Sue Barker row: Susanna Reid fumed at BBC for axing star from Question of Sport

A Question of Sport: Sue Barker says goodbye

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Question of Sport returns this evening for another instalment as host Paddy McGuinness welcomes new team captains Sam Quek and Ugo Monye. The programme will also test the sporting knowledge of four stars from the Tokyo Olympics: triathlete Georgia Taylor-Brown, diver Matty Lee, weightlifter Emily Campbell and champion boxer Lauren Price. It will be the first episode of the show to air since iconic host Sue Barker was let go by the BBC, having hosted for 24 years.

Last year, when it was announced Sue would be leaving, the former Tennis star said she was “sad to leave my dream job.”

Her famous co-stars, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, also left the show.

Good Morning Britain star, Susanna Reid, criticised the BBC’s move, defending Sue’s record as a presenter.

She said in September that Sue was a “pioneer and a role model” before “many of its new producers were even born”.

Susanna said: “Only a week after I wrote that the BBC wouldn’t sack an older woman these days, it goes and does just that to 64-year-old Sue Barker.

“Cue shrieks of ‘ageism!’ and ‘sexism!’ in the living rooms of A Question Of Sport fans. I have met Sue a few times at Wimbledon and she is an expert in her field, a calm and unflappable presence.”

Susanna also said that for “women who love sport”, Sue “has been proving for years that it is not an exclusively male pastime”.

Adding in her Daily Mail column, she wrote: “It’s really too bad; Sue was a pioneer and a role model before many of A Question Of Sport’s new producers were even born.”

Sue, Matt and Phil were said to have been left “blindsided” after being axed in a shake-up of the 50-year-old show.

Confirming the news, a BBC spokesman said: “We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show’s longest-reigning host over the last 23 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy over 16 and 12 years respectively.

“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.”

An insider source at the BBC said: “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.”

Paddy praised his predecessor in July as it was announced he would take over the show.

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He also said he had watched the show since he was young when it was hosted by David Vine and then David Coleman, but it was former tennis player Barker who “made this show her own”.

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

As for former GB hockey star Samantha, she said the new role as team captain was a “dream come true”.

She said: “I’ve watched A Question of Sport since I was a little girl and my ambition to appear on the show came true five years ago – but I never thought that I would one day be a captain.

“And the first female captain in the show’s 50-year history too.”

Former England wing Ugo said it was “an incredible honour” to become the other team captain, adding: “It’s a show I have watched my entire life, so to be named as a captain is truly humbling.”

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