A Question Of Sport’s Sam Quek has admitted she feels ‘a lot of responsibility’ as the show’s first ever female captain ahead of joining Ugo Monye on the revamped panel.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, the duo said they were ‘gobsmacked’ after being approached by bosses to take over from Matt Dawson and Phil Tuffnell as captains after they were axed from the show last year.
Joining Olympic hockey champion Sam and retired rugby star Ugo will be Question Of Sport’s new host Paddy McGuinness, who told MailOnline that fans can expect a range of different games and challenges when the show begins next week.
Coming soon: A Question Of Sport’s Sam Quek has admitted she feels ‘a lot of responsibility’ as the show’s first ever female captain ahead of joining Ugo Monye on the revamped panel
Speaking ahead of the new series’ first episode, Sam said: ‘I was absolutely buzzing, just gobsmacked because the talks have been going on for quite a while but then I’m a firm believer it’s not sealed until its signed on the dotted line.
‘Just proud and also I’m aware being the first female captain has a lot of responsibility, little bit of pressure of ultimately a lot of excitement.’
Discussing their dream guests, Sam said: ‘I’m a massive Liverpool fan, but it’s such a huge show the majority of people we’ve had on are proper sporting royalty, Chris Hoy, one of the most successful Olympics is such a nice guy, and so knowledgeable.
Exciting: The hockey star said she’d love to have Serena Williams as a guest on the show, alongside some of her football idols Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman
‘I’d love Serena Williams for me is the ultimate athlete and I’m a massive fan of NFL so a Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes to get them on there as well.
‘Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, when I was younger and used to play football in the garden, my brother was Robbie and I was Steve. I never think I’d be in this position to meet people on this journey.
‘Playing golf with Robbie, when I used to work on LFC TV, just a casual chat with Steve, Michael Owen, these were the people who had posters on my wall growing up.’
Ugo added: ‘It’s nuts because a lot of the guests we’ve had on this series I’ve never met before, and now I’ve worked with them you know who they are and appreciate all they’ve achieved.
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to have some team guests where I’m like ”you’d be the perfect person” but also we’ve had some non-sporting people on this as well, like Anton Du Beke who by the way is one of the most knowledgeable people about sports and their eras of sports in my whole life and that new era just adds so much.’
‘Sports should be available to everyone, it can’t just be a gameshow for elite sports, we’d love to captivate absolutely everyone, who wants to have a bit of fun, we’ve been on Zoom for 18 months and everyone has done a sports quiz at some point, everyone!
‘If I had a wishlist, The Rock he;d be class wouldn’t he? I’d love Ian Wright on it because I grew up wanting to play for Arsenal, Alison Felix, I think she’s phenomenal.’
New show: Meanwhile A Question Of Sport’s new host Paddy McGuinness (centre) said the inclusion of celebrity guests who aren’t involved in sport will ‘bring a new dynamic to the show’
Meanwhile Paddy said that the inclusion of celebrity guests who aren’t directly involved in sport will ‘bring a new dynamic to the show’
He said: ‘Not everyone who will be watching Question Of Sport will be an absolute sports fanatic, they want to see a bit of banter, a bit of jokes and a nice Friday night show,
‘When you’ve trained to achieve a certain goal, we try to make them feel as relaxed as possible, but they might not be as willing to jump around, but the non-sports people are more than willing to get involved with the games but it’s just a little bit of a different dynamic so you don’t have to be a statto to enjoy the show.’
Paddy also revealed he was approached by BBC bosses to ask if he’d be interested in hosting the show, after taking over as Top Gear’s frontman in 2019.
He explained: ‘The strangest thing for me was, I got a call from the powers that be at the BBC asking if I’d be interested so we had a good chat about it, it’s a heritage show, you’ve got to have a little bit of a think about it, because you want to get it right.
‘So I had this random call about it, and then it kind of went on for a week or so, just backwards and forwards chatting, because I was aware that Sam and Ugo were in and around people doing the job.’
New job: Paddy also revealed he was approached by BBC bosses to ask if he’d be interested in hosting the show, after taking over as Top Gear’s frontman in 2019
‘I’m saying to the person I was speaking to ”what’s happening with it all, because I don’t really feel like what’s going on at the minute and I didn’t want to say anything” because I knew there were other people milling around, so myself, Sam and Ugo got on Zoom chat, and we just had a chin wag really and I kind of did an impromptu sports quiz for them.
‘So we did that and then I can’t remember what it was it was a few days later where they said ”right do you want to do it?” and I said ‘of course I do!’ I think for me it was so good getting the chance to speak to Ugo and Sam, even though it was virtually.
