Sue Barker, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell left A Question of Sport on Friday night (Picture: BBC)
Sue Barker thanked the BBC and paid tribute to the A Question of Sport team as she bowed out from the show on Friday night.
It was announced last year that the presenter would be stepping down from the sports game show after 24 years at the helm, with team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell also leaving the series.
One-time tennis ace Sue, 65, has been on the series since 1997, keeping up the show’s tradition of having a former sports star in the hot seat.
And at the end of Friday’s episode, she said: ‘I just want to say it’s been such a privilege to sit in this chair for the last 24 years, taking over from David Coleman.
‘I’d like to say a huge thank you to the A Question of Sport team and to Matt and Phil.’
She added: I want to wish the best of luck to the three people taking these seats next.’
Sue was on the programme for 24 years (Picture: BBC)
Sue called on Matt and Phil to also make their departing comments, with Matt saying: ‘Phil and I have been part of this team longer than we’ve actually played our international careers.
‘My face will finally stop aching from all the laughter. Sue, you have been the best boss!’
Phil added: ‘Thanks to everyone who’s been involved, loved every single minute of it.’
Appearing on Sue’s last show was tennis player Tim Henman and former footballer Dion Dublin on Matt’s team, and former rugby player Scott Quinnell and cricket commentator Michael Vaughan on Phil’s team.
After her departure was announced last September, Sue said: ‘I’ve absolutely loved my 24 years fronting A Question of Sport, it’s been my dream job.
Sue is one of only three hosts of A Question of Sport so far (Picture: BBC)
‘But I understand the BBC want to take the show in a new direction and I’m sad to say goodbye.’
A BBC spokesperson added: ‘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.’
The BBC was hit with ageism claims following the shake-up, with Sue and Matt seemingly confirming their exit wasn’t their choice.
The BBC is yet to announce who will be replacing Sue.
Last year, Gary Lineker prematurely congratulated Alex Scott as the new presenter of the series.
Jack Whitehall has been tipped to replace Sue as the presenter of Question of Sport (Picture: Getty)
Despite all the applause, a BBC spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘This is all speculation and no conversations have been had about the future line-up.’
More recently, it’s been claimed that the broadcaster is looking to turn the show into ‘a cross between Have I Got News For You and A League Of Their Own’.
According to reports, bosses are hoping to sign a comedian to host the programme, although nothing has yet been confirmed by the broadcaster.
It’s been claimed that A League Of Their Own’s Jack Whitehall is being considered as a replacement, as well as stand-up comedian Jon Richardson, who currently is a favourite on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
When approached by Metro.co.uk, a BBC rep said ‘no decision has been made yet’.
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‘Bosses are trying out various line-ups, and are keen on getting a comedian, rather than ex-sportsperson, to front it,’ a source told The Sun.
‘The hope is to attract younger viewers and give the show a new lease of life. Everyone at the Beeb is really excited. It’s going to be brilliant.’