The BBC has confirmed that it has binned its sports quiz show A Question of Sport after a 53-year run made it one of the world’s longest-running TV programs.

Although a BBC spokesperson stressed that production had only been stopped for now – that it “was not the final whistle” and that the show could return in the future – it seems the towel has finally been thrown in, after falling ratings and budget cuts meant the show was no longer the primetime viewing juggernaut it used to be.

The show, a simple format which saw two teams of sporting stars compete to answer a series of sports questions, was first aired in 1970, presented by sports presenter David Vine. Later hosts included presenter David Coleman, former tennis star Sue Barker and comedian Paddy McGuinness.

At its height in the 1980s, the show drew huge audiences. One episode in 1987 when the guests included equestrian Princess Anne had viewing figures of 19million.

When Barker left in 2021, after 24 years as host, many saw this as the beginning of the end. Not only was new host McGuinness not a sports person, but the guests were drawn from a celebrity pool rather than sporting stars.

Of the decision to shelve the show, the BBC said: “Due to inflation and funding challenges, difficult decisions have to be made, therefore Question of Sport is currently not in production at the moment.”

The BBC reports that the decision to cease production was connected to falling viewing figures and low audiences on iPlayer, with numbers dipping to below one million last year.

Former national rugby captain Bill Beaumont, who served as a team captain for 14 years on the show, said of the news: “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.’”

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Source: DLine

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