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The history of the show

Three with all the answers: David Vine, David Coleman and Sue Barker
Three with the answers: Vine, Coleman, Barker.

A Question of Sport will celebrate its 40th birthday in January 2010 making it the longest running TV quiz show in the UK and possibly the world.

Some of the biggest names in British and International sport have appeared on the programme since its early days.

In four decades the show has only had three presenters.

Here is a potted history of some of the captains, hosts, and stars that have helped to make the show a favourite.

The early days

The first A Question of Sport aired on 5th January 1970 and was hosted by David Vine.

The first team captains were boxer Henry Cooper and Wales rugby union star Cliff Morgan.

They were joined by George Best, Ray Illingworth, Lillian Board, and Tom Finney.


The Seventies

Clockwise from top left: Cliff Morgan and Henry Cooper, Henry Cooper and Brendan Foster
Clockwise from top left: Cliff Morgan and Henry Cooper, Henry Cooper and Brendan Foster.

The first change of captaincy occurred in 1977 when Olympic medallist Brendan Foster replaced Cliff Morgan.

David Vine hosted the show for five series before moving on to present late-night snooker and Ski Sunday. David Vine was replaced by the sports presenter and commentator, David Coleman.

Further changes were made to the team in 1979 as former Liverpool and England star Emlyn Hughes and Welsh rugby hero Gareth Edwards became the new captains.


The Eighties

Carson's cackles

Emlyn and Gareth were the captains for the next three years until 1982.

Then, former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont teamed up with jockey Willie Carson whose distinctive laugh quickly became a trademark.

In 1984 Emlyn returned as captain and battled Bill for the next five series.

Emlyn's picture board gaffe

Princess Anne appeared on the show in 1987 only a week after Emlyn mistook her for a male jockey on the pictureboard!

Cricketing icon Ian Botham joined the show in 1989 taking over from Emlyn and the show had two of the most competitive captains in its history.

Bill saved by the bell

Bill and Beefy became a staple throughout the Nineties running in tandem for eight series.

Bill generally had the upper hand and was helped by a very controversial moment.

When the pair finally left Bill had clocked up a then record 319 appearances on the show.


The Nineties

Clockwise from top left: Bill Beaumont and Ian Botham, John Parrott and Ally McCoist.
Clockwise from top left: Bill Beaumont and Ian Botham, John Parrott and Ally McCoist.

In 1996 it was all change.

Scotland and Rangers striker Ally McCoist and former snooker world champion John Parrott became the new captains.

David Coleman was in charge for Ally and John's first series.

But he retired from the show in May 1997 to be replaced by current host Sue Barker.

Ally and John were soon up to no good, mainly at Sue's expense.


The Noughties

Clockwise from top left: Frankie Dettori, John Parrott, Ally McCoist and Matt Dawson
Clockwise from top left: Frankie Dettori, John Parrott, Ally McCoist and Matt Dawson.

In 2002 John vacated his seat and Ally and Sue were joined by jockey Frankie Dettori who was a bit better at racing horses than he was at quizzes!

With Frankie's continuing success in the saddle he decided to give up the captaincy in 2004 to be replaced by one of England's successful Rugby World Cup winners, Matt Dawson.

Frankie's anagram disaster

On 18th May 2007 Ally, due to his commitments at Rangers, made his last appearance as a team captain on the show.

He had clocked up a record busting 363 appearances.

After a brief spell of guest captains, former England cricketer Phil Tufnell was made the permanent replacement for Ally in February 2008 and only the 14th full time team captain.

Question of Sport - Ally's best bits

To celebrate A Question of Sports 40th birthday in 2010, we will be giving you the chance to nominate your favourite clips and share your memories of the show throughout 2009, so watch this space!



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