Sportsmasters (ITV, 1989-1991)
Sportsmasters was a game show where contestants were tested on their sporting knowledge. It was produced by HTV West who didn’t make too many contributions to the network, and it was shown in a Saturday afternoon slot, seemingly when ITV had run out of editions of Saint & Greavsie.
Sportsmasters was hosted by Dickie Davies in what I’m fairly sure was his last contribution to ITV Sport, as World Of Sport, the show that he is most famous for presenting, ended in 1985. Dickie also produced the show and several of his family members worked behind the scenes. I didn’t remember too much about this show but then pleasingly I found an edition on YouTube which brought it all back and made it possible for me to explain in this piece how it worked.
In each edition three contestants took part. In the first round the contestants were shown a short clip of some sporting action and then they were asked one question each about it. In the second round contestants were asked more various sporting questions, including ones which a had a picture clue. Let’s hope they remembered to put the slide in the right way round.
In the next round the contestants faced questions individually on their specialist sporting subject for one minute, scoring two points for every correct answer. The final round was a straightforward buzzer round, with again two points for a correct answer, but this time one point was deducted for an incorrect one. When the bell rang the two highest-scorers went through to the final with the scores being reset to zero. Again questions on various sporting moments were asked, and the winner progressed to the next round, with there being an overall winner at the end of the series. I don’t remember what the star prize was, but I’m sure it was something fancy.
Prizes on offer in the earlier rounds included various sports equipment and pocket TVs. Big budget stuff this wasn’t, but they did make the studio audience go “oooh” when they were announced so that’s always a sign of quality, probably. For some reason the final series in 1991 was retitled Grand Sportsmasters, although there didn’t seem to be any changes to the rules.
Although Sportsmasters isn’t as well known as A Question Of Sport, and the questions weren’t as challenging as Sport Mastermind, and looking back it’s not that fancy, but I do remember spending afternoons watching this show. Probably not too surprisingly it’s never had a repeat run, there is little about the show online and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry.
There was also one other odd thing that I noticed when re-watching Sportsmasters because I don’t get out much. The desk that the contestants sat at seems to be the same one that was used in Channel 4’s The Music Game which I reviewed a while back. Then I realised that both shows were an HTV West production, and as The Music Game launched the year after Sportsmasters ended, maybe that piece of the set was recycled. Well if it still works you shouldn’t throw it out should you.