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    Sue Barker said that the BBC had to remove her from A Question Of Sport as she would never have left her dream job voluntarily.

    The former tennis player, 64, has been axed as host of the show, alongside team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, so that bosses can draft in fresh talent to revamp the long-running sports quiz.

    Miss Barker, who will stay on as the corporation’s face of Wimbledon, told of her sadness at having to leave the show after 24 years.

    Sue Barker, 64, (centre) has been axed as host of BBC’s A Question Of Sport, alongside team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, so that bosses can draft in fresh talent

    ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away,’ she told Sportsmail yesterday.

    ‘I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question Of Sport, it’s been my dream job,’ she said.

    ‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’

    Miss Barker will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year.

    A BBC spokesman said: ‘We would like to thank Sue for her enormous contribution as the show’s longest reigning host over the last 24 years, and Matt and Phil for their excellent team captaincy over 16 and 12 years respectively.’ 

    The former tennis player, will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year

    The former tennis player, will continue with presenting duties for the next two summers at Wimbledon, having signed a three-year deal last year

    Tufnell tweeted that he was ‘going to miss it hugely’. 

    Dawson said yesterday: ‘Thanks for all the lovely messages. I’m not sure how to respond so I’ll have a think. Needless to say I will miss A Question of Sport immensely.’

    As recently as July Miss Barker raved about her continued love for the programme – which celebrated its 50th anniversary in January – and said that her 24 years behind the desk had flown by. 

    ‘I love presenting all the sport, but A Question Of Sport is just something that’s so close to my heart,’ she told The Johanna Konta Podcast.

    ‘I grew up watching it as a kid, I used to be on it and watch with my family, so it’s something that’s always been very special to me.’

    The show, which was first broadcast in 1970, has always had a loyal viewership of around three to four million per episode but has failed to attract young viewers

     The show, which was first broadcast in 1970, has always had a loyal viewership of around three to four million per episode but has failed to attract young viewers

    Sue Barker told Sportsmail: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away'

    Sue Barker told Sportsmail: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away’

    The show, which was first broadcast in 1970, has always had a loyal viewership of around three to four million per episode but has failed to attract young viewers.

    Last year Ofcom warned that the BBC could risk losing a ‘generation of viewers’ as less than half of young people aged 16-24 tuned into BBC TV channels in an average week.

    The BBC, now led by director-general Tim Davie, said it was dedicated to finding ways to appeal to younger audiences. 

    The final series of A Question Of Sport featuring Miss Barker, Tufnell and Dawson will be shown next year. 

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