ITV Responds To Backlash After Chasers Are Seen Swimming With Dolphins In New Travel Series

Daniel Welsh
·Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

ITV has responded to criticism over an episode of The Chase’s new travel spin-off, which saw the quizzing stars swimming with captive dolphins.

In the first instalment of The Chasers Road Trip: Trains, Brains And Automobiles, quizzers Anne Hegerty, Shaun Wallace and Mark Labbett were all seen paying a visit to the Dolphin Research Centre in Florida.

The trio were then seen attending a session in which they swam alongside the dolphins, which came under fire from some viewers, as well as attracting criticism from the RSPCA.

Anne Hegerty takes a swim with dolphins in the Chasers' new spin-off (Photo: ITV)
Anne Hegerty takes a swim with dolphins in the Chasers' new spin-off (Photo: ITV)

In a statement, the animal welfare charity said: “We were disappointed to see animals being used in this way on The Chasers Road Trip. Swimming with dolphins may seem appealing to holidaymakers but we know that in reality they often have restricted space and can find swimming with people all day very stressful.

“Keeping dolphins and whales captive deprives them of some of the most basic freedoms and causes them unacceptable levels of stress and suffering.

“Captivity cannot provide for their needs and they can live shortened lives.”

Dolphins pictured at the Dolphin Research Centre in Florida (Photo: ITV)
Dolphins pictured at the Dolphin Research Centre in Florida (Photo: ITV)

Defending the inclusion of these scenes, ITV told Digital Spy: “There is no endorsement of mistreatment of animals in this programme.

“As the show makes clear to viewers, it sets out to challenge and enlighten our understanding of animal intelligence and does so in a way that prompts the Chasers to reflect on the ways animals are treated by humans within our cultures and ask whether this should change.”

Mark also swam with dolphins in the episode (Photo: ITV)
Mark also swam with dolphins in the episode (Photo: ITV)

They added: “The Dolphin Research Centre where filming took place is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the international accrediting body for marine parks, aquariums, zoos and research facilities.”

Trains, Brains And Automobiles sees three of ITV’s Chasers travelling the globe to test their intelligence, meeting child geniuses and prodigies, as well as exploring the intellect of various animals.

The trio take a drive across America in their new travel show (Photo: ITV)
The trio take a drive across America in their new travel show (Photo: ITV)

The Chase launched in 2009 with just Mark Labbett and Shaun Wallace before Anne Hegerty joined the group a year later, with Paul Sinha added in 2011.

Jenny Ryan then became the show’s fifth resident Chaser in 2015, with sixth addition Darragh Ennis joining last year.

READ MORE:

The Chase Viewers Do A Double-Take After Contestant’s Name Appears To Say Something Very Rude Indeed

The Chase's Jenny 'The Vixen' Ryan Reveals Inappropriate Original Nickname She Turned Down

The Chase's Anne Hegerty Reveals How Her Quiz Persona Was Intended To Be Very Different

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.