Legendary TV show axed after just two years back on screens

Elis James, Andrew Mensah and Matt Lucas
Elis James, Andrew Mensah and Matt Lucas -Credit:James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock for London Football Awards

Viewers have been left gutted after the cancellation of Fantasy Football League, which was rebooted in 2022. The show, which was hosted by Matt Lucas and Elis James in its current guise, will not be returning for another series.

Announcing the news, TV producer Spencer Millman wrote: "Gutted to say that Fantasy Football League won't be returning for another run. Big thanks to my brilliant production team, crew, writers, spotters, you were an absolute joy to work with. A massive thanks to all the sofa and phoenix guests we had over the 24 shows, we loved having you.

"Huge love to Matt, Elis, Mense and of course Lee Trundle but most importantly thanks to the people who watched it. I'm eternally grateful you accepted the changes to the original and sorry we won't be making more. Much love and gratitude."

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Fans took to social media to express their disappointment, with one writing: "Aaah no! I think this is a great shame, the show was funny and a refreshing change to the usual depiction of football on the telly. I was also lucky enough to meet many of the team and they were, without exception, friendly, warm and a joy to be around. Thanks once again x."

One fan expressed regret, saying: "Sorry to hear this. Captured the essence of the original perfectly. Hopefully can get it snapped up elsewhere." Another commentator said: "Gutted to hear this! Hope it's not the end of the journey. A few tweaks and back on another platform."

The franchise originally stemmed from the Fantasy Football game craze of the 1990s, reports OK!. Players would assemble their fantasy team from real-life footballers and accumulate points based on real match performances. Frank Skinner and David Baddiel hosted the show from 1994 until 1996, including airing specials during Euro 96, the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2004.

In a revival two years ago, Matt Lucas and comic Elis James were scooped up for presenting duties, with Elis claiming on Virgin Radio in 2023: "It's the funnest show to work on. And I knew it was gonna be fun because the pilots were fun. I was just hoping that people would like it, and the show would go well. And it has."

The modern series also boasted Andrew Mensah, a football-crazy comedian, and each episode introduced celebrity guest managers who would discuss the week's football and reveal their own fantasy teams. High-profile guests such as Jennifer Saunders, Gus Khan, Sir Mo Farah, Danny Dyer, Sir Trevor MacDonald and Michael Sheen have all unveiled their dream squads on the show.

The concluding series of Fantasy Football League was broadcasted on Sky Max and NOW earlier this year in February. Matt and Elis have since moved onto other ventures, with Matt securing a part in Ridley Scott's sequel to Gladiator and Elis setting off on a comedy tour later this year, alongside hosting the Radio X programme The Elis James and John Robins Show.