'Fantasy Football League' returning with Matt Lucas and Elis James as hosts

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Elis James & Matt Lucas will host the new Fantasy Football League. (Sky UK)
Elis James & Matt Lucas will host the new Fantasy Football League. (Sky UK)

Comedians Matt Lucas and Elis James are set to front a reboot of Fantasy Football League, the beloved 90s TV show originally hosted by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.

Returning to screens after an 18 year absence, the new series will air on Sky Max and NOW this autumn.

Running from 1994 to 2004, the original saw celebrity guests competing against each other as managers in a ‘fantasy league’ as well as chatting all things football.

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Recurring segments included 'Phoenix from The Flames' which saw former players recreating famous moments in football history, and 'Jeff Astle Sings' which saw the former West Bromwich Albion player performing covers of classic hits.

Fantasy Football League Frank Skinner, Angus 'Statto' Lockran, and David Baddiel. (Avalon/Getty Images)
Fantasy Football League Frank Skinner, Angus 'Statto' Lockran, and David Baddiel. (Avalon/Getty Images)

It was the popularity of the show that led to Baddiel and Skinner teaming up with the Lightning Seeds to record the hit football anthem Three Lions for the 1996 UEFA European Championship. In 2010 Frank Skinner said the show would never return as the show had been 'usurped' by shows like Soccer AM and Match of the Day 2.

Talking about the show's return, The Great British Bake Off host — and die hard Arsenal fan — Matt Lucas said: "I loved watching Fantasy Football League with Frank, David and Statto and am chuffed to bits to be a part of this new incarnation.

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"I now make a living eating cake and watching football. I must be the luckiest man in the world. I also get to share the sofa with Elis, who is not only hilarious but the biggest football geek I’ve ever met. See you next season.”

Matt Lucas said he has been
Matt Lucas said he has been "thin-shamed". (Mark Bourdillon/Bake Off/C4)

Welsh comic Elis James, who hosts the BBC podcast Elis James' Feast of Football and appears on The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast, is a supporter of Swansea City and admits to be a longtime fan of the TV show.

"I couldn’t be more delighted to be bringing back Fantasy Football League, although Matt’s Arsenal obsession means writing meetings are often derailed by long, wistful chats about Ray Parlour.

"To be presenting a show I used to tape off the telly is a dream come true. The ambition is to make a show that’s as loved as the original, and fill it with references to Swansea City without making it unwatchable.”

Frank Skinner (right) and David Baddiel at The Sports Cafe in Piccadilly, London in 1998. (PA Images via Getty Images)
Frank Skinner (right) and David Baddiel at The Sports Cafe in Piccadilly, London in 1998. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Guests on the original included Bob Mortimer, Jo Brand, Prince Naseem, Damon Albarn, Ant & Dec, Jimmy Greaves, Sean Bean, Noel Gallagher, Brigitte Nielsen, Lennox Lewis, George Best, Karren Brady, Melvyn Bragg, Roy Hattersley, Caroline Aherne, Peter Cook, Pelé Kathy Burke, Des Lynam and John Lydon.

Fantasy Football League will return for a new 16-episode series on Sky Max and NOW this autumn.

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