A League of Their Own (game show)

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A League of Their Own
Aleagueoftheirown.png
Genre Comedy panel game
Created by Paul Brassey
Presented by James Corden (series 1–8)
Starring Andrew Flintoff
Jamie Redknapp
Jack Whitehall (series 5–)
John Bishop (series 1–4)
Georgie Thompson (series 1–4)
Theme music composer Will Slater
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 67 (inc. 26 specials) (List of episodes)
Production
Location(s) Pinewood Studios (2010)
Elstree Studios (2011–)
Running time 60mins (Episode 1, Series 3–, Specials)
30mins (Series 1–2)
Broadcast
Original channel Sky 1
Picture format 16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original run 11 March 2010 (2010-03-11) – present
External links
Website

A League of Their Own is a sports-based comedy panel game that was first broadcast on Sky 1 on 11 March 2010. It is hosted by Gavin and Stacey star James Corden and features Andrew Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp as team captains. John Bishop and Georgie Thompson were regular panellists for the first four series alongside two weekly guests. Jack Whitehall joined the cast as a regular panellist from the fifth series onwards.[1]

On 23 April 2014, Sky announced that they have signed a three-year contract deal, which will see the show on the air until 2017.[2] They have confirmed via their Twitter page that the brand new series will start on 29 August 2014.[3]

Format[edit]

The show is a standard panel quiz show where two teams of three, the Red and Blue teams compete for points awarded in three rounds, to find the overall winning team by points total.[4]

  • Round 1 involves both teams having to rank three different sportspersons according to a specific criterion.[4]
  • Round 2, Guest List, involves both teams having to guess the answers given by a sportsperson about his or her sport.[4]
  • Round 3, Human Clock, sees two members of each team have to answer questions for as long as the third team member can sustain a physical challenge in the studio.[4]

The general format has remained the same but with some variations in more recent series. Series 5 featured the "Visa Sprint Challenge" to celebrate the upcoming Olympics. If the studio guest was an active professional athlete there was usually an additional physical challenge or game based on his or her sport.

Participants[edit]

The show is hosted by James Corden, a comedy writer best known for co-writing and starring in Gavin & Stacey. The Red Team is captained by retired footballer Jamie Redknapp, who is joined by regular panellist and stand up comedian John Bishop. The Blue Team is captained by retired England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, joined by regular panellist and Sky Sports F1 presenter Georgie Thompson. As of series 5, comedian Jack Whitehall has replaced Georgie Thompson as regular panellist on the blue team due to Georgie's F1 commitments. In series 5, John Bishop was absent for several episodes due to his Sport Relief challenge. Each week the teams are supplemented by one special guest.

Neither Corden, Redknapp nor Thompson had been regular features on a television panel show before. Corden was non-committal about whether the show marked a new direction for him as a television host, stating "I spend most of my time sitting in a room with my mates talking about sport anyway. To get paid to do such a thing will be great. I hope it will be a fun show and people will enjoy watching it."[5] Redknapp said "I'm loving it, but it is nerve-wracking" and "the key is to try to have a bit of fun, but to remember that we're not comedians and can't compete with the professionals" referring to Bishop and Corden.[6] Thompson said of the show that it was "the fun factor that I've been looking for" and represented an "exciting opportunity" in her career.[7]

Production[edit]

The show was created by Paul Brassey, a development producer at CPL Productions. The show was recorded in Pinewood Studios (Elstree Studios from series 3 onwards),[8] being filmed on Mondays and Tuesdays in front of a live studio audience. The show was commissioned by Duncan Gray, with Gray, Danielle Lux and Murray Boland acting as Executive Producers.[9] It was announced on 20 October 2009 that the pilot for the show would be hosted by Corden alongside team captains Redknapp and England cricketer Stuart Broad,[10] although Broad was replaced in the line up by Flintoff by the time of the series 1 start. Executive producer Danielle Lux said it would be "an Olympic standard comedy show for anyone who loves their sport and a fun-filled half-hour for those who don't."[11] The pilot was recorded on 24 October,[9] and was due to be aired later in 2009.[11] Sky1's promotion for the show included a TV advert featuring Corden mis-kicking a football, spoofing contemporary serious sportswear advertising campaigns, accompanied by the tagline "the new panel show that doesn't take sport too seriously".[12]

Reception[edit]

