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June 4, 2010 / Nick

A Question of Sport


2010 has so far been a TV bloodbath. Two behemoths of American drama, Lost and 24 have moved from ‘water-cooler TV’ to ‘future overpriced Collector’s Edition DVD box-set’. A load of other things that didn’t really matter have gone too (Scrubs, Heroes, Flashforward, Ugly Betty, blah, blah, yawn, etc.). It’s happening on our side of the pond too, with the loss of Ashes To Ashes, Big Brother, The Bill and Last of the Summer Wine (just when it was starting to get interesting), to name but most. I have a few candidates to be put forward for this period of ‘creative renewal’, and there’s one show that is top of my list.

A Question of Sport has been on our screens since the dawn of time. It’s a well known fact, of course, that John Logie Baird invented the television so that people no longer had to order weekly graphic novel copies of the show (a strain on the postal workers of Britain). But since then, the panel format of quiz shows has changed a lot, making this show really jarring against others.

Almost all panel quizzes these days are centred around comedians trying to outdo eachother with funnies. A Question of Sport is like watching a comedy panel show comprised entirely of people who aren’t funny at all (or Celebrity Juice as ITV2 are calling it). They couldn’t even be bothered to get a remotely funny host, so settled on sportsmadam and child’s drawing lookalike Sue Barker, who is even more dour than watching Gordon Brown having a 30 minute telephone conversation with his internet service provider (“Is that technical support? Yes, I’ll hold”). If anything, Sue Barker is by a country mile the LEAST amusing of all of the BBC Sport presenters. You would have thought that by now they’d replace her with Jake Humphrey or John Inverdale (I assume he has an iota of charisma lurking in there).

Dawson & Tufnell - a crime fighting duo

Instead of funny people, we get a bunch of sports stars who aren’t really helping to dismiss the ‘sports people are thick’ sterotype. If someone on this show makes a joke 4 minutes after the set-up, it’s seen as a moment of ground-breaking wit and repartee. How many times can Phil Tufnell get away with that ‘Haha. My brain is addled from years of alcohol abuse. I’m so stoopid’ bit that he does? At times its like a sub-Gervais inappropriate impression of someone with advanced dementia.

The thing that’s probably most rubbish about this show is that the topic just isn’t hugely interesting for a whole quiz. There simply aren’t any that many quiz shows other than A Question of Sport that focus on just one topic, and especially not one where you look an idiot for not knowing who won the British Pétanque Open Championship in 2007. And even so, the other more general knowledge based quizzes don’t tend to have questions as fatuous as ‘Which former cricketer’s elbow is this?’.

Matt: 'Fish'/Phil: 'Bingo'/Sue: 'Tennis'

I suppose, it gives these sports men and women something to do. Not everyone involved in sport has 6-figure+ endorsement contracts that they can fall back on to keep them in the public eye. Sometimes they’re just ‘ex-rugby league scrum half Y’ or ‘1500m bronze medalist Z’. Same goes for the regulars in some ways. What else would Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson do between playing online bingo and pretending to have expert knowledge about battered fish respectively? If it weren’t for A Question of Sport, there’s a chance that in the months between Wimbledons and Sports Personality of the Years, we’d probably be in danger of forgetting who ‘Sue Barker’ even is.
But come on, people! Do we really need 36 weeks of this a year? If TV heads aren’t even relying on the safe bet of ‘Summer Wine’ anymore, maybe they might see that A Question of Sport might not actually be all that missed.

Review: Almost as inconsequential as dust, but less amusing.
3/10

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7 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. molly / Nov 25 2010 10:34 pm

    the most rubbishest t.v show in the land! !!!!

  2. katie ellison / Nov 29 2010 11:06 pm

    what is with the background behind the contestants- makes me feel quite sick. Someone obviously did not check this out properly

  3. Eric Firth. / Nov 24 2011 12:53 pm

    Why do you have so many rugby union types on the show and so few rugby league types?You do know that RL was banned in British universities and the British military for near a hundred years, and that it was banned by the French Hitler sympathizing Vichy government of WW2? Consider this. A young lad from the north could join, or be called up tto serve in an infantry regiment, there the ones who do almost all the real fighting. He can serve well, receive an award for bravery, even die for his regiment, but not play rugby league for it. Rugby union, football, athletics, cricket, basket ball, any sport, but not rugby league. You seem to be on the side of the oppressors and bigots, and for goodness sake get rid of that ex cricket bufoon, he’s embarrassingly silly and childish. The presenter too is looking a bit long in the tooth and she’s nearly as silly as that other southerner. Eric Firth.

    • Zakary Fluke / Dec 11 2011 3:12 am

      Because Rugby Leauge is just a breakaway version of Union, and though it’s faster it’s just not deemed as entertaining to watch. I’m just grateful that any type of Rugby is getting an increase in coverage because I’m sick and tired of shitty football dominating the media.

  4. Eric Firth. / Dec 11 2011 10:14 am

    Zakary, RL may have broken away from union, but for the past 15 years or so RU has been following it like the man behind the muck cart. Professionalism, remember when it was a dirty word in union?, sin bin, TV ref, subs, skin tight shirts, and every major union team has at least one ex league man on its coaching staff. In contrast RL has taken nowt from union and if it had an ex player on its coaching staff what would he teach league players? How to pass with speed and vision? tackle? back up? kick shrewdly rather than just anywhere? RL is the 21st century code,union is an old fashioned fuddy duddy colonial game. By the way, you and I have something in common, both your first name and RL are both red lined. So now you know how we league types feel.ERic Firth.

  5. Nigel Chandler / Feb 28 2014 7:52 pm

    I will never watch or listen to anything that graham swann is involved in, gutless pathetic man, get him off the bbc

  6. celebs / Sep 24 2014 11:39 am

    Hi there are using WordPress for your blog platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my
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