‘I’ve known Sam throughout the years through various different shows, I’ve never met Ugo before, so just having a chat the three of us, I knew instantly it’s something there and I know it can build into someone.
‘I think once they watch a few episodes and see how the dynamic changes, and the other players that were on as well I think they’ll relax and they’ll enjoy it.’
Anticipated: Paddy also hinted that fans can expect new challenges when the show returns, alongside old favourites such as Mystery Guest and the famous Buzzer Round
Paddy also hinted that fans can expect new challenges when the show returns, alongside old favourites such as Mystery Guest and the famous Buzzer Round.
He added: ‘Throughout that 50 years there’s been new rounds introduced at some point, there’s a bit more getting involved for the captains, a bit more getting out behind the desk plus we go out of the studio for VTs, for Captains Challenges so that’s really nice and that’s fresh but it still feels a part of that half hour,
‘So it’s new and it’s fresh but not new and fresh where people are thinking ‘I don’t recognise the show.’
Ugo added: ‘I’ve always said the show is still very familiar. I think at the heart of Question Of Sport regardless of whose captain, the show is Question Of Sport and will outlast all of us.
‘I think it’s important to be respectful of that and what they’re used to. There is a new dimension to it, like Paddy said, talking about getting up on the studio floor I think there has been an added dimension it feels a bit more 4D.
‘We had a few days at Linnyshaw, but even going off site the result and those challenges just filter back into that studio because the studio is the home of Question Of Sport and centers around what is a sports quiz, so although it is familiar it’s different.
‘You’ve got some new faces, some new games on it, and that’s quite exciting Paddy mentioned the evolution of Question Of Sport, I think people are quick to forget how it had evolved as a show, new games had come int to bring in the best of the captains and the presenters and I guess that’s what they’ve tried to do this time around as well.’
The interview also saw Sam Quek discuss her heartbreaking miscarriage before welcoming daughter Molly.
The hockey ace told The Mirror, that she ‘couldn’t talk about’ the miscarriage when it first happened when she was 10 weeks pregnant in January 2020.
She said: ‘Emotionally, but also physically after the trauma of what happened, it was awful. We hadn’t really told anyone I was pregnant because it was so early but as time went on and the more I opened up, the more people I realised had been through the same.
‘Even people close to me I didn’t know about. It’s such a traumatic thing, such a rollercoaster and I found talking about it made a massive difference.’
The star has now welcomed daughter Molly, five months, who was delivered via emergency c-section after a 27 hour labour.
Sam said: ‘I’ve loved every minute of being a mum. Everyone always says your life completely changes and it really does.’
She also praised husband Tom Mairs for being an ‘amazing’ dad.
Last year Sue Barker, 65, was axed as the host of the BBC series after 24 years and ex-England footballer Alex Scott, 36, was rumoured to be taking over her role.
However it was confirmed last month that Paddy would be taking over the role.
Paddy told The Sun: ‘It’s a big change — Sue’s been the host for the last 20 years or so.
‘That was in the back of my mind so I rang her up and had a really good chat with her and she was so nice and supportive.
‘For me personally, once I spoke to Sue, the rest will be what it will be. My priority was taking over from Sue and treating that with respect because of how loved she is.’
Dropped: It comes after the show’s host Sue Barker, and team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tuffnell, were axed by BBC bosses
In September, Sue admitted she was ‘sad to say goodbye’ to A Question of Sport.
She said: ‘I love the show so much they would have to remove me, it would have been tough for me to walk away, I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting ‘A Question Of Sport’, it’s been my dream job.
‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’
Matt wrote on Twitter: ‘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 @QuestionofSport immensely…. (sic)’
Phil tweeted: ’13 yrs @QuestionofSport has been a great part of life … going to miss it hugely .. thanks so much for all the lovely messages!!’
A Question Of Sport returns on Friday 3 September at 7:35pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Who are the new A Question of Sport team captains?
Sam Quek, MBE, is an English former field hockey player and television personality.
She played as a defender for both the England and Great Britain teams, wearing squad number 13, and won gold as part of the British team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
She has presented various television sports shows, including American football on the BBC, rugby union on Channel 5, field hockey on BT Sport and football for Channel 4 and LFC TV.
She also took part in the sixteenth season of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here in 2016.
Sam is married to Tom Mairs, a property entrepreneur and in In March 2021 had her first child, daughter, Molly.
Ugo is an English sports pundit and former rugby union player.
He played 14 times for England, 241 times for his only club Harlequins and played twice for the British & Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.
He presents the Rugby Union Weekly podcast for the BBC.
He is also currently presenting on BT Sport and has worked as a brand Ambassador for Maximuscle.