Thursday, 2 April 2015
127 We Are The Champions
First watched : June 1973
This low budget cross between a school sports day and It's A Knockout proved to be a winner with a revival on Sport Relief as recently as 2010.
Hosted by po-faced athletics commentator Ron Pickering and a sporting celebrity guest, the programme featured three or four teams of sporty youngsters - aged around 11 or 12 - representing their schools in a series of challlenges ( usually similar to those on It's A Knockout in milder and scaled down form ) split between field and pool. Each school bussed in a load of other pupils to wave teddies and enviously cheer their school mates on .It famously concluded with Pickering shouting " Away you go ! " and the competitors jumping back in the pool as the credits ran.
Although school sports and PE were usually something of a nightmare for me I didn't mind watching this. My sister was a bit more interested in sport , if little more co-ordinated, so was the keener viewer.
The show barely survived the mid-eighties re-vamp of childrens TV on BBC1. After 1987 it was restricted to an annual one-off special and these continued after Pickering's death in 1991. Though he was already a smooth football pundit, the remaining shows through to 1995 gave Gary Lineker his first presenting gig.
Most of the recordings, even from the eighties , were dumped fairly soon afterwards so as far as I can tell no future sporting star has been identified as having been a competitor on the programme.