Question of Sport captains defend Paddy McGuinness over backlash ‘What’s the fuss about?’

Paddy McGuinness on changes to A Question of Sport

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A Question of Sport returns tonight on BBC One with a revamped panel running the programme. When BBC bosses announced Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness would be replacing Sue Barker as the host, many people questioned the move. However, team captains Sam Quek and Ugo Monye have jumped to Paddy’s defence ahead of the new series airing. 

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk ahead of tonight’s episode, Sam stepped in to defend Paddy, 48, for stepping into Sue Barker’s shoes.  

Former professional tennis player Sue Barker presented the popular quiz programme for 24 years. 

Sam said: “I think it’s so important to remember it’s a sports quiz, it’s sport. 

“One of the best things about sport is that it’s inclusive to anyone, anyone’s background or age, especially in this show.

To watch the show, you don’t have to be a sports expert, you don’t have to play sports, so why is everyone making a fuss about the presenter not being an elite athlete, or having that experience?”

The gold medalist added: “It’s really important to remember that if sport is inclusive, it should be the same with a Question of Sport, and it is.” 

“You have to attract different audiences. I hope that it’s not just sports fans or sportspeople who are watching this show,” she added.

“I hope it’s people from different backgrounds, and who have different interests, who may watch the show for the 10th year, the 50th year, or the first time.”

The mum-of-one explained that she, Paddy, and Ugo get on “so well”, and said they also “represent different people and different things”. 

Sam and Ugo are replacing former captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell.

The Olympian, who will be the first-ever female captain in the show’s 50-year history, has previously presented American football on the BBC and rugby union on Channel 5. 

She has also appeared as a contestant on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Masterchef. 

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Former international rugby star Ugo also defended Paddy’s new hosting position and told Express.co.uk: “If I knew everything about sport in the last ten years, it wouldn’t be enough. 

“So you have got the different eras and the players, and the depth of knowledge you need on the show is unbelievable. 

“There is no upper hand because I could not do what Paddy does, and I don’t think Paddy could do what I have done.”

Ugo, 38, has played 14 times for England, almost 250 times for the Harlequins and twice for the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.

When discussing his Question of Sport co-stars, Paddy said: “I think it’s amazing doing this show with Sam and Ugo – knowing them as I do off-camera. When they answer stuff I do think, ‘Where did they pluck that from?’, so the knowledge is there 100 percent. 

“I think like anything, when it’s new, everyone’s wondering how it’s going to be.”

He added: “We haven’t gone mad, we think they will enjoy it. I like the dynamic and I like how it works. I have the answers so I don’t have to figure out the answers.”

Question Of Sport returns tonight at 7.35pm on BBC One.

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