I had the opportunity to sit down at Sugarhorse on Moorhouse Avenue with the star of TV’s The Chase, the one and only Dark Destroyer himself, Mr Shaun Wallace.
Shaun was in New Zealand with Believe it or Not Quizz nights thanks to Brendan Lochead. “All he did for eight days whilst here was give his time, energy and passion. He must be mentally exhausted. We’d be late for events because he’d be signing every piece of scrap paper offered by every school kid so nobody left disappointed.
“He is a true gentleman; never failed to put others first and genuinely delighted in people and the energy he drew from them. It’s a week of my life I’ll never forget.” After waiting patiently at Sugar Horse for a gap in the crowd I sat down with the man himself.
How have you enjoyed New Zealand so far Shaun?
It’s been fantastic; just been down in Queenstown Bungy Jumping with my tour manager Brendan. One of the reasons I came to New Zealand was to say thank you to all the wonderful people in New Zealand for making The Chase so successful. I’ve been blown away by the way I’ve been treated here. It’s been a wonderful adventure.
How’s The Chase? Still enjoying it?
Loving it. We celebrate our tenth anniversary this year and I’m the world’s first chaser, so love every minute of it. It’s a joy and a privilege to part of it.
Where to in the future for The Dark Destroyer?
Chase will go on, but I never take that for granted. Everything has a shelf life and until that day comes, I’ll just keep being the best chaser I can be.
How do you retain so much knowledge?
I’m a trained barrister. I’m trained to react under pressure, think under pressure, think calmly, think quickly and to research so I have all those key skills. Crucial skills in the final chase.
How do you find out all the information needed for the show?
We keep ourselves contemporary. We already know the basics… newspapers, films, music, awards – no information is useless information; you never know when you could be asked it.
What’s after New Zealand?
Well this is the second leg of my world tour and I’m going back to England for a day’s rest then doing a cruise ship in the Caribbean. It’s not hard work, I’m just thanking the people for putting me in the position I am today. I’m truly grateful.
Your book, Chasing the Dream, tell us about it?
Well the story started and ended when I lost (gameshow) Are you an Egghead? Let me tell my life story in the hour it takes to listen to Steely Dan’s greatest hits. I want people to realise that everybody’s story is not plain sailing.
I’ve had my share of disappointments. You can overcome them with a focus and determination and support but it’s the reflection in the mirror that determines where you go in life. I had an ambition as an 11-year-old that I wanted to be a lawyer. It’s about setting goals and challenges and all that does is bring you to the start line of another challenge.
What challenges do you want to achieve?
With fame comes responsibility, I want to use my fame to inspire the next generation of people. I’m no different to anybody else. I don’t want to be better than anybody else. I want to see myself as a goal model rather than a role model.
My feet are firmly on the ground. If you look at my life and try to follow my philosophy that would be the greatest complement somebody could pay me. You can earn millions and millions of dollars, but mortality is the great leveller. When you’re dead you can’t take it with you but if you can use your name as a legacy down the years and say, that man stood for good things, then that’s what I want to achieve.
I left Sugar Horse with a new appreciation for a gentleman who is not only someone with great knowledge but a great entertainer who is truly, and I mean truly, grateful for his life. Read his book Chasing the Dream and you’ll understand why.