They Think It's All Over (TV series)

They Think It's All Over (TV series)

Infobox British television
show_name = They Think It's All Over
format = Comedy panel game
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Bill Matthews & Simon Bullivant
starring = Nick Hancock Host (1995 - 2005) Lee Mack Host (2005 - 2006)
channel = BBC One
first_aired = 1995
last_aired = 2006
num_episodes =
producer =
related =

"They Think It's All Over" was a British Comedy panel game with a sporting theme produced by TalkbackTHAMES and shown on BBC One. The show's name is taken from Kenneth Wolstenholme's famous 1966 World Cup commentary quotation, "they think it's all is now!" and the show has heightened the popularity of the phrase (using it as the last line of every programme). In 2006 the show was axed after 11 years of being on-air. [ ] .


The show was originally presented by comedian Nick Hancock. Ex-England football team captain Gary Lineker and ex-England cricket team captain David Gower were the show's team captains from 1995 until they announced their retirement from the show in 2003. They were replaced as team captains by ex-England football goalkeeper David Seaman and ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell. Former footballer Ian Wright took over from David Seaman in autumn 2004. From October 2005, Boris Becker replaced Phil Tufnell and Lee Mack took over from comedian Nick Hancock as host.

Occasionally, a team captain was unable to appear on the show due to other commitments (for example David Gower going to commentate on the cricket for Sky Sports), so guest captains have been drafted in. Six times World Snooker Champion Steve Davis was a regular choice as guest captain, while Matthew Pinsent, Mark Lawrenson, Mick McCarthy, Sam Torrance, Steve Backley, Sharron Davies, Linford Christie and Michael Johnson also appeared in this role. Additionally, Ian Wright was a guest captain before becoming a permanent team captain.

Each team also has a regular panellist. For the team which was originally captained by Gary Lineker this has been Rory McGrath since the show's inception. David Gower was originally teamed up with Lee Hurst. Lee left the show in 1998 due to ankylosing spondylitis (although he made a reappearance in 2004 on David Seaman's team) and was replaced for the next two series by a rotating line-up of comedians - Jonathan Ross, Jo Brand, Alan Davies and Phill Jupitus. Despite regularly admitting to having limited sporting knowldge, Ross became the permanent panellist until leaving the show in 2006, and was replaced by Sean Lock for the World Cup and summer sports special editions. The third member of each team varies from week to week, and is usually a notable sportsperson or comedian.

The show was originally produced for BBC Radio 5, where it was hosted by Des Lynam. The devisers, Simon Bullivant and Bill Matthews, started work on a TV version in 1993, but it was two years before it made it to air. Des Lynam did record a pilot in early 1994, but decided not to do the already commissioned series, which was then put on hold.

In 1999 and 2001, as part of the BBC's Comic Relief broadcasts, one-off special programmes were made called "Have I Got Buzzcocks All Over", which combined elements of the show with "Have I Got News for You" and "Never Mind The Buzzcocks", with Angus Deayton as host.

Kenneth Wolstenholme was unhappy with the use of the phrase for the title of the show. [] . He wrote in his autobiography that he had contacted the BBC to find out what relevance the title had to his most famous line, uttered 30 years earlier. However, when the show was first commissioned, he did accept a fee to re-record his famous commentary for the opening titles, as the original was unusable.


