all walks of life.
Contestants- The Chase
In conclusion, Pointless is better than The Chase. The questions are more interesting, hosts are funnier, and you have a better chance of winning. Although, if you do win, you are almost guaranteed to win big bucks on The Chase, working with strangers often fails and having to split your money with somebody who only got through to the final by taking the low offer is enough to not show up to your episode taping at all.