The Martian
Matt Damon is stranded on Mars in The Martian20th Century Fox

ITV's The Chase is no stranger to causing a stir with viewers, this time being accused of making the huge error of awarding £1,000 for a wrong answer about Matt Damon's science fiction movie The Martian.

One of the programme's contestants, Mo – an IT consultant from London – appeared on the ITV game show and was asked to name the occupation of Matt Damon's character in the film by host Bradley Walsh.

When he answered an astronaut, Walsh claimed that was correct, but fans of the show were quick to claim his answer was in fact wrong and that Damon's character Mark Watney is actually a trained botanist.

Andy Weir's original book has the character stating on a fair few occasions that he is a botanist with a mechanical engineering qualification.

Though he is chosen for a mission to Mars, he introduces himself to readers by saying: "I'm a botanist and mechanical engineer; basically, the mission's fix it man who played with plants.

"The mechanical engineering might save my life if something breaks," before adding later, "Hell yeah, I'm a botanist! Fear my botany powers!"

And viewers on Twitter were quick to back this up, with one person writing: "Mark Whatney in the Martian was actually a botanist #TheChase", as another put: "Technically Matt Damons "TheMartian" character was a Botanist not an astronaut. #TheChase".

the chase
Mo on The ChaseITV

Confusingly, the book also refers to Watney as an astronaut on a number of occasions. At one point in the book, it talks about the fate of "astronaut Mark Watney" on a mission during a news report. What we're not so sure about is if he actually has the official qualifications to back it up.

He also refers to himself as an astronaut at several points, though that could be wishful thinking, stating while fighting for survival: "If I get back to Earth, I'll be famous, right? A fearless astronaut who beat all the odds, right? I bet women like that."

The character of Watney was not based on any one member of Nasa or other space exploration program, and Weir has previously claimed that it is based on himself.

the chase
Bradley Walsh accepts Mo's answer as correctITV

He told The Observer: "Mark is based on my own personality. Though he's smarter and braver than I am and he doesn't have my flaws. I guess he's what I wish I were like."

Weir wrote the book in his spare time while working as a software engineer, and despite having a significant amount of scientific knowledge to base the story upon, he had no contacts within Nasa to contact for research.

Nasa has since become a big fan of the book and is reportedly required reading for astronaut trainees at the organisation, with Weir being invited to visit Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Chase continues weekdays at 5pm on ITV.