I won the Chase, and Ruth Langsford tweeted about me!

I was on The Chase last Thursday (7th January) in the first big win of the year This was filmed last June, so I could watch myself on TV and read the live Twitter feed for #thechase. I wasn't in the habit of reading this, but it being my only probable appearance on TV (except for a 10 second shot of me in Songs of Praise) I was indulging in a deep case of curiosity.
On the Chase I introduced myself as "Jo, a learning mentor, aged 47 from Liverpool!" (you have to sound excited on the introduction, the production team insist you are, and make you film again if you aren't) And Twitter started.

C W North West, England
Jo advising Andy goes high what's the betting she goes for a minus offer - she looks the type #thechase

Steph is leading me to believe she's gonna be a LOW f******d #thechase

Cancel that last tweet, I meant Jo! #thechase

Jo is already talking about going low #TheChase

I'm predicting a thief up next! #thechase

Jo looks a BIG lass... #thechase

Got that horrible feeling Jo is going to be a c**k and go for the lower offer #thechase

seat 4 is defiantly a low offer w****r #thechase

Pamela Retweeted Roger "I'm predicting a thief up next! #thechase"
and added, "I'll second that #thechase"

And all of this before I'd answered a question. There's more (about me getting a Mini and a shoe horn, having a lot under my belt, following the advice of my cats, like I was a fat cat woman) and other comments about me and Steph, the other woman on the Chase. I was laughing my head off, because I knew that they would eat their words. I knew what I was going to do and what the result would be.

After my cashbuilder, I got given the offers; -£1,000, the £7,000 I had earned or £47,000. I knew what I wanted to do; and I knew I could do it, so I 'went large'. £47,000. Safely home, because I have a brain in my head and a good memory for Trivia. Give them their due, Twitter changed the tune after that.

Wow didn't see that coming from her...go Jo #thechase

I though Jo was going to go low. Good luck girl! #TheChase

Well I'm fucked, I take it all back! #thechase

thechase that told you lot !!

The F
GET IN THERE JO #thechase

Ó hÉ
Go on lad #thechase

l v b
Go on lass #thechase

#thechase lots of apologies coming up!!

Well that's a surprise.......Jo.......£47,000 #thechase

Hohohogogogojo #TheChase

Yes Jo! Someone give this woman a beer and a pat on the head. All or nothing. Absolute pioneer for all women on TV. #TheChase

And, just like that, Twitter had switched. I wasn't fat, or thick or a LOW (low offer w****r) but a Gladiator taking on the Romans, or a David against a Goliath of the quiz world.


#thechase Go Jo!!! Good girl. Good luck

#TheChase Jo brings home £47k well done left Paul well behind

Go on then love! #TheChase

Good lass Jo! #TheChase

And the rest of the Twitter feed was really lovely to read, a blast for me. Including a lovely tweet from Ruth Langsford of Loose Women.
  1. LOVE seeing people win on the Well done tonight's team.....especially Jo who was brilliant! £60,000 wowser! x

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But I thought how sad it was, that it took until I actually showed that I had cahones, or brains or the bravery/stupidity to go for it, before the crowd were prepared to let me be a bright lass. It's like the default position of the majority is that a big girl is thick and a coward. And I hate that. I teach children not to judge people based on looks, but to give everyone a chance. When does that change? Why is society set up to judge women by their looks? Andy (the marvellous Andy McSorley, currently on tour in the Full Monty) didn't get judged on his bulk, it wasn't a big factor in the brains of Stuart, but with Steph and me we both got judged according to our appearance first and had to prove we had the skills. I'd like to stand up for middle aged over-weight women every where and to say; GIVE US A CHANCE. We have more skills, sense and ability than it might appear at first.

I know this is a non-story, because such casual sexism and sizeism is such an everyday event it isn't even remarked on by the victims; it just is what happens in the world. But I wanted to write this post and ask; why does it take proof to overcome the issue? And how many women are silenced because they daren't risk the negative comments? I loved winning the Chase. It gave me a boost of confidence at a time when I needed it. I know now I can set my goals and go for it. I want to go on more TV quiz shows, and to have a successful career in teaching and with my husband's firm. I know you probably live the story and understand completely, but I wanted to speak out to you and to challenge you; could you stand up for brainy women who are judged by their body size and not their IQ or actions?

What actions can we, as women and men who value women, take to make life fairer? Do you have any experiences of times when your looks (good or not) affected how someone perceived you? And how far would you go to stand up against unfair criticism? I wrote nothing on Twitter in reply, because I wanted to see how the reaction would change, but I wonder if it had stayed negative would I have been brave enough to speak out? I hope I would have been, but there is a part of me that whispers that I would have been quiet, because speaking out risks being attacked more. Facing the Chaser was a no-brainer; facing a critical  mass public is a lot harder choice to make.

