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Sue Barker is ‘massively disappointed’ that BBC bosses have axed Question Of Sport after viewing figures plunged after they sacked her.

The former tennis player hosted of the show for 24 years, and has previously said that she was ‘devastated’ when she was sacked just three years ago, sparking fury from viewers.

Making the shock announcement, the broadcaster blamed inflation and dwindling ratings as the long-running sports quiz that spanned more than 1,300 episodes was cancelled.

Ms Barker told MailOnline: ‘Obviously I am massively disappointed as it is a show that has meant so much to me.’

Question of Sport first debuted in 1970 and was initially fronted by former Match of the Day reporter David Vine, but is best known for being presented by Ms Barker who lead the programme for nearly a quarter of a century.

Sue Barker is ‘massively disappointed’ that BBC bosses have axed Question Of Sport after viewing figures plunged when they sacked the popular host

was host of the show for 24 years, and has previously said that she was ‘devastated’ when she was sacked just three years ago, sparking fury from viewers. Pictured: Matt Dawson, Sue Barker and Phil Tufnell before they were let go in 2020 

The Wimbledon semi-finalist joined the programme in 1997, quickly progressing to become the face of the show

The Wimbledon semi-finalist joined the programme in 1997, quickly progressing to become the face of the show 

When she started in 1997 she was starring alongside footballer Ally McCoist (left) and snooker star John Parrott (right) who she admitted were 'a nightmare to try and keep under control'

When she started in 1997 she was starring alongside footballer Ally McCoist (left) and snooker star John Parrott (right) who she admitted were ‘a nightmare to try and keep under control’ 

The Wimbledon semi-finalist joined the programme in 1997, quickly progressing to become the face of the show.

The presenter – who grew up watching the show with her father – added to The Telegraph: ‘I truly hope it will return one day.’ 

Most famously Ms Barker fronted the show alongside rugby legend Matt Dawson and cricketer Phil Tufnell, where she and the two team captains formed an iconic trio for 13 years.

Speaking to Desert Island Discs last year, Ms Barker said: ‘Matt, Tuffers and I – we’re like best mates and we just had such a bond and we absolutely loved that programme’.

When she started in 1997 she was starring alongside footballer Ally McCoist and snooker star John Parrott, who she admitted were ‘a nightmare to try and keep under control’.

But in 2020, she was ousted in a shock move that the presenter admitted left her feeling ‘slightly damaged’. 

‘Naively, I’d expected more after 24 years,’ she wrote in the Daily Mail following the fallout. 

‘Don’t get me wrong: I had no problem with being replaced,’ she said. ‘Everyone has their day. Producers must always have the right to refresh a programme and take it in a new direction.

‘It was the way it was handled. It taught me there is actually no way of leaving a role in a nice, pleasant and helpful manner, with your head held high.’

Staff on the programme, that has been running for more than 50 years, were 'gutted' after being told the news

Staff on the programme, that has been running for more than 50 years, were ‘gutted’ after being told the news 

But in 2020, she was ousted in a shock move that the presenter admitted left her feeling 'slightly damaged'

But in 2020, she was ousted in a shock move that the presenter admitted left her feeling ‘slightly damaged’ 

Most famously Ms Barker fronted the show alongside team captains rugby legend Matt Dawson and cricketer Phil Tufnell, where they formed an iconic trio for 13 years

Most famously Ms Barker fronted the show alongside team captains rugby legend Matt Dawson and cricketer Phil Tufnell, where they formed an iconic trio for 13 years

The former tennis star was removed from the programme with captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, so that bosses could draft in fresh talent to revamp the long-running sports quiz.

Paddy McGuinness was brought into to replace Barker in 2021. Olympian Sam Quek and retired rugby star Ugo Monye replaced Dawson and Tufnell as team captains.

A BBC spokesperson told MailOnline tonight: ‘Due to inflation and funding challenges difficult decisions have to be made, therefore Question of Sport is currently not in production at the moment.’

