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BBC’s ‘Question of Sport’ Pauses Production After Over Five Decades

The iconic TV sports quiz show, ‘Question of Sport,’ has ceased production after more than 50 years on the air, the BBC has confirmed. Launched in 1970 and initially presented by David Vine, the program has been a mainstay of British television, uniting sports enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.

The BBC cited “inflation and funding challenges” as the primary reasons behind this difficult decision. Despite this, a BBC spokesman emphasized that this is “not the final whistle” for ‘Question of Sport,’ suggesting that the show might return in the future.

‘Question of Sport’ experienced a brief hiatus in the 1970s but has been in continuous production since 1978. Its popularity peaked in the 1980s under the stewardship of host David Coleman. Notably, an episode featuring Princess Anne in 1987 garnered the show’s highest viewing figures of 19 million.

Sue Barker, a former tennis player, took the helm as host in 1997, leading the show for 24 years before actor Paddy McGuinness took over in 2021. The show also underwent a revamp, inviting non-sporting celebrities to appear as guests.

The most recent team captains were GB hockey star Sam Quek and former England rugby union international Ugo Monye. The show has seen an array of famous team captains over the years, including rugby union players Matt Dawson and Sir Bill Beaumont, cricketers Ian Botham and Phil Tufnell, and footballers Ally McCoist and Emlyn Hughes.

The decision to stop production is understood to be linked to declining viewing figures and low audience numbers on iPlayer. Audience numbers had fallen below one million last year, a significant drop from the four to five million regularly recorded during Barker’s tenure.

Reacting to the news, Sir Bill Beaumont, a 14-year captain on the show, expressed sadness, noting the end of an era. He recounted fond memories of viewers who shared their nostalgic connections with the program.

However, the BBC spokesman clarified that the show is “not being cancelled” but is merely not in production at present. He compared this hiatus to that of ‘The Weakest Link,’ another quiz show with gaps in its production history.

‘Question of Sport’ remains BBC’s intellectual property, and there are no plans for it to appear on other channels. The future of this beloved show remains uncertain, but its legacy as a cornerstone of British sports entertainment endures.

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