They Think It's All Over (TV series)
|They Think It's All Over|
|Created by||Bill Matthews
|Presented by||Nick Hancock (1995–2004)
Lee Mack (2005–06)
David Gower (1995–2003)
Gary Lineker (1995–2003)
Phil Tufnell (2003–04)
David Seaman (2003–04)
Ian Wright (2004-06)
Boris Becker (2005-6)
Lee Hurst (1995-97)
Jonathan Ross (1999-2005)
Sean Lock (2006)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||19|
|No. of episodes||154 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Talkback (1995-2005)
Talkback Thames (2006)
|Picture format||4:3 (1995–2000)
|Original run||14 September 1995– 9 June 2006|
They Think It's All Over is a British comedy panel game with a sporting theme produced by Talkback and shown on BBC1. The show's name is taken from Kenneth Wolstenholme's famous 1966 World Cup commentary quotation, "they think it's all over...it is now!" and the show used the phrase as the last line of every programme. In 2006 the show was axed after 11 years of being on-air.
The show was originally presented by comedian Nick Hancock. Ex-England football team captain Gary Lineker and ex-England cricket team captain David Gower were the show's team captains from 1995 until they announced their retirement from the show in 2003. They were replaced as team captains by ex-England football goalkeeper David Seaman and ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell. Former footballer Ian Wright took over from David Seaman in autumn 2004. From October 2005, Boris Becker replaced Tufnell and Lee Mack took over from Hancock as host.
Occasionally, a team captain was unable to appear on the show due to other commitments (for example David Gower going to commentate on the cricket for Sky Sports), so guest captains have been drafted in. Six times World Snooker Champion Steve Davis was a regular choice as guest captain, while Matthew Pinsent, Mark Lawrenson, Mick McCarthy, Sam Torrance, Steve Backley, Sharron Davies, Linford Christie and Michael Johnson also appeared in this role. Additionally, Ian Wright was a guest captain before becoming a permanent team captain.
Each team also had a regular panellist. For the team which was originally captained by Gary Lineker this had been Rory McGrath for the entire show's run. David Gower was originally teamed up with Lee Hurst. Lee left the show in 1997 because the format was getting stale not because he has ankylosing spondylitis. although he made a reappearance in 2004 on David Seaman's team) and was replaced for the next two series by a rotating line-up of comedians - Jonathan Ross, Jo Brand, Alan Davies and Phill Jupitus. Despite regularly admitting to having limited sporting knowledge, Ross became the permanent panellist until leaving the show in 2006, and was replaced by Sean Lock for the World Cup and summer sports special editions. The third member of each team varied from week to week, and would typically be a notable sportsperson or comedian.
The show was originally produced for BBC Radio 5, where it was hosted by Des Lynam. The devisers, Simon Bullivant and Bill Matthews, started work on a TV version in 1993, but it was two years before it made it to air. Des Lynam did record a pilot in early 1994, but decided not to do the already commissioned series, which was then put on hold.
In 1999 and 2001, as part of the BBC's Comic Relief broadcasts, one-off special programmes were made called Have I Got Buzzcocks All Over, which combined elements of the show with Have I Got News for You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, with Angus Deayton as host.
Kenneth Wolstenholme was unhappy with the use of the phrase for the title of the show. He wrote in his autobiography that he had contacted the BBC to find out what relevance the title had to his most famous line, uttered 30 years earlier. However, when the show was first commissioned, he did accept a fee to re-record his famous commentary for the opening titles, as the original was unusable.
Throughout the series, the rounds have varied each week. Here are some of them.
- Excuses, where the teams are shown a clip of a sportsperson or a team, and are asked what excuse they gave for a sporting or personal misdemeanour. Examples include Tommy Docherty explaining that Scotland lost 7-0 in the 1954 World Cup to Uruguay because "they were shattered just standing for the National Anthem", and Scottish tennis player Andy Murray claimed that he vomited on the court at the US Open in 2005 because he'd been drinking an isotonic drink to stop him from cramping, but he drank too much too quickly. On a special edition video-only episode of No Holds Barred, Gary's team was asked for Tommy Docherty's excuse for Manchester United's infamous relegation of 1973-74, with Lineker's answer "He wanted to bring pleasure to millions?". Another edition of the excuses round, seen the 1992 Manchester United team blame Rod Stewart for ruining their Old Trafford pitch at a concert a week before the season ended. The team took a very small number of points on offer in the run-up to the end of the season, only to allow Leeds United to take the honours. A video of a 1992 Manchester United player recalling the events, while explaining the excuse was shown, only for him to stamp on a copy of one of Stewart's albums breaking the vinyl while still inside the sleeve.