Keith Watson of the Metro welcomed the show as a challenger to "Britain's No.1 TV sports spot-the-scripted-bits banter show", referring to the BBC's show A Question of Sport, hosted by Sue Barker. Watson, writing after the first episode, said "Team skippers Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp are just there as window-dressing/butts of jokes, for this is Corden's show and he takes to it like a puck to the ice rink. [Sue] Barker beware."[13] Sharon Lougher and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh also of the Metro went further, announcing the show as "basically, A Question of Sport for idiots ... the televisual equivalent of Nuts magazine".[14]

Writing after the first episode, Harry Venning of The Stage panned the show, summarising it as "Imagine A Question of Sport without the sports questions, combined with They Think It's All Over without the comedy". Criticising the length of the opening hour long special, Venning said it contained some fine gags but not enough of them, and the format was "dull, unimaginative and painfully protracted", albeit praising Flintoff for being "surprisingly witty and charming".[15]

The British Comedy Guide said of the first episode that "the sportsman-dominated panel showed: very few laughs, and little charm" and were not convinced of the format, although conceding that not being sports fans they might not be the target audience.[4]

Guest appearances[edit]

Jimmy Carr who has made the most guest appearances, with 12.
Gabby Logan, who has made the second most appearances, with 7, including one appearance as a guest captain.

The following have made an appearance on the show as a guest (up to and including the recorded episodes of series 8):


a. ^ Appearances made from series 5 onwards, when Bishop and Thompson were no longer a regular panellist.
b. ^ Appearances made before Whitehall became a regular panellist.
c. ^ One of their appearances was as a guest team captain.

Transmissions[edit]

Original series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 11 March 2010 13 May 2010 10
2 7 October 2010 11 November 2010 10
3 4 March 2011 29 April 2011 8
4 7 October 2011 18 November 2011 7
5 20 April 2012 8 June 2012 8
6 26 October 2012 14 December 2012 8
7 23 August 2013 11 October 2013 8
8 29 August 2014 17 October 2014 8

Specials[edit]

Date Entitle
20 May 2010 The Best of Series 1
27 May 2010 The Unseen Bits from Series 1
12 November 2010 The Best of Series 2
19 December 2010 The Unseen Bits from Series 2
23 December 2010 Christmas Special
6 May 2011 The Unseen Bits from Series 3 (Part 1)
13 May 2011 The Best of Series 3 (Part 1)
20 May 2011 The Best of Series 3 (Part 2)
27 May 2011 The Unseen Bits from Series 3 (Part 2)
16 December 2011 End of Year Special
6 January 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 4
13 January 2012 The Best of Series 4
15 June 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 5 (Part 1)
22 June 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 5 (Part 2)
29 June 2012 The Best of Series 5
21 December 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 6 (Part 1)
28 December 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 6 (Part 2)
18 October 2013 The Unseen Bits from Series 7 (Part 1)
25 October 2013 The Unseen Bits from Series 7 (Part 2)
1 November 2013 The Best of the Rally Car Special
8 November 2013 The Best of Series 7
17 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 1)
24 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 2)
31 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 3)
31 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 4)
24 December 2014 Christmas Special

Australian version[edit]

An Australian version of A League of Their Own aired on Network Ten on 16 September 2013. It was presented by comedian Tommy Little and the captains were tennis star Pat Cash and swimmer Eamon Sullivan. The series had ten episodes. Nine episodes were broadcast with the tenth episode being viewed online after it was cancelled to immediate effect after posting a disappointing rating in the show's ninth week.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Whitehall joins Sky1's 'A League of Their Own' for fifth series Morgan Jeffery, Digital Spy, 15 March 2012
  2. ^ "Sky orders another three series of A League of Their Own". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Official A League of Their Own Twitter page Twitter, July 2014
  4. ^ a b c d e "A League of Their Own". The British Comedy Guide. n.d. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Natalie Jamieson (20 January 2010). "Corden wants David Beckham for a Sport Relief sketch". Newsbeat (BBC Radio 1). Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Alex Fletcher, (10 March 2010). "Redknapp nervous about comedy show". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Alex Fletcher, (10 March 2010). "Thompson: 'I'm out of comfort zone'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "A League of Their Own". Pinewood Studios. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "A League of Their Own – Production Details". The British Comedy Guide. n.d. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Dan French (20 October 2009). "Corden, Redknapp for Sky1's 'League'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Corden to host sports quiz". Chortle.co.uk. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Watch James Corden in A League of Their Own ad". The Guardian (London). 19 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  13. ^ Keith Watson (12 March 2010). "James Corden steps into Sue Barker role for A League of Their Own". Metro. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  14. ^ Sharon Lougher, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh (11 March 2010). "Today's TV highlights". Metro. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  15. ^ Harry Venning (15 March 2010). "TV review". The Stage. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 

External links[edit]