***And an addition; thank you to everybody who commented on Twitter and this blog, or Facebook or rang me to congratulate the team on their success. We did work well together, and I think we needed to be a team of three at least to stand a chance of success. It was a life changing amount of money; Steph got engaged and got the house she wanted, Andy and his Missus had a lovely baby boy and (I hope) made it to their honeymoon. I haven't got the Mini yet, but we had a blast of  Christmas and we have a fantastic 2016 lined up, with a new office for Peter Kneale Solicitor and other good times ahead!****


  1. I think that you did fantastically!! (hope you got my e-mail) I didn't think anything of your size or anything else other than how cheery you sounded and how great you looked and how brave you were! I don't normally watch this show and I don't suppose I will again, but you were great and obviously knew your stuff! Well done you!!!!! Enjoy it! xx

    1. Thank you! I am sure that people who know me, either in real life or through my blog, wouldn't judge me by my size; it was just the default fast judgement of people en masse that struck me reading the comments on Twitter.

  2. Wow! That is a life-changer, congratulations to you all! I think it's a sad fact of life that women are judged on their appearance and men on their intellect - you've only got to read the papers to see that - but you've also got to wonder whether the people making these comments have any kind of intellect themselves. It says everything about them and nothing at all about you - and if you wanted to stoop to their level, you could just drive past them in your Mini and wave! :-) xx

  3. I hope you will buy that mini soon, you sure deserve it! I caught glimpses of the the show and was mightily impressed by all the knowledge. I'd love you to join my quiz night team. I am not surprised about all the prejudice out there. I don't do much to fight it. I probably should (being of the brainy large variety). I just keep going and lead by good example. My children are horrified by my mums habit to judge people by their clothes, teeth or whatever, so I must be doing ok. Happy 2016!

  4. Congratulations again! Reminds me why I don't use Twitter. I switched the radio off today as the presenters were talking about Angela Merkel's image, and gave my young sons a lecture about not judging people by their appearance. Sadly it us all too common for women to experience this but I'm genuinely shocked at some of the Twitter comments you received. And it just goes to show that trying to judge people in line with your preconceptions and prejudices isn't a very accurate way to assess people anyway! Sorry for ranting but it makes me very cross.

  5. Well Done! I haven't watched it yet, but am so glad you won and in such style as well. Fantastic! Like you I don't give a s**t what people think of me but I'm 48. I feel really sorry for the younger generation though where judging a book by its cover is the norm these days especially if you're female.

    Good luck with the new office, hope it all goes well for you and Peter. xx

  6. Oh Jo I watched that one and was talking to my parents afterwards about how well the girl from Liverpool did (they're both Scousers!) You were brilliant - a very well deserved win indeed!

  7. You were fantastic, we cheered you all the way. I'm the same age as you, a 'big gir' and in a wheelchair, I'm afraid it's sapped my confidence completely, I have a university degree, but no confidence to get back to the workplace even xx

  8. Wow, how fantastic is that! I don't know the show but sounds like you were the one who won for the team. I agree completely with your sentiments and those comments are awful! I have a PhD and went to collect some clothes I'd ordered from Next recently, I rarely use my doctor title but must have put it on my next account. I have an unusual surname and when I asked the assistant for the clothes she said they hadn't arrived, even though I'd received an email to say they had, she said "they are for a Dr 'Surname' and that isn't you." She assumed I couldn't be the doctor, I am in my 50s, I wasn't happy! Enjoy your winnings and well done again, brilliant!
    Caz xx

  9. I never once thought about your size my dear until you brought it up. Fantastic achievement well done x

  10. congratulations you were great. I'd never seen the show before so I had no idea of the strategy, I'm horrified by the twitter chat, and had no idea such things went on, I am sure they are all just jealous because there's no way they would have known all those answers. x

  11. I agree with Christine (Winwick Mum), it says everything about them and nothing about you. Goodness, I'd be horrified if I thought I'd brought up my kids to behave in that way. The more I hear about things that go on or are said on Twitter or Facebook, the more I realise I've made the right decision in staying away from it. You did yourself proud and I'm very proud to say you're my blogging buddy.

  12. There are some sad people out there who don't feel about about themselves and by being mean about others is the way they make themselves feel better.
    I agree with everything Jo said above.
    In the words of Craig you were fab-u-lous- darling.
    Lisa x

  13. Wow, I started reading this post and I just felt really Sad. I can't believe that a group of random strangers can be so awful about someone they have never met. I even feel a little sad that the same people changed their mind just because you went for the higher amount. I must admit I was shouting at you when you did :-) I was Noooooooooooooo. I was so happy when you beat the chaser - I had high hopes when he hesitated for ages over one of his answers but I was biting my nails by the end. So pleased for you that you did it Jo. x

  14. It's me again! Just this minute finished watching The Chase. I knew the outcome but was still on the edge of my seat haha. Loved how specific you were about the mini. Well done again. xx

  15. Wow -- Congratulations!!! I have no idea what The Chase is, as I don't think we get it over here, but I sure wish I could have seen you in action. Good. For. You!!!

  16. Wow, you were amazing Jo! I recorded and watched whilst doing my ironing and thought you came across well, were a great team player and looked fab! And you won!!! Ignore the twits on Twitter. Jolly well done, madam! xx

  17. WOW you incredible lady you! How dare people be so rude about my new friend. I love this post and now feel slightly better about you beating us at the WI quiz last week ;-) x


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