- Celebrations, where the teams are shown a clip of a sportsperson celebrating in a fanciful way, and are asked what the celebration is in aid of. Examples include Arsenal striker Thierry Henry celebrating a goal by recreating the Budweiser "Whassup?" advert, and Manchester United midfielder Lee Sharpe celebrating a goal by recreating a pose of his boyhood hero Elvis Presley. One of the more memorable reactions to not winning this round occurred when Matthew Corbett and Sooty were guests and when denied points, Sooty went on to squirt Nick in the face with a water pistol.
- Sporting Bluff, in which the teams are given three statements about a sportsperson and have to guess which one is true.
- What's Going On?, where the teams are shown a sporting clip and are asked to decipher what's going on, quite literally. Examples include former cricket umpire Dickie Bird taking part in a photo opportunity with the Yorkshire players picked for the England cricket team, dressed in a chef's outfit and cooking them Yorkshire puddings, and serial practical joker (and Eric Cantona lookalike) Karl Power joining the Manchester United team for a photo before a Champions League match in 2001.
- Photo-fit, where the teams are shown a picture of three sportspersons merged into one. The teams then have to guess who they are. Sometimes after the sportspersons are revealed, they are asked for the connection between them for a bonus point. On many occasions, Rory McGrath liked to joke that he recognised the person in the photo, as an ex-girlfriend he'd previously had sexual encounters with.
- Author Author, in which the teams hear a quote, and have to guess which sportsperson said it. Quotes include former Liverpool F.C. manager Gérard Houllier on why he turns down offers of international coaching and a quote from athlete Roger Black's autobiography on his admiration of David Gower.
- Sing When You're Winning, in which the teams must complete the lyrics to a chant performed by football fans or the Barmy Army. A memorable moment from this round saw Chris Eubank complete a poem by the Barnsley F.C. poet, with the line "I'm having a laugh", when the line was "We'll be champions come May".
- Handbags, where the teams must work out the reasons of a rift between sportspersons. Examples of rifts include football team Peterborough United F.C. and Victoria Beckham over the rights to use the nickname "Posh", and athlete David Bedford and communications company InfoNXX over the 118 118 runners looking like him.
- Grandstand, in which the teams are shown a bizarre multi-sport event and are asked to come up with events played in them. These include, the Eskimo Olympics, the Naked Olympics and the Tough Guy Sports.
- The Treble, where the teams are shown three sportspersons and three items, and have to link each sportsperson to an item.
- Electronic Pencil, where the teams are shown a sporting clip, which is stopped before the action gets exciting, and the teams have to draw where the sportsman or the ball is going to go. The round was dropped after series 2, but revived for the 100th show in 2001.
- Injury Board, in which the teams pick a number between 1 and 12. Behind each number is a sports person and another person or item, and work out how the latter injured the former. Examples include Newbury rugby club and some Vaseline (to which guest Julian Clary suggested "maybe there was sand in it.") and Dennis Wise and a toilet seat. This round was also a parody of A Question of Sport, another BBC TV quiz show.
