| ||Quiz host sacked for lack of indiscretions
30 Oct 2002
Sue Barker, the presenter of BBC One quiz show A Question of Sport, was sensationally sacked last night following revelations about her private life. Mrs Barker, a former tennis ace, had fronted the panel game since 1997, but after revelations about her appeared in a tabloid newspaper BBC bosses decided her position was "untenable".
"It is with a heavy heart we announce that Sue is to leave the programme with immediate effect," said BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey. "Sue has been an excellent host and will be sadly missed, but we feel that she no longer has the credibility to present the show."
In May, the News of the World claimed that Mrs Barker "plays scrabble several times a week" while drinking "dangerously hot chocolate". Two months later allegations surfaced that she was a member of the Women's Institute, complete with paparazzi photographs of her baking a small cake, and last week the barrage of abuse continued with an attack on the size of her nose.
Media commentators are not surprised she was fired. "She really had to go," said the Guardian's Douglas Ramsbottom. "When she started on the show there was a bit of mystery about her – some people even fancied her – but now we know that she's a cocoa-drinking Scrabble addict there's no way she could stay on. She's just not the sort of person we want presenting a prime-time TV show on BBC One."
Panellist Ally McCoist is to stand in as presenter in the next edition of the show, but the search is now on for a permanent replacement. A popular choice would be Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who currently has very little to do owing to the BBC's lack of football to cover, but BBC insiders say that breakfast news presenter Dermot Murnaghan is being lined up for the job, along with that of presenting Have I Got News For You, hosting a new satire show on BBC Choice, reading every news bulletin on BBC One and fronting Animal Hospital "when we get rid of Rolf".
Oi, down here!