THE Chase is one of our most popular quiz shows, winning a slew of awards since it first aired in 2009.
Having been a fan of the show for years, last month, I was lucky enough to be invited along to watch host Bradley Walsh and The Chasers record one of two Christmas Specials.
The theme for Christmas Day's episode is Alice in Wonderland, with five of the six Chasers dressing up as characters from the famous children's book.
Here's everything you need to know about what goes into recording The Chase, as well as some handy do's and don't's if you ever get the chance to be in the audience.
It's all about timing
I arrived at 11 so I had chance to chat with some of the Chasers before recording started.
But surprisingly, I wasn't the first to turn up, as some die hard fans had been there since 9am to be at the front of the queue and make sure they got in.
The Christmas Special was recorded at Elstree Studios but is filmed elsewhere at other times, and Anne Hegerty revealed that mid-November was actually later than usual to be recording the festive episodes.
Audience-members were let inside around 2pm for a hot drink before heading into the studio for filming to start at 3pm. There was a second recording taking place after ours.
What a set up
After my chat with the Chasers, I was shown into the studio, which had been transformed with a huge Christmas tree and decorations to reflect the Alice in Wonderland theme.
The table where the head to head is carried out is a lot bigger than I thought, while the Chasers' chair at the top doesn't look that comfy if I'm honest!
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Standing on the spot where a contestant answers their questions in the quick fire round felt intense, even without Bradley, an audience or the cameras rolling so I can forgive any player who has a mind blank that's for sure!
The show only has an audience for the special episodes, with three rows of VIP seats on the studio floor before everyone else sits up in the bleachers slighter further back.
One thing audience members can't see is Bradley's little area behind the Chase board.
The host has a seat and a table next to it, and on top…a bowl of sweets. More on that later!
So many questions
After looking at the main set, I was taken to the production area with all the control boards, screens and possibly the most important of all, the question setters.
Three people are in charge of different aspects of the questions posed on The Chase.
The show gets through 120 questions a day, and to make sure they don't repeat a question, they have a database for them all, all 396,000 of them.
Each question is written, checked and then independently verified before its put to a contestant and a Chaser.
Meanwhile a lady called Liz forward checks questions in case a Chaser gives facts about one question that could impact future questions lined up on the episode.
One of the highest pressure jobs is to be in charge of the timings for the different rounds and head to heads, as well as lighting the questions up in time.
It takes the team a week to edit one episode.
Such a sweetie
As previously mentioned, Bradley likes sweets and despite having a selection behind the scenes, he also wants to seek out any the audience members might have with them.
In between rounds and camera resets, the 62-year-old headed out into the audience and posed for pictures, as well as signing one superfan's T-shirt emblazoned with his face.
But during his walkabouts, he was mainly looking for a sweet treat or two and made a beeline towards someone who said they had Fruit Pastels.
He was slightly disappointed to find they were a supermarket own brand but helped himself nonetheless. However, if you get to be in the audience any time, bring the branded ones and you could be in with a great chance of seeing Bradders up close.
Lights, camera, action
While The Chase episodes are an hour long, they take double that to film.
In between contestants there's make-up retouches, and Bradley's podium for his questions has to be brought on and off each time.
Bradley also has to re-record some of the questions for the audio to be picked up clearly.
One important thing to note if you're ever in the audience is not to whisper the answer to a question to your neighbour.
We were warned not to do it because the sound still carries, and indeed at one point, one of The Chasers flagged that they had heard an answer to one of the questions from the audience.
It meant the question had to be changed which was a shame as it turned out the celeb would have known the answer to the original question but the Chaser wouldn't have.
Filming wrapped just after 5pm and while the audience all filed out and headed home, Bradley, The Chasers and the crew were preparing to do it all over again for the second Christmas Special being recorded that evening.
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After a fun day behind-the-scenes, I can't wait to watch the finished episode this Christmas.
The Chase Christmas Special airs at 5pm on Christmas Day on ITV1.
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