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Programme shake-up

BBC axe falls on A Question of Sport trio

Sue Barker with Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell

BBC bosses have axed A Question of Sport host Sue Barker and the quiz show’s team captains in a shake-up of the long-running programme.

One-time tennis champion Barker is leaving after 23 years while ex-England rugby player Matt Dawson and the former England international cricketer Phil Tufnell have led their teams on the show for 16 and 12 years respectively.

Their final series together will be broadcast next year. The new line-up is yet to be announced.

Ms Barker, 64, said: “I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction.”

She took over as presenter in 1997 from BBC sports commentator David Coleman. He succeeded original host David Vine who launched the first episode on 5 January 1970.

Previous team captains have included the Rangers and Scotland footballer Ally McCoist, and the Scottish jockey Willie Carson. The first captains were Welsh rugby international Cliff Morgan and boxer Henry Cooper.

More than 3,000 sports personalities have appeared on the show including the Princess Royal who competed at the 1976 Olympic Games.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show’s longest reigning host over the last 24 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy.”

“Together they have ensured A Question of Sport remains a firm favourite with the BBC One audience.”

The move comes weeks after the BBC’s director-general Lord Hall was succeeded in the role by Tim Davie, the former chief executive of commercial arm BBC Studios.

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