TV Cream

TV: Q is for...

Question of Sport, A

"Emlyn, you're absolutely rrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiwwwwwwrrrrrrrroooorrrrrrriiiiii..."“SPORTING WIT AND BADINAGE”, as Ceefax often had it, which somewhat underplayed the whole quizzing element if you ask us. Avuncular, easily entertained DAVID COLEMAN presided at just the right pace, except when making sure to ask the guests “you had a good season last year, and you’ll be hoping for more of the same with the world championships coming up?” in the middle of a round. BILL BEAUMONT seemingly spent decades at the helm of one team, except for a couple of weeks when Coleman was off with shingles and he took over as a snail’s pace host. Opposite massed a phalanx of overexcitable captains, most notably WILLIE CARSON and EMLYN HUGHES of John Reid-related royal handbagging and ill-fated attempt to make “we think…” a national catchphrase. The Mystery Guest round added “can you recognise this sporting star going for a day’s fishing?” intrigue and hope that it wasn’t someone you were particularly proud of, a tyro RAY STUBBS directing many an example. You knew Christmas was coming when the annual Mystery Guest competition started, the winner picked out in the series finale by the captains from a mound of envelopes dropped from the studio ceiling. Supposedly annual surveys referred to once a series placed What Happened Next? as the show’s most popular round year after year. The score is Emlyn seven, Bill five.

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  1. Ian Tomkinson

    June 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Haha, thank you for invoking “we think…”. The Princess Anne edition was notable not just for HRH, but for Nigel Mansell on the other team, who came across as a fun, slightly sarcastic personality – a personality which seemed to evaporate completely on subsequent TV appearances, where he went entirely in the other direction and secured a popular image as dour and boring. Maybe a few pre-show cocktails with the Princess Royal?

  2. Des Elmes

    December 28, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Sadly, QoS has gone the way of almost every other long running BBC show and found itself on a painfully long, downward slope.

    It began in 1996 when Beaumont left, as did Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham. Their immediate replacements, Ally McCoist and John Parrott, weren’t bad at all, but the shoes they were filling were always too big.

    One year later, and DC was also gone. Sue Barker has occupied the host’s chair ever since – again, she isn’t rubbish, but the act she has followed for 13 years now has always been just too hard.

    As it happened, Coleman got out just in time – a full-scale revamp in 1998 brought in a garish new set, a horrible remix of the theme tune, and the On The Buzzer round, which McCoist tended to dominate.

    While all this was happening, They Think It’s All Over was firmly establishing itself as a louder, ruder brother of QoS. So much so, in fact, that the longer-running show soon started to go the same way – not helped by the arrival in 2004 of Parrott’s second replacement, Matt Dawson.

    Then, in 2006, Auntie pulled the plug on TTIAO – and QoS’s descent into becoming a cheap copy accelerated. McCoist left in 2007 – having made a record 363 appearances as captain, 44 more than Beaumont – and was eventually replaced by Phil Tufnell who, like Dawson, has turned out to be a total prick. At around the same time, many of the traditional rounds found themselves relegated to sporadic use – replaced by the very TTIAO-esque Captain’s Challenge, among others.

    Finally, in November 2010, the show was moved to none other than the slot immediately after the Ten O’Clock News and opposite Newsnight, and was given another revamp – which involved the inclusion of the likes of Frank Skinner, Paddy McGuinness and – wait for it – X-Factor runner-up Olly Murs…

    I reckon that when the BBC finally decide to swing the axe, there’ll be about as much outcry as when they did so on Tomorrow’s World, Grandstand, Grange Hill et cetera – that is, almost none, save for the few remaining loyal followers.

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