BBC stops production of Question of Sport after 53 yearson December 16, 2023 at 12:43 am

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There had been just two series with current host Paddy McGuiness and captains Sam Quek and Ugo Monye.

Question of Sport

TV sports quiz show Question of Sport has stopped production after more than five decades, the BBC has confirmed.

The first episode of the BBC One programme was broadcast in 1970, presented by David Vine.

The BBC said that “due to inflation and funding challenges, difficult decisions have to be made”.

But a BBC spokesman insisted it was “not the final whistle” and the programme could come back in the future.

Question of Sport was not on screens for two years in the 1970s but remained in continuous production since 1978.

It was one of the most popular shows in the 1980s when David Coleman was the host – with Princess Anne’s appearance as one of the guests in 1987 attracting its highest ever viewing figures of 19 million.

Former tennis player Sue Barker took over in 1997 and spent 24 years as host, before being replaced by actor Paddy McGuinness in 2021. Question of Sport also underwent a revamp, with non-sporting celebrities being invited to appear as guests.

The most recent team captains were GB hockey star Sam Quek and former England rugby union international Ugo Monye.

Former team captains include rugby union players Matt Dawson and Sir Bill Beaumont, cricketers Ian Botham and Phil Tufnell, and ex-footballers Ally McCoist and Emlyn Hughes

It is understood the decision to cease production was connected to falling viewing figures and low audiences on iPlayer.

Audience numbers dropped below one million last year, having regularly hit four to five million under Barker.

Reacting to the news, Sir Bill, who was a captain on the show for 14 years, said: “I still enjoy the programme. I think it’s a pity it’s finishing now, it is sad because it’s the end of an era.

“It’s amazing how many come up to me now when I’m going through railway stations and things like that and [say] ‘I use to watch it with my dad’.”

However, a BBC spokesman insisted the show was “not being cancelled – it is just not in production at the moment”.

He cited the example of another quiz show, the Weakest Link, which has had gaps in production.

“Question of Sport is not going to appear on any other channels,” he added. “It is the BBC’s intellectual property.”

Matt Dawson, Sue Barker, Phil Tufnell on Question of Sport in 2019
Paddy McGuinness

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