- Feel The Sportsman, one of the most popular rounds of the show, in which the regular panelists have to try to identify a mystery guest, or their sporting notability, by touch whilst blindfolded. Guests subjected to a groping include Will Carling, Ashia Hansen, Victor Ubogu, Jonah Lomu (who infamously appeared minutes after Chris Eubank expressed his dislike for him), Andy Fordham, Manc Union Paintball Team, Arsenal Women's Football Team (which Rory guessed right on the whistle), Aylesbury United F.C. in their infamous 1995 FA Cup conga goal celebration and of course, some female lacrosse, rugby and cricket players, especially when Rory McGrath is involved. One notable variant in 2001 saw the regulars feeling an animal, having been shown a clip of Sven-Göran Eriksson on the Italian version of the show in a "Feel the Animal" round. David Gower and Jonathan Ross correctly guessed their animal (a zebra) but Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath failed to get theirs (an alligator - they failed to even touch it), with McGrath removing his blindfold and running off the set in panic. Another famous example involved a slight change in the rules, in that Sharron Davies, who was a guest (rather than a regular) contestant took part in the feeling. The sportsman was her then husband Derek Redmond, whom she recognised. In one of the Christmas specials, Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath got a pair of gut-bargers, with McGrath (who has on regular occasions portrayed as being perverted and making lewd comments) being more concerned with the bargers' assistant glamour model Lindsey Dawn McKensie. Very few women ever donned the blindfolds for Feel the Sportsman, the select few who managed it are Sharron Davies, Jo Brand, Jodie Kidd, Kirsty Gallagher, Gabby Yorath (now Logan) and Pauline McLynn, though Sue Barker did for a Comic Relief special in 2008. Sharron was also the only female to guest captain the original show, explaining why so few ladies got the chance to take part in the feeling aspect of the show.
- Claim To Fame, introduced in 2005, in which a sportsperson is subjected to a line of questioning by the panel. as to their claim to fame. Mystery people include Paul Barber, a member of the gold medal winning British 1988 Olympic hockey team, Judy Grinham, gold medal winning 100m backstroke swimmer at the 1956 Olympics, and Tommy Gemmell, one of the Celtic European Cup winning team of 1967.
- The Physical Challenge, where the teams are subject to displaying their physique on an exercise bike, tricycle or other exercise apparatus. The harder they pedal, the faster an image appears on screen, and the teams have to name the image before moving onto the next one. The team captain starts off before a klaxon is sounded, then the regular sidekick takes over. Occasionally, the guests had a go. This round only lasted throughout the 2004 series.
- The Name Game, in which the regular sidekick has to give clues about a famous sportsperson for the other team members to guess. Variants include the sidekick having to draw the clues, give clues as to team names, do impressions or a mime of the sportsperson. One famous incident in this round, saw Rory get a point deduction for giving clues like "Same first name as Ian Rush, same last name as Ian Botham". Rory also got away with pretending Gary gave an answer when he didn't, by saying "That's right, speak up!". He also criticised the media hype over Ryan Giggs's winning FA Cup semi-final goal against Arsenal, by giving the clue "Welsh football player, scored what is probably the most overrated goal of the season". Chris Eubank was also given an extra question in this round by Nick Hancock after the whistle blew for "taking over" the show.
- Sporting Vogue, introduced in 2005, where the team captain has to strike a famous pose by a sportsperson for their teammates to guess.
- School Sports Day, shown only on the video-exclusive No Holds Barred episode, this was a pre-recorded segment featuring the regulars participating in a school sports day at King's College School as though it was covered by Grandstand, with Nick as the presenter and Gerald Sinstadt as the commentator. The events were the Egg-and-spoon race, the Three-legged race, the Egg Catching (with England cricketer Nasser Hussain throwing the eggs), the Obstacle course and the Sack race, along with a random drugs test with Rory (in which he correctly identified all the drugs on the table). Throughout this segment, Gary's clothing (and sack) were adorned with the Walkers logo, poking fun of his adverts of the crisps. Although Gary won the individual contest, David's team earned more points in the sports day, and back in the studio were awarded one point for their efforts.
DVD and video releases
- The Very Best of They Think Its All Over - 10th Anniversary (2005)
- The Very Best of They Think Its All Over Interactive DVD Game (2007)
- They Think It's All Over - No Holds Barred (1996)
- They Think It's All Over - Full Throttle (1997)
- They Think It's All Over - Below The Belt (1998)
- They Think It's All Over - Complete (1999) - Existing No Holds Barred and Below The Belt videos re-packaged as a double video set.
- They Think It's All Over- Ungentlemanly Conduct (2000)
- The "They Think It's All Over" Annual (1997) - an annual which parodied the style of children's comic annuals.
- They Think It's All Over (1998) - audiobook highlights compilation, part of the Canned Laughter series of releases.
- They Think It's All Over at UKGameshows.com
- They Think It's All Over at TV.com
- They Think It's All Over at the Internet Movie Database