Sue Barker seen for first time since A Question Of Sport axe

Sue Barker, 64, takes her dogs for a walk in the Cotswolds as she is seen for the first time since being AXED as A Question Of Sport host in ‘diversity shake up’ after 24 years

  • The former tennis player and TV presenter, 64, was seen walking her two dogs, Batty and Charlie, on Monday after the news broke last week
  • The BBC has faced backlash after announcing it had axed Sue, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell from A Question Of Sport in a move to ‘diversify’ the show 
  • Sue, who will stay on as the corporation’s face of Wimbledon , told of her sadness at having to leave the show after more than two decades 
  • Former footballer Alex Scott, 35, is widely rumoured to be the new host of the show and previously appeared on it back in November 2016 

Sue Barker has been pictured for the first time since it was revealed she had been axed as host from A Question Of Sport after 24 years.

The former tennis player and TV presenter, 64, was seen walking her two dogs, Batty and Charlie, in the Cotswolds on Monday, after the news broke she would be replaced in a ‘diversity’ shake up.

Sue was dressed down for the stroll in a blue T-shirt, black trousers and a pair of walking boots, while she also wore a sweatshirt over her shoulders.

Stepping out: Sue Barker has been pictured for the first time since it was revealed she had been axed as host from A Question Of Sport after 24 years

Last week The BBC faced backlash after announcing it had axed Sue, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell from A Question Of Sport in a move to ‘diversify’ the show. 

Sue has been axed as host of the show, alongside the team captains, so that bosses can draft in fresh talent to revamp the long-running sports quiz.

Sue, who will stay on as the corporation’s face of Wimbledon, told of her sadness at having to leave the show after more than two decades.

Moving on: The TV presenter, 64, was seen walking her two dogs, Batty and Charlie, in the Cotswolds on Monday, after the news broke she would be replaced in a shake up

Low-key: Sue was dressed down for the stroll in a blue T-shirt, black trousers and a pair of walking boots, while she also wore a sweatshirt over her shoulders

She said that the BBC had to remove her from A Question Of Sport as she would never have left her dream job voluntarily.

The BBC, now led by director-general Tim Davie, said it was dedicated to finding ways to appeal to younger audiences.

But the move has sparked fury from critics who accused the BBC of ageism, including former BBC radio and TV presenter Wendy Austin who tweeted: ‘No ageism/sexism in the BBC then…’

Announcement: Last week The BBC faced backlash after announcing it has axed Sue, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell from A Question Of Sport in a move to ‘diversify’ the show

Ex-newsreader Jennie Bond told GMB today: ‘Sue will be hurting this morning. You can’t do anything about your age and there is a pressure on television, particularly for women, to look younger.’ 

Sources disclosed to Sportsmail that Alex Scott, the former Arsenal and England defender, is well-liked by the broadcaster and in the mix to replace Barker as presenter. 

Amid the rumours, Gary Lineker caused a furore when he tweeted that Alex had been confirmed as Sue’s replacement on A Question Of Sport, leaving the BBC forced to deny the appointment had been made. 

The 59-year-old BBC pundit wrote on Twitter on Thursday: ‘Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport. 

‘Smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role. Oh… and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.’ 

Awkward: Gary Lineker caused a furore on Twitter on Thursday when he congratulated Alex Scott (pictured at the weekend) on becoming Sue’s replacement as host of A Question Of Sport – forcing the BBC to deny this has been confirmed

A BBC Spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘This is all speculation, and no conversations have been made about the future line-up.’ 

Meanwhile, a source claimed that rumours Alex would be given the new job had ‘nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke’. 

An insider told The Sun that Alex was ‘lined up’ as Sue’s replacement because she has lots of sporting knowledge and experience.

They said: ‘Like Sue, she’s a former sportswoman and she also has five years of broadcasting under her belt.

‘This has nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke. 

The source also explained how Alex had impressed BBC bosses when she appeared on the show in the past.

Ex-Tottenham and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas is also in the running to become one of the new team captains, with the BBC keen to diversify. 

Sue Barker, 64, (centre) has been axed as host of BBC’s A Question Of Sport, alongside team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right), so that bosses can draft in fresh talent


Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott have both been tipped to join A Question of Sport in the future

Dawson said yesterday: ‘Thanks for all the lovely messages. I’m not sure how to respond so I’ll have a think. Needless to say I will miss A Question of Sport immensely.’

Following the announcement, Phil Tufnell tweeted that he was ‘going to miss it hugely’

This comes as the new director-general of the BBC is to instigate a major clampdown on news stars over their use of social media and their lucrative moonlighting for other companies, in a bid to strengthen rules on impartiality at the corporation.

Mr Davie is also reportedly looking to slash the headcount of the BBC’s public service arm, which employs more than 19,000 people. 

Who has hosted and captained the popular BBC quiz show?

The popular BBC series has only ever had three hosts. David Vine was first in the hot heat in 1970 with team captains Henry Cooper and Cliff Morgan.

