Quiz king loves the thrill of The Chase
VARIOUSLY known as The Beast, The Man Mountain of Maths or The Transatlantic Giant, at six foot six, Mark Labbett is a colossus of the quiz world in both stature and intellect.
In Seven's general knowledge quiz show The Chase Australia contestants race to stay ahead of the quiz genius as he chases them down the board.
APN's The Guide caught up with Labbett to find that behind the imposing competitor lies a lifelong love of learning.
With a number of university qualifications to his name, the former teacher credited his formidable gamesmanship to first-hand learning from some of the best.
"I cheerfully admit that I got a lot of this from playing Australians at rugby and cricket as a youngster - they know how to wind up an opponent... it's an art form," he said.
"I've also studied books on evolutionary psychology and I try to bring some of that to the game. Sometimes it's as simple as I'll deliberately lean really far forward and effectively look at them like they're my lunch and it's dinner time."
Having also appeared in the UK and American versions of the show, Labbett said he started out playing pub quizzes purely for the love of the game.
"I did it because it was fun - this was never a career plan, how could it be?
"I'm always learning... it used to be for its own enjoyment and then who knew? I broke into television in my 40s; that is so rare it's unbelievable and the crazy thing is I wasn't even trying!"
He said anyone could be good at trivia if they put the effort in and he had a few lessons for other aspiring quiz masters.
"If you go along to quizzes, if you read good quality newspapers, if you take an interest in the world around you, then anyone can make themselves a decent player.
"If I had one good tip it's probably the one that people don't want to hear, but it's to not get too drunk at the pub quiz - you wouldn't believe the number of times I've won a quiz in the last round because I've been on the diet coke while they've been on their fourth beer."
The Chase Australia airs weekdays at 5pm on Channel 7.