Throughout the series, the rounds have varied each week. Here are some of them.
*"Excuses", where the teams are shown a clip of a sportsperson or a team, and are asked what excuse they gave for a sporting or personal misdemeanour. Examples include Tommy Docherty explaining that Scotland lost 7-0 in the 1954 World Cup to Uruguay because "they were shattered just standing for the National Anthem", and Scottish tennis player Andy Murray claimed that he vomited on the court at the US Open in 2005 because he'd been drinking an isotonic drink to stop him from cramping, but he drank too much too quickly. On a special edition video-only episode of "No Holds Barred", Gary's team was asked for Tommy Docherty's excuse for Manchester United's infamous relegation of 1973-74, with Lineker's answer "He wanted to bring pleasure to millions?".
*"Celebrations", where the teams are shown a clip of a sportsperson celebrating in a fanciful way, and are asked what the celebration is in aid of. Examples include Arsenal striker Thierry Henry celebrating a goal by recreating the Budweiser "Whassup?" advert, and Manchester United midfielder Lee Sharpe celebrating a goal by recreating a pose of his boyhood hero Elvis PresleyOne of the more memorable reactions to not winning this round is when Matthew Corbett and Sooty were guests and when denied points, Sooty went on to squirt Nick in the face with a water pistol.
*"Sporting Bluff", in which the teams are given three statements about a sportsperson and have to guess which one is true. For example, golfer Nick Faldo burst into tears on live television when he was either a) fined £50 for slow play; b) his wife had an affair with Noel Edmonds or c) he was teased about his haircut.
*"What's Going On?", where the teams are shown a sporting clip and are asked to decipher what's going on, quite literally. Examples include former cricket umpire Dickie Bird taking part in a photo opportunity with the Yorkshire players picked for the England cricket team, dressed in a chef's outfit and cooking them Yorkshire puddings, and serial practical joker (and Eric Cantona lookalike) Karl Power joining the Manchester United team for a photo before a Champions League match in 2001.
*"Photo-fit", where the teams are shown a picture of three sportspersons merged into one. The teams then have to guess who they are. Sometimes after the sportspersons are revealed, they are asked for the connection between them for a bonus point. On many occasions, Rory McGrath liked to joke that he recognised the person in the photo, as an ex-girlfriend he'd previously had sexual encounters with.
*"Author Author", in which the teams hear a quote, and have to guess which sportsperson said it. Quotes include former Liverpool FC manager Gérard Houllier on why he turns down offers of international coaching and a quote from athlete Roger Black's autobiography on his admiration of David Gower.
*"Sing When You're Winning", in which the teams must complete the lyrics to a chant performed by football fans or the Barmy Army.
*"Handbags", where the teams must work out the reasons of a rift between sportspersons. Examples of rifts include football team Peterborough United F.C. and Victoria Beckham over the rights to use the nickname "Posh", and athlete David Bedford and communications company InfoNXX over the 118 118 runners looking like him.
*"Grandstand", in which the teams are shown a bizarre multi-sport event and are asked to come up with events played in them. These include, the Eskimo Olympics, the Naked Olympics and the Tough Guy Sports.
*"The Treble", where the teams are shown three sportspersons and three items, and have to link each sportsperson to an item.
*"Electronic Pencil", where the teams are shown a sporting clip, which is stopped before the action gets exciting, and the teams have to draw where the sportsman or the ball is going to go. The round was dropped after series 2, but revived for the 100th show in 2001.
*"Injury Board", in which the teams pick a number between 1 and 12. Behind each number is a sports person and another person or item, and work out how the latter injured the former. Examples include Newbury rugby club and some Vaseline (to which guest Julian Clary suggested "maybe there was sand in it.") and Dennis Wise and a toilet seat.
*"Feel The Sportsman", one of the most popular rounds of the show, in which the regular panelists have to try to identify a mystery guest, or their sporting notability, by touch whilst blindfolded. Guests subjected to a groping include Will Carling, Ashia Hansen, Victor Ubogu, Jonah Lomu, Andy Fordham, Manc Union Paintball Team and, of course, some female lacrosse, rugby and cricket players, especially when Rory McGrath is involved. One notable variant in 2001 saw the regulars feeling an animal, having been shown a clip of Sven-Göran Eriksson on the Italian version of the show in a "Feel the Animal" round. David Gower and Jonathan Ross correctly guessed their animal (a zebra) but Gary Lineker and Rory McGrath failed to get theirs (an alligator - they failed to even touch it), with McGrath removing his blindfold and running off the set in panic. Another famous example involved a slight change in the rules, in that Sharron Davies, who was a guest (rather than a regular) contestant took part in the feeling. The sportsman was her then husband Derek Redmond, whom she recognised.
*"Claim To Fame", introduced in 2005, in which a sportsperson is subjected to a line of questioning by the panel. as to their claim to fame. Mystery people include Paul Barber, a member of the gold medal winning British 1988 Olympic hockey team, Judy Grinham, gold medal winning 100m backstroke swimmer at the 1956 Olympics, and Tommy Gemmell, one of the Celtic European Cup winning team of 1967.
*"The Physical Challenge", where the teams are subject to displaying their physique on an exercise bike, tricycle or other exercise apparatus. The harder they pedal, the faster an image appears on screen, and the teams have to name the image before moving onto the next one. The team captain starts off before a klaxon is sounded, then the regular sidekick takes over. Occasionally, the guests had a go. This round only lasted throughout the 2004 series.
*"The Name Game", in which the regular sidekick has to give clues about a famous sportsperson for the other team members to guess. Variants include the sidekick having to draw the clues, give clues as to team names, do impressions or a mime of the sportsperson.
*"Sporting Vogue", introduced in 2005, where the team captain has to strike a famous pose by a sportsperson for their teammates to guess.


