Saturday Kitchen: Matt tells Phil Tufnell 'stop writing my script'
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The former cricketer is on screens this morning as he joins fellow celebrities Bez and Fleur East, and comedian Les Dennis, on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. The 55-year-old has remained a prominent voice in sport after he retired from the game in 2002, following a career which saw him earn 42 Test caps for England. His cheeky demeanour quickly made him a hit with viewers after he starred on a variety of shows including, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, and quiz show, They Think It’s All Over.
But it’s his time spent on the BBC’s A Question of Sport which turned Tufnell into a household name, as he was a regular captain on the show.
Replacing Ally McCoist in 2008, Tufnell – affectionately known as Tuffers – enjoyed huge acclaim from fellow captain Matt Dawson, and the programme’s host, Sue Barker.
Despite the public’s love of the warm trio, viewers were left infuriated after the BBC decided to remove all three from their positions last year.
Earlier this year, the corporation confirmed they would be replaced by Paddy McGuiness, Sam Quek and Ugo Monye.
Yet the plan to “diversify” the panel was torn apart by commentators, including GB News’ Alastair Stewart.
Mr Stewart said the BBC’s claim that the move was in order to get the show to appeal to a younger demographic was “ridiculous”.
TalkRADIO’s Mike Graham also commented that the three presenters were being punished for being “too white and too middle-aged”.
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In a debate on the topic, Mr Graham also spoke with Calvin Robinson, a campaigner for Defund the BBC.
He said: “It’s identity politics, it’s tick-boxing, again, superficial diversity.
“What we want at the BBC is diversity of thought and opinion, we want more people from working class backgrounds, more people that are right-wing to balance out all the left-wing indoctrination and all the woke, metropolitan liberal elites.
“So let’s get rid of all this woke nonsense and have some balance at the BBC.”
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The decision was made in September 2020, with a BBC spokesperson at the time commending Barker, Dawson and Tufnell for making A Question of Sport a “firm favourite with the BBC One audience”.
They added: “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.”
Tufnell posted an emotional message after the news broke, saying the show had been “a great part of life” and that he was “going to miss it hugely”.
In a separate post, Dawson added: “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.”
Barker, meanwhile, told the Daily Mirror that hosting A Question of Sport had been “my dream job”, concluding: “But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.”
Such was the bitterness from enraged viewers, Jilly-Anne Skinner even launched a petition to try and get the threesome back on the panel.
The petition read: “Leave it alone! Stop making your programmes political and leave long standing shows that work and people enjoy alone!”
Sunday Brunch airs at 9.30am today on Channel 4.
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