Sue Barker and Carol Kirkwood share heated Wimbledon banter
The BBC quiz show has celebrated 50 years on air and remained a popular hit with sports fans over the years. In a radical move, the corporation announced that Barker, Tufnell and Matt Dawson would be replaced to try to attract younger audiences. Many viewers have been infuriated by the decision that will see the former tennis ace retire from A Question of Sport, a show she has hosted for 24 years.
Recently, Barker revealed her heartbreak over her pending departure from the sports quiz and the date of her final appearance is yet to be announced.
The sportswoman-turned-TV host said she had “absolutely loved” her time and would never have been able to walk away from what she described as her “dream job”.
She said: “I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away.
“But I understand the BBC wants to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.”
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A source close to Barker told The Daily Express that the hosts will reunite for an arena tour that has sold a large number of tickets.
Last month, they said: “Demand for the tour is phenomenal.
“We’ve already booked 20 shows in arenas across Britain. They’ll even appear at Hammersmith Apollo.”
Barker admitted that she could not “think of a better way to bring down the curtain on” her time on the show than “with a live tour”.
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Her co-star Tufnell, who has served as a team captain for 12 years, revealed that the trio’s chemistry and banter on the show was all in good spirit.
In 2010, he told the Daily Mail: “Sue’s an absolute legend and don’t you worry, she gives as good as she gets from me and Matt.”
Since it was announced that the trio were due to depart from A Question of Sport, a BBC insider said that the show’s shake-up was a long time in the making.
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They told The Sun: “The show has been on for a long time and the producers think it’s time to give it a new look.
“Sue, Matt and Tuffers have been so popular, so the producers are aware they will have big shoes to fill.”
A BBC spokesperson said the corporation was grateful for Barker’s “enormous contribution as the show’s longest-reigning host” in a statement.
They also thanked Tufnell and Dawson for their “excellent team captaincy”.
The spokesperson continued: “Together they have ensured A Question of Sport remains a firm favourite with the BBC One audience.
“Sue, Matt and Phil’s final series will be broadcast next year before the series returns with a new team.”
A Question of Sport airs tonight at 7.35pm on BBC One.
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