Matt Dawson, Sue Barker and Phil Tufnell made their last A Question Of Sport appearance in May last year (Photo: BBC/Vishal Sharma)
Sue Barker has claimed the BBC showed her “so little respect” over her exit from A Question Of Sport, and even tried to offer her the job back.
The presenter departed the sports quiz show alongside captains Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson in 2021, after 24 years at the helm.
After since stepping down from her long-standing role as the face of the BBC’s annual Wimbledon coverage, Sue has now hit out at her former employer over the way it handled her A Question Of Sport departure.
In her new autobiography, which is being serialised by MailOnline, Sue said there had been murmurings of on-screen changes on the show for a number of years, but received a phonecall in 2020 telling her that her and her co-stars were “being sacked”.
The news was kept quiet until they were about to film their final show last year, when Sue said she received a call that it was about to break in the press.
Despite previously requesting that the BBC was to get statements from all three of them to accompany the news, Sue said she was sent a statement “that the BBC wanted me to approve immediately, saying the three of us had decided to step aside”.
“They hadn’t bothered to get a quote from me. Why hadn’t they reacted to our request earlier? Why had we been shown so little respect?” she wrote.
Sue pictured fronting her last year of Wimbledon coverage for the BBC over the summer (Photo: Simon M Bruty via Getty Images)
Sue, Matt and Phil refused to sign, but the BBC then supposedly asked her “to announce that I was leaving for the good of the show”.
“I was astounded,” she said. “Was that because I was too old or not good enough? Either way, it was insulting. Did they actually expect me to sack myself?
“I told the BBC to own their decision and declare publicly that they wanted to refresh the show; I wasn’t going to lie to make it easier for them.”
Sue then claimed the BBC then tried to get her to stay on with the show.
She said: “Unbelievably, they then offered me my job back, but as I couldn’t help but feel they didn’t want me any more, I declined.
“The following day, I was again asked to say I was leaving ‘for the good of the show’. What on earth were they thinking?”
Sue called out the “lack of care and consideration” all three of them were shown, adding: “There seemed little understanding of our chemistry and the way we worked together, and little appreciation of all the years we’d put in to make sure each show was as good, if not better, than the last.
“The whole scenario was confusing and distressing.”
The BBC declined to comment on Sue’s claims when approached by HuffPost UK.
At the time her exit was announced, a spokesperson said: “We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show’s longest reigning host over the last 23 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy over 16 and 12 years respectively.
“Together they have ensured A Question of Sport remains a firm favourite with the BBC One audience.”
Following the trio’s departure, they were replaced by new host Paddy McGuinness and new team captains Sam Quek and Ugo Monye.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.