Since it began airing in 2009, the ITV game show, The Chase, has garnered a huge following. Now a decade old and running, the show has given us what is arguably one of the best chasers in its history. Affectionately labeled “The Beast” English TV personality, Mark Labbett has continued to win hearts across the United States for his imposing size, glaring intelligence, and his quick wittiness. Making him a perfect foil for the contestants on the show.
After several wins from the quiz machines back in the 1990s, Labette left his teaching vocation and since that time, has never looked back. So far, he has appeared in several television quiz shows and is a regular in quizzing competitions such as the U.S. and Australian versions of The Chase.
A Look at His Background
Just before we give you an inside look at Labett’s weight loss journey and career, let’s go down memory lane to his early days. The Chase star was born—Mark Andrew Labbett—on August 15, 1965, in Tiverton, Devon, England, to parents to Carolyn and Jon Labbett. As the oldest of three children, Labbett spent the greater part of his childhood in Tiverton with his younger brothers, Paul and Philip.
He attended Exeter College, Oxford where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in mathematics. He also obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in secondary education and legal CPE (Common Professional Examination) and LPC (Legal Practice Course) qualifications from the University of Exeter and the University of South Wales (formerly the University of Glamorgan) respectively.
How Mark Labbett Became Famous
- School Teacher
Prior to his participation in The Chase as a star quizzer, he was a secondary school teacher. He taught in South Wales’ Caldicot Comprehensive and worked as a supply teacher in Maths and physical education at Cove School in Farnborough.
As a teacher, Mark Labbett also worked at Butlins holiday camp and supplemented his income with winnings from the quiz machines. With regular wins, Mark became interested in quizzing and decided to take a plunge. He started appearing in TV game and quiz shows in the late 1990s, becoming a regular in quizzing competitions and TV quiz shows. In 1999 and 2000, he was on the British game show, Mastermind where his special subjects were the Olympics and The Simpsons respectively.
- The Big Win
Since then, he has appeared and contested in numerous shows including Countdown (2000), Grand Slam (2003), the Channel 5 show Brain Teaser where he won $500 in 2004. In 2005, he won a whopping £1,500 on BBC One’s SUDO-Q and has not slowed down a bit.
One of Labbett’s high moments came in 2005. That year he participated in the live version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Millionaire Live and won the prize money of £32,000. He later made appearances in The National Lottery People’s Quiz (2007) where he finished in second place, University Challenge, Are You an Egghead? (2008), Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (2016), and Celebrity Juice (2017).
- Mark Labbett’s Other Feats
Asides individual performances and victories on the numerous shows Labbett has contested in, he has also racked in wins with others either as part of a team or a leader. In April 2001, he competed and won a weekend in Paris along with his pub team in Jumbo Quiz. That year, he led the Welsh quiz team in 2006 to the European Quizzing Championships where they finished in the fifth place. And in 2009, his team, the Rugby Boys won Only Connect, a BBC Four’s game show.
Mark Labbett has garnered worldwide prominence for simply being a genius and as such was nicknamed the Brain Box. He has also received several mentions and accolades such as ranking 17th top quizzer in the country in 2007 and 5 years later, the 81st in the World Quizzing Championships. However, the sun was only rising for the quizzer.
- The Chase
Fame came calling in 2009 when he first appeared on the ITV game show The Chase (hosted by Bradley Walsh) as a Chaser (i.e. a quiz show master). He has since appeared on the U.S. version of the show from 2013 to 2015 and has been one of the five chasers on the Australian version of the show since 2016.
Viewers consider Mark Labbett as a beast on the show as his quick wittiness and tricks are geared to keep them from the prize. But isn’t that why he is on the show as a chaser? To prevent contestants from winning a cash prize. Plus, as a teacher for 15 years, Labbett knows how to treat a badly behaved student thus, his nice display on the show could be attributed to his classroom days.
Asides The Chase, Labbett also participated in another ITV series titled Sugar Free Farm in 2016. On the show (which involves celebrities taking on a sugar-free diet), he revealed he has false top teeth from consuming too much sugar. A big fan of pro wrestling, Mark became a producer for Hull-based wrestling promotion, New Generation Wrestling (NGW), in 2016. Away from his on-screen life, let’s reveal more details about Mark Labbett — the husband and father.
Who is His Wife and Do They Have Children?
Mark Labbett has been married to Katie since October 2014. As per the records, Katie is his second cousin; a fact the duo said they were unaware of when they first met. They tied the knot at Arundel Cathedral, West Sussex, England in October 2014.
Katie who is 27 years his junior works as an artist and illustrator. Together, they have a son whose name they haven’t revealed to the public yet. As of 2019, it was reported that the couple experienced a brief split but had to reconcile because of their son. They live in Moorgate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Mark Labbett’s Height and His Weight Loss,
Mark Labbett’s weight loss journey all started when he fell into a mini-crisis in 2017. That year, the quizzer had been diagnosed with diabetes. What followed were lifestyle changes that saw him lose a considerable amount of weight. With the help of his wife, Katie, he made wise choices about his diet and began hitting the gym.
In six months, he reportedly lost four inches from his chest and six inches off his belly. The Beast was elated at the result such that he took to Twitter to gush about his impressive weight loss in February 2018. As of this writing, he stands 6 feet 6 inches (2.01 meters) and weighs 380 lbs (172 kg).