ITV’s Mark Labbett The Chase has been turned down for a job with Ant and Dec ahead of the ITV quiz

He’s best known for his beastly persona on The Chase, but Mark Labbett was almost on another show. It was revealed that he was turned down for a quiz show hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

Mark, or The Beast as he is known to fans of the Bradley Walsh-led ITV show, auditioned for duo Geordie’s PokerFace, which saw the contestants try to bluff to win £1million and aired for 14 episodes between 2006 and 2007.

The 56-year-old TV star had auditioned to be a cast member on the show, which also aired on ITV, but bosses deemed him “too cocky” and feared viewers wouldn’t like him.

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Recalling his audition, TV entertainment executive producer Sue Allison said on the TV Show and Tell podcast: “I remember – I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this – thinking at the time: ‘ Oh, he’s way too arrogant to be on PokerFace. What if he wins? Nobody wants him to win a million pounds!'”

However, Mark came back to Sue’s mind when they cast Chasers for The Chase. “His name came up for that and they were like, ‘Oh, it was that guy. He was brilliant. It’s actually perfect for him,'” she said.

“I still have his audition tape somewhere. He walked in, in this huge coat that reached almost to the ground. He looked like Hagrid or something. He was huge, just huge! I don’t remember not exactly what it says but it was something like ‘They call me The Beast,'” Sue recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, don’t bother staying for the auditions – you’re in!'”



Mark with his fellow Chasers

After that, Mark filmed the pilot series of The Chase alongside Shaun Wallace, aka The Dark Destroyer, and the pair were hired alongside Ann Hegerty, who wrote a letter to show bosses Jenny Ryan and Paul Sinha. The group has since been joined by contestant-turned-Chaser Darragh Ennis.

While he may not have gotten the job with Ant and Dec, Mark’s pre-The Chase TV appearances are quite extensive. n In 1999, he made his first screen appearance in Mastermind answering questions about the Olympic Games.

Fast forward a year and he was back, this time tackling the specialist subject – the cartoon series The Simpsons. He also played on Countdown, but narrowly lost his first match during a crucial puzzle. An appearance on BrainTeaser, Face Off, SUDO-Q and Millionaire Live – where he pocketed £32,000 – also followed.

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