An Interview with Shaun Wallace
Shaun Wallace, maybe best known as The Dark Destroyer on ITV’s popular quiz show The Chase, has also forged an impressive Law career. Called to the Bar in 1984, Shaun completed his pupillage in 1986 and has gone on to lead a successful career as a Barrister.
He will be talking to our students at our Bloomsbury campus on 29 October at a special event. We caught up with him to ask him about his life and legal career.
Ever since I was a young boy, I wanted to be a barrister. I was inspired by watching programmes like Crown Court in the 1970’s, Rumpole of the Bailey and I was also inspired by real life practitioners such as George Carmen QC.
My career journey has had its fair share of ups and downs in my 35 years of private practice. Initially, I found it difficult to find pupillage and my efforts to find stability in my career was somewhat difficult on account of the somewhat nomadic journey in terms of being in different sets of chambers. My career was not mapped out in advance, I don’t think any career at the Bar has had that luxury on account of the fact that you have to build up contacts who will instruct you in cases, and that takes a great deal of time.
I’ve had many memorable moments in my career. The most recent of those being securing an acquittal for my client who was charged with double attempted murder, double attempted GBH and double attempted use of firearms at the Old Bailey in June 2019.
The similarities I attribute to being quizzer and a barrister is in terms of preparation. Every case, no matter how trivial or how serious, will be given the same attention in terms of preparation. The same is also true in terms of quizzing. I always prepare by testing myself reading different bits of information in order to get myself ready.
The main piece of advice I would give to anybody who is thinking of studying Law would be, be dedicated to your studies and have a great deal of perseverance. Law, like any other profession is extremely competitive and the perseverance is needed because it can be very difficult and challenging to make a break through.
I was the first Chaser appointed in 2008. I was chosen as a result of my performances in Mastermind in 2004 and Are You An Egghead? In 2008.
I feel very honoured and privileged to be a Chaser. The show has now been going for the last 10 years and the main reason for its success is because the public continue to watch it.
I don’t see being on the Chase as being challenging itself and that I suppose that is attributed to my training as a Barrister, which has taught me to remain calm under pressure and to think quickly on my feet. I revise at least 2 hours every single day in preparation for the Chase by keeping myself up to date on contemporary and everyday things.
I get recognised wherever I go both in the UK and abroad. I will always stop and talk to members of the public because, as I said earlier, without their support, the show would not be a success. People are fascinated about the show, in particular, about Bradley Walsh.
I still continue to practice in the field of Criminal Law as a Defence Lawyer.
My Law career so far has been interesting, at times disheartening, but in the greater scheme of things, worthwhile.
Chasing the Dream is Shaun’s autobiography and covers his life and career. You can purchase it from Amazon here or get a signed copy from Shaun himself at the event.