TV comedy game show was a knockout for Luton

Comedy game show It’s A Knockout is best described as a school sports day for adults.

Thursday, 27th February 2014, 4:31 pm
It's a Knockout

It was broadcast on BBC TV from 1966 to 1982 and was part of the international Jeux Sans Frontieres (JSF) franchise.

Luton entered the 1972 and 1981 competitions with great success, particularly on the first occasion.

Teams would carry buckets of water over greasy poles or rolling logs, while the opposition interfered by squirting water cannon or throwing custard pies.

The winner of each edition of the show was awarded a trophy and a chance to represent the UK in JSF.

Luton competed against Watford at the Baths Centre in Bath Road, Luton, on May 21, 1972 and were easy winners by 16 points to four.

Hundreds of Lutonians then travelled to Delft in The Netherlands for a heat of JSF and saw the town triumph in that too, beating teams from six other countries.

Nine years later, on May 4, 1981, a heat was held at the Lower Sports Ground at Wardown Park, Luton.

The home side defeated Epping Forest and Welwyn Garden City, but didn’t do as well in the UK championships at Charnock Richard in Lancashire, finishing only 5th.

A large crowd of supporters travelled with the team for a JSF heat in Charleroi, Belgium, but although a good time was had by all, Luton came a lowly 7th.

Team member Sharon Dillette had previously been in the 1972 side. She appeared in the later edition sporting a large bruise on her forehead and two black eyes, both of which she said she had acquired during a game of rounders! Team manager John Howells had previously coached the 1972 group.

It’s A Knockout returned on Channel 5 from 1999 to 2001, but viewing figures were poor compared to the millions who watched in its heyday.