Flintoff warned McGuinness to be careful over Question of Sport job

Question of Sport: Paddy McGuinness opens the show

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Sue Barker presented BBC’s Question of Sport for 24 years and stepped down from the role after a major shake-up to the programme. Top Gear star Paddy McGuinness took over alongside new team captains Sam Queck and Ugo Monye but has since explained pal Freddie Flintoff advised him before he agreed to take the job.

When it was first announced Paddy would be fronting the BBC series, the comedian said: “I love the fiercely competitive nature of sports stars coupled with having a laugh.

“This is an honour and opportunity I’m certainly not taking lightly. I grew up with both Davids hosting but it’s Sue who made this show her own.

“She will always be A Question Of Sport icon, but I’ll try my best to stamp my own mark on it.”

Now, he has opened up about the warning he received from friend and ex-cricketer Freddie before taking the presenting role.

Speaking on The Monday Mile podcast with Olympian Aimee Fuller, Paddy explained: “For me personally, the pressure I felt, I felt it more for A Question of Sport than Top Gear.

“I remember Freddie, when I got the job, and he rang me up and said ‘Oh God, be careful because it can be talked about online and stuff’.

“[Freddie] said he stood in on a sports breakfast show for a month and he said the abuse he got, an ex-sports person, the ashes and all that.

“He said ‘even I got abuse.’ So there’s something about sport. People get a bit militant.”

Paddy explained he also had similar feelings when he joined Top Gear alongside Freddie and Chris Harris.

He said: “I love Top Gear. I had nothing to do with the show. I’d never been on it as a guest, nothing. I knew it caused a lot of friction on Twitter, but listen, what doesn’t?”

“[But] You’ve got to go for it. I’ve always kept this philosophy of if it’s offered to you, and you think it’s within your realms of possibility doing it, then just go for it. Because why regret it later on in life, you know?”.

Last year September, The Sun reported the BBC show’s ratings had plummeted, losing millions of viewers since Paddy took over.

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One episode peaked at 750,000, compared to the four million viewers that tuned in when Sue was the host.

Question of Sport viewers have been quick to slam the series and took to their Twitter accounts to slam the sports show.

@FacileTalk tweeted: “I like how they’ve done away with the ‘Mystery Guest’ round, and instead, you have half an hour to try & guess who the guests are & what they do. #QuestionOfSport #AQuestionOfSport.” (sic)

@timbo2050 commented: “Does anyone watch #QuestionOfSport anymore? It’s dire. The panelists are third rate. Not even amusing. Ruined a once fun programme. @BBC.”

@rodbishop15 added: “Used to love #QuestionOfSport but I can’t bear to watch it now. It’s all woke minority sports and populated by uninteresting panellists and an unfunny gobby presenter. @bbc.”

@Stilly49 said: “@QuestionofSport get this dribble off. Get Sue, Matt and Phil back on the show this is horrendous. Also terrible decision changing the start up tune …. #questionofsport #bbc #tv #sport #quiz.” (sic)

@Smudger01979 tweeted: “@QuestionofSport why is every other question about American Football? The wokeness is as subtle as frying pan the face #questionofsport #americanfootballobsession.” (sic)

Top Gear series 1-33 is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Question of Sport airs on Fridays on BBC One at 7.30pm.

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