Home Origin BBC Version Jeux Sans Frontières Royal Knockout Channel 5 Presenters Versions Memorabilia


It's A Knockout - The BBC Series.
The first BBC series in 1966 was hosted by McDonald Hobley with the various assistance of Charlie Chester and Ted Ray. The referees being Eddie Waring and Stuart Hall !

The second series was billed as McDonald Hobley (presenter) and David Vine (Master of Ceremonies). In 1968 Katie Boyle replaced McDonald Hobley. Rugby commentator Eddie Waring was then promoted to co-host when it is said that Katie walked out during a recording. The programs popularity was growing series upon series and doing well in the tv ratings. However when David Vine chose to leave the program the BBC were left with the problem of who to fill his shoes.

Stuart Hall.
It was then in 1972 that a reluctant Stuart Hall agreed to present the show by BBC bosses.  Stuarts unique style of presentation soon added a greater presence to the show.

Reasons for this could be his articulate and imaginative commentary, enthusiasm and energy, but most definitely his enormous laugh when contestants invariably mucked the games up.

Each week the show would travel the UK’s regions so that local teams could compete within camera shot of a local historic backdrop, usually with the towns dignitaries being on hand to present the winning trophy.

Former World Cup referee Arthur Ellis was chief referee (later assisted by Mike Swann). Although both Stuart and Eddie co-hosted the show, Eddie introduced the Marathon game. This game ran in multiple heats in between the other main games. Just before the main finale game the scores for the Marathon would be added onto the running totals for the teams.

Joker Cards.
Teams would also “play their joker” on the game they considered they would perform best at. This considered of a large playing card style joker being presented before the start of the game and double points being awarded for their score on it.

The earlier games started off as almost school sports day type tasks. As the show became more popular the equipment became larger and more involved. At its peak it took five days to assemble the three articulated lorries full of equipment.

Each UK regional winner went on to represent Great Britain in the international version of the show called Jeux Sans Frontières.  At it’s peek in 1979, It’s A Knockout was watched by over 15 million people in the UK.

In 1982 Eddie Waring retired so for this series various celebrities were brought in each week to co-host with Stuart.  These included Brian Cant, Vince Hill, Tom O'Connor, Maggie Philbin and Keith Chegwin !

The show ran on the BBC until 1987 when it ran a special Royal charity version called Knockout The Grand Charity Tournament.


Home     Origin    BBC Series    JSF    Royal Knockout    Channel 5    Presenters   Other Versions    Memorabilia    Links