After two specials in June 2006, the show was cancelled by the BBC. BBC One controller Peter Fincham (who, as Head of Talkback Productions, was instrumental in getting the show commissioned in the first place) said the show had reached a "natural conclusion", adding "They Think It's all Over has had a great run on BBC ONE lasting 11 years. It re-wrote the rule book by bringing comedy and sport together in a fresh and anarchic way. It's featured a great range of comedians rubbing shoulders with Olympic gold medalists and world champions, and has been sheer unadulterated fun." At the British Comedy Awards on 13 December 2006, Jonathan Ross said he would love to give an award to whoever made the decision to cancel the show.


DVD and video releases


*"They Think It's All Over - 10th Anniversary" (2005)
*"The Very Best of They Think Its All Over" (2005)


*"They Think It's All Over - No Holds Barred" (1996)
*"They Think It's All Over - Full Throttle" (1997)
*"They Think It's All Over - Below The Belt" (1998)
*"They Think It's All Over - Complete" (1999)- Existing "No Holds Barred" and "Below The Belt" videos re-packaged as a double video set.
*"They Think It's All Over- Ungentlemanly Conduct (2000)

Other releases

*"The "They Think It's All Over" Annual" (1997)- an annual which parodied the style of children's comic annuals.
*"They Think It's All Over" (1998)- audiobook highlights compilation, part of the Canned Laughter series of releases.

External links

* [ "They Think It's All Over"] at

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of They Think It's All Over episodes — This is a list of episodes from the satirical sport based panel game They Think It s All Over .From series 1 until series 5 the show was chaired by Nick Hancock, with team captains David Gower (and regular panellist Lee Hurst) and Gary Lineker… …   Wikipedia

  • I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus — Infobox Album | Name = I Think We re All Bozos on This Bus Type = Album Artist = The Firesign Theatre Released = 1971 Recorded = April June 1971 Genre = Comedy Length = 39:05 Label = Columbia Producer = The Firesign Theatre Reviews = The New… …   Wikipedia

  • All-India Muslim League — Leader Aga Khan III (first Honorary President) Quaid e Azam Founded December 30, 1906 Dacca, Bengal Presidency, British India Headquarters Lucknow (first headquarters) …   Wikipedia

  • over — o|ver1 [ ouvər ] function word *** Over can be used in the following ways: as a preposition (followed by a noun or a pronoun): a bridge over the river Two men were fighting over her. (followed by a number or amount): It happened over a hundred… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • over — I UK [ˈəʊvə(r)] / US [ˈoʊvər] adverb, preposition *** Summary: Over can be used in the following ways: as a preposition (followed by a noun or a pronoun): a bridge over the river ♦ Two men were fighting over her. (followed by a number or amount) …   English dictionary

  • All Hope Is Gone — All Hope Is Gone …   Wikipedia

  • All American Girl (novel) — Infobox Book | name = All American Girl title orig = translator = image caption = author = Meg Cabot illustrator = cover artist = country = United States language = English series = All American Girl series subject = genre = Young adult novel… …   Wikipedia

  • Over There (Fringe) — Over There Fringe episode …   Wikipedia

  • Over the Rainbow (2010 TV series) — Over the Rainbow Genre Reality …   Wikipedia

  • Over Drive (manga) — Over Drive オーバードライヴ (ŌbāDoraivu) Genre Comedy, Romance, Sport ( …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”