Question of Sport has been shelved, BBC confirms - BBC News

Question of Sport has been shelved, BBC confirms

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Question of Sport

TV sports quiz show Question of Sport has been shelved after more than 50 years on air, the BBC has confirmed.

The corporation said production on the show had stopped, and that "difficult decisions" had been necessary.

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

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

Question of Sport was not on screens for two years in the 1970s but has 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.

Image caption,

Sue Barker - seen here with team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell - stood down as host in 2020

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.

The BBC said that "due to inflation and funding challenges, difficult decisions have to be made, therefore Question of Sport is currently not in production at the moment".

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'."

Image caption,

Paddy McGuinness is the most recent host of Question of Sport

A spokesman for the corporation 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."

The decision to bench Question of Sport comes just weeks after the BBC announced its flagship motoring show Top Gear would not return "for the foreseeable future".

In a statement in November, the BBC said it had "decided to rest the UK show".

Top Gear presenter Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff was seriously injured in a crash while filming the show last year.

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