Insiders working on the show said the presenters and captains have been informed of the show’s demise and were ‘gutted’, the Mirror reported. 

It is a particular blow for McGuiness, 50, who lost his presenting show on Top Gear earlier this year when the BBC announced it would scrapped for the ‘foreseeable future’. 

When McGuiness was drafted into replace Barker, he said: ‘I love the fiercely competitive nature of sports stars coupled with having a laugh. 

‘That’s why ‘A Question of Sport’ has always been one of my favourite shows and having been weaned on it from an early age, this is an honour and opportunity I’m certainly not taking lightly.’

McGuiness said that he would attempt to put his own mark on the show, which was previously hosted by David Coleman and David Vine.

Paddy McGuinness was brought in to replace Barker in 2021. Olympian Sam Quek and retired rugby star Ugo Monye replaced Dawson and Tufnell as team captains

Paddy McGuinness was brought in to replace Barker in 2021. Olympian Sam Quek and retired rugby star Ugo Monye replaced Dawson and Tufnell as team captains

Barker admitted she was left 'slightly damaged' after being axed from Question Of Sport after 24 years (Sue (centre) pictured with Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right))

Barker admitted she was left ‘slightly damaged’ after being axed from Question Of Sport after 24 years (Sue (centre) pictured with Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right))

The BBC sports quiz show was fronted by Sue from 1997 until she was replaced by Paddy McGuinness in 2021

The BBC sports quiz show was fronted by Sue from 1997 until she was replaced by Paddy McGuinness in 2021

He added: ‘I grew up with both Davids hosting but it’s Sue who made this show her own.

‘She will always be A Question of Sport icon, but I’ll try my best to stamp my own mark on it.’ 

But earlier this year, he revealed his Top-Gear co-star and pal Freddie Flintoff warned him ahead of hosting BBC’s panel show A Question Of Sport.

‘For me personally, the pressure I felt, I felt it more for ‘A Question of Sport’ than Top Gear,’ he said.

 ‘I remember Freddie [Flintoff] when I got the job, and he rang me up and said ‘Oh God, be careful because it can be talked about online and stuff,’ he added.

The show’s heyday was in the 1980s, breaking records in 1987when 19million tuned in to watch Princess Anne take part. 

At the time, David Coleman was running the show along with team captains Bill Beaumont, Gareth Edwards and Emlyn Hughes. 

Beaumont was the one of the longest serving captain making 319 appearances, being beaten by footballer Ally McCoist who starred in 363 episodes. 

Princess Anne starred on A Question of Sport in 1987 with a whopping 19million viewers tuning in

Princess Anne starred on A Question of Sport in 1987 with a whopping 19million viewers tuning in

David Coleman, Emlyn Hughes, Princess Anne and David Coleman

David Coleman, Emlyn Hughes, Princess Anne and David Coleman 

While Barker was still presenting, 4million people were still tuning in to watch the show, with the number almost halving to 2.2million when Mr McGuiness took over. Soon under a million viewers were tuning in. 

In 2022 ratings for Question of Sport slumped to an all time low dropping to an average of 850,000.

One episode on August 19 peaked at 750,000, with the programme being beaten by a Channel 5 show about Britain’s Poshest Farm Shops.

Between four and five million viewers regularly tuned in when Sue was host before she was given the boot in 2020 when bosses decided to refresh the programme.

The cut comes as BBC bosses complained that the recently announced £10.50 licence fee increase is not enough and will result in programmes ‘that audiences love’ being axed.

Last week Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer revealed that the household payment would jump to a total of £169.50 as she announced a review into the broadcaster’s funding model. 

The broadcaster’s governing body, however, has said the below-inflation rise, will have an impact on its content budgets and as a result ‘have a significant impact on the wider creative sector across the UK’.

In a statement the board said the increase will mean ‘further changes on top of the major savings that we are already delivering’.



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