He covered most of the 1970s before being replaced by David Coleman in 1979.

Coleman presided over the show for 18 years before finally being replaced by Barker in 1997.  

The first team captains were boxer Henry Cooper and Wales rugby union star Cliff Morgan. 

Morgan was replaced in 1977 by Olympic medallist Brendan Foster. In 1979 the new captains became Welsh rugby star Gareth Edwards and Emlyn Hughes.

They last until 1982 and were replaced by former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont and jockey Willy Carson.

The popular Carson was replaced by previous captain Hughes in 1984 before being later replaced by cricket star Ian Botham.

Beaumont and Botham spent years battling each other as captains leading to many memorably moments on the show before they were replaced by football star Ally McCoist and snooker legend John Parrott in 1996.

Parrott left in 2002 and was replaced by jockey Frankie Dettori. He lasted two years before being replaced by scrum-half Matt Dawson.

Phil Tufnell then replaced McCoist in 2008.  

GB hockey player Kate Richardson-Walsh, who has appeared on the show, tweeted: ‘I think Sue Barker is a brilliant presenter and she has blazed a trail. Matt and Tuffers have also brought so much knowledge and fun to the show.

‘At the same time, I welcome change to hopefully represent a broader demographic.’

Sue told Sportsmail at the time: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away.

‘I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question Of Sport, it’s been my dream job,’ she said.

‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’

Sue will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year.

Sportsmail understands she signed a new three-year contract last year to carry her through until at least 2022, something that will come as a relief to many viewers. 

Sue has not only fronted the TV coverage, but carried out interviews on Centre Court following some of the most watched events in British sport of recent decades, such as Andy Murray’s first win in 2013.

She will also continue to be in the chair for the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in November and the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club, which are also part of her deal. 

A BBC spokesman 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 over 16 and 12 years respectively.’ 

Phil tweeted that he was ‘going to miss it hugely’. 

Matt, who recently announced he is separating from his wife after 11 years, said: ‘Thanks for all the lovely messages. I’m not sure how to respond so I’ll have a think. Needless to say I will miss A Question of Sport immensely.’

As recently as July, Sue raved about her continued love for the programme – which celebrated its 50th anniversary in January – and said that her 24 years behind the desk had flown by.

‘I love presenting all the sport, but A Question Of Sport is just something that’s so close to my heart,’ she told The Johanna Konta Podcast.

‘I grew up watching it as a kid, I used to be on it and watch with my family, so it’s something that’s always been very special to me.’

Broadcasting legend Alistair Stewart was among those expressing outrage at the decision – warning TV risks ‘losing its way’

Viewers took to social media to share their views on the announcement – with many seemingly unhappy about the shake-up 

 The show, which was first broadcast in 1970, has always had a loyal viewership of around three to four million per episode but has failed to attract young viewers. Ms Barker is pictured here in 1998 with the then team captains – footballer Ally McCoist, left, and snooker star John Parrott

The former tennis player, pictured as a BBC host in 1996, will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year

TV presenter Wendy Austin tweeted: ‘No ageism/sexism in the BBC then…’

Debating the move today, former BBC newsreader Jennie Bond told Good Morning Britain: ‘I felt that I was pushed out [from the BBC] – or that I was certainly asked to leave news presenting.

‘I remember getting the call and being told that we’re getting a new stable of faces in and one or two of us were pushed out, strangely, we were both in our fifties…so I think that was ageist.’

The show, which was first broadcast in 1970, has always had a loyal viewership of around three to four million per episode but has failed to attract young viewers.

Last year Ofcom warned that the BBC could risk losing a ‘generation of viewers’ as less than half of young people aged 16-24 tuned into BBC TV channels in an average week. 

The final series of A Question Of Sport featuring Barker, Tufnell and Dawson will be shown next year.

The popular BBC series has only ever had three hosts. David Vine was first in the hot heat in 1970 with team captains Henry Cooper and Cliff Morgan.

He covered most of the 1970s before being replaced by David Coleman in 1979.

Coleman presided over the show for 18 years before finally being replaced by Barker in 1997.

The first team captains were boxer Henry Cooper and Wales rugby union star Cliff Morgan.  Morgan was replaced in 1977 by Olympic medallist Brendan Foster. 

In 1979 the new captains became Welsh rugby star Gareth Edwards and Emlyn Hughes.

They lasted until 1982 and were replaced by former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont and jockey Willy Carson.

The popular Carson was replaced by previous captain Hughes in 1984 before being later replaced by cricket star Ian Botham.

Beaumont and Botham spent years battling each other as captains leading to many memorably moments on the show before they were replaced by football star Ally McCoist and snooker legend John Parrott in 1996.

Parrott left in 2002 and was replaced by jockey Frankie Dettori. 

He lasted two years before being replaced by scrum-half Matt Dawson. 

Phil Tufnell then replaced McCoist in 2008.

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