Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

A Question of Sport: The Golden Age

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Knit Kings

This blog is signed by Bill Beaumont

There is a definite trend emerging among these early posts. A nostalgic dredge of the broadcasting river bed. It’s a sort of regression therapy for me. A Question of Sport was my womb and I suckled at the teat of David Coleman.

The mid-to-late eighties was the height of QoS popularity. It was an age of legends. Of big personalities and even bigger sweaters. Droves of viewers regularly switched on to gawp at the kings of knit wage trivia war, topping out at a massive 19million in 1987. Admittedly this figure was bloated by a rubbernecking element agog for a bit of car-crash telly: Princess Anne lined up alongside team captain Emlyn Hughes the week after he’d confused her for a male jockey in the picture round. At least it wasn’t the horse.

Of course she wasn’t remotely peeved about the comparison, but Hughes did create minor shockwaves by casually sliding his arm around her Highness like a hopeful adolescent at the back of Cineworld and tearing up the royal protocol manual in the process. God knows what was going through his head. Maybe he had a penchant for jockeys. But the ensuing furore does amply demonstrate the impact of the show of the time.

Hughes was strange and excitable man, forever squealing about the tip of his tongue. Whatever was on the tip of his tongue, it invariably wasn’t the answer.

He was replaced in 1988 by Ian Botham. Beefy was a sporting and celebrity colossus at the time: his cricketing powers were only just beginning to wane. He walked with elephants for charity. And he was friends with Eric Clapton. And he had a movie agent who was touting him around Hollywood as the next James Bond. Wierdly he did miss out on the 007 gig, but in terms of global cultural import the QoS captaincy was more than a consolation.

Botham’s opponent, the Scaramanga to his Bond, was Bill Beaumont.  As far as I am aware he did not have a third nipple.  Billy was a mainly knowledgeable rugger with an inscrutable air. Inscrutable or vacant, not quite sure. Billy was the stalwart of the QoS golden period, putting in a 14-year shift. I hazard that Beaumont was the most successful skipper of this period. Unfortunately I do not have the stats to back this claim up. If only someone had collated a QoS version of the Wisden Almanack.


Written by harrisharrison

January 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Sport on TV

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. I like this post. Thank you very much. I will follow your Blog.


    May 15, 2010 at 1:37 am

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