THE DESTROYER: Shaun Wallace is a TV star and practising barrister
Shaun Wallace is a barrister, lecturer and television personality, one of the six ‘Chasers’ in the ITV quiz shows ‘The Chase’ and soon ‘Beat the Chasers’.
As part of his educational work, he visits schools, colleges and other institutions, including prisons, to talk about his life and the challenges he has faced.
TV TYRANTS: ITV’s Chasers with the show’s host Bradley Walsh. Photo: ITV
Despite having a legal career of over 35 years, as well as a television quiz career which famously saw him win Mastermind in 2004, and rank 286th in the World Quizzing Championships in 2012, Shaun stressed that he had encountered challenges in his life but had overcome them with hard work.
“I was clever but I had to work hard at school. It took me four tries to pass my A-level English”
“I was clever but I had to work hard at school,” he told the Times. “It took me four tries to pass my A-level English.”
And this is the message he takes with him when speaking to young people.
“I want people to understand that. The challenges I’ve faced are one of the reasons I like to talk to young people. Life is not going to be easy. But they are the guardians of tomorrow. I could be talking to the next Mastermind champion, or a Nobel laureate.”
Having come down from his home in Wembley to Benenden School on the afternoon the Times spoke to him, Shaun was due to dine with some of the school’s law pupils, then do the mock ‘Chaser’ quiz before leaving to get back for yet another quiz the same night.
“I do two quiz nights on Tuesday, with Paul Sinha, and I’m the host of a quiz on Wednesday and on a Monday, and I used to host one on a Thursday,” he explained.
Yet his law career remains at the centre of his life.
“I still practise as a barrister. I do cases which I like, rather than ‘as and when’. My bar career is more important than my TV career”
“I still practise as a barrister. I do cases which I like, rather than ‘as and when’. My bar career is more important than my TV career. I am a criminal defence lawyer.”
And he slammed reductions in funding for hitting access to law in criminal and family law cases by making legal aid cases unprofitable.
“I never went into this for profit. A good lawyer always puts clients first.
“I remain a committed legal aid lawyer,” he stated.
In the same vein, he continues his outreach talks year round, revealing that he is also due to visit Kent’s Swaleside Prison at the end of March.
HOT SEAT: Shaun as he appears on the show
And Shaun demonstrated some of his will to win on behalf of his clients when asked by the Times whether he was going to win or lose against the Benenden girls that evening.
“I am determined to win, and if so it will be ‘just another day in the office’,” he quipped, deploying one of his catchphrases from ‘The Chase’.
What if he lost, though?
“I don’t contemplate losing,” he replied.
Contacted the day after the event, Benenden School revealed that the Chaser had indeed seized his victory.
Following the after-dinner discussion, Shaun faced a team of Benenden sixth formers in a quick-fire quiz round similar to that of the final round in ‘The Chase’.
Samantha Price, Headmistress of Benenden School, said: “We are very grateful to Shaun for coming to Benenden and spending an evening with us, and so, too, are our students – even if he did beat them in the quiz!”