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The Chaser comes to Bucks village
A DOCTOR, a comedian and a Chaser on the ITV quiz show, Paul Sinha is a man of many talents. And he is looking forward to starting his solo comedy tour this month at a Bucks village.
The Chase, hosted by Bradley Walsh, on ITV every weekday at 5pm sees contestants battle it out against one of four brainy quizmasters.
Paul Sinha is one of these, having been with the show for two, years. Interestingly he is also a comedian.
He said: "People know me as one of the quizmasters on ITV's The Chase.
"But I also have a fairly long history on the comedy circuit, which they may not be aware of.
"It [his new show] is the greatest hits of new stuff from the last five or six years. I think I have earned the right to a national tour."
In 2006 he was an if.comedy nominee at the Edinburgh Festival. He has toured the world since including Beijing, Singapore, Madrid, Amsterdam, Munich and more. But it was 18 years ago when he had his first comedy gig.
Paul said: "I have to say in the first four or five years I was around I didn't do many gigs. I made no more than £100 in total. My total earnings would have been somewhere in that area.
"I was a full time hospital doctor at the time. I didn't have the time and so it was just a diverting entertaining hobby and no more than that."
In 1999 a five minute slot came up at The Comedy Store in London. He was due to perform in eight months there.
When the slot came up he had a call from the club, while he was on call in hospital.
He said: "The gig went really well to my amazement. An agent swooped from the darkness and said I would really like to represent you."
Paul qualified as a GP in 2000 and was a locum for about seven year afterwards. In 2007 he gave up his medicine career to pursue comedy.
He said: "I was very cautious. I was in a financially stable job. Only after two years at Edinburgh Fringe I decided I could make the break.
"I never wanted to become a bad doctor, which I would have inevitably become if I carried on doing both."
And it was comedy which really appealed to him.
He said: "It was always a job I enjoyed more. Even the bad gigs didn't feel too bad the next day. A live set of comedy is very exciting and satisfying."
A lot of his stories are inspired from his every day life, and he is not one for writing his gigs down.
Paul said: "The best way to prepare is to not be exhausted. I will get to Amersham [The Potters Arms] about 2 or 3pm, lie down in bed and have a rest.
"It is the best way to prepare. A lot of comedians, say have to be up north for 7.30pm. They often get there at 7.20pm.
"They have just been driving for five hours and are too exhausted."
But it is The Chase which has propelled him into the spotlight and sees him competing to stop contestants winning the prize money, by answering as many correct answers as possible.
He said: "It is like being a Z-list celebrity. It is a funny kind of celebrity. Sometimes I can go a hole week without anyone recognising me, and other times I can walk into a pub and everyone knows me."
At the end of the show it is the Final Chase, where multiple answer questions have gone and it's one question after the other.
Paul said: "It is quite stressful. At the end of the game, if you win, you breathe a sigh of relief.
"I feel terrible if I lose."
There are three other Chasers called Mark Labbett, Anne Hegerty, Shaun Wallace.
He said: "It is surprisingly uncompetitive between the Chasers. We all have good runs and bad runs.
"You think it would be competitive. "The contestants are all very different teams- you can't compare. We are supportive of each other.
The Chasers are well known for putting down their contestants, but Paul less so.
He said: "I am reasonably well known as not being as nasty. I find it hard to be the pantomime villain. If they get back they get back. It is not up to me. "I only really have a go at them if they get too cocky."
He got involved in competitive quizzing in 2008. He later played Mark, Shaun, Anne and CJ de Mooi (from The Eggheads) in a national quiz, who called themselves The D Listers . His team beat them in the competition.
When ITV said they wanted another Chaser, and the other chasers let Paul know, who sent an email in. He auditioned and got the job.
He started as a Chaser in September 2011. He said: "I didn't realised that gig would change my life at the time I was playing against them."
He was Captain of his Junior School Team and at Senior School. When he was at medical school he played pub quiz machines and supplemented his student loan.
Paul said of Bradley Walsh who hosts The Chase: "I think he is fantastic. He has got this common touch with contestants which means it doesn't matter who they are he will make them fell at home. I really do think he is absolutely brilliant.
"One of the best in the business. I don't think the show would survive without him. I can't imagine anyone really taking his place or being as good as he is. We keep hoping his career will go nowhere."
Paul Sinha is at The Potters Arms in Winchmore Hill on September 26 and 27 at 8pm. Tickets are £15, which includes interval food. Call Richard on 01494 726222 to book.
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