The Grand Knockout Tournament was without doubt the most prestigious edition of It's A Knockout transmitted in Great Britain. Staged at Alton Towers on Monday 15th June 1987 and transmitted on BBC1 on Friday of the same week, the event was, bar one further edition a year later, the last hurrah for It's A Knockout.

Aside from the caché of having the involvement of members of the British Royal Family and major national and international celebrities, this special programme was notable in that it was recorded for posterity in not one but two books that were published in 1987 (three if you include the Souvenir Programme, which can be downloaded from JSFnetGB). No other IAK event could claim likewise!

The two books, both from Collins, were this one, The Grand Knockout Tournament, a paperback with mainly pictorial content, and a hardcover, Knockout - The Grand Charity Tournament, which consisted of more in-depth behind-the-scenes content.

The Grand Knockout Tournament (1987)

Prince EdwardThe book, The Grand Knockout Tournament, was published by Fontana, an imprint of Collins, and features an introduction by HRH The Prince Edward, but is otherwise uncredited with an author's name. The 64 page paperback is reproduced in full colour throughout and is lavishly illustrated with 108 photographs from the event. These photographs are the highlight of the book, as the accompanying text is not extensive (the hardcover book Knockout - The Grand Charity Tournament does a better job in this department), but the event is covered in sufficient detail for the book to be more than just a photograph album.

In all, this is an effective companion volume to the other book, but if you only have room for one Grand Knockout book in your collection, we'd recommend the other one, which is more detailed, contains information about how the event came together, and is a glossier production all round. Both books turn up from time to time on eBay and other such online auction and marketplace sites, and are not expensive to purchase.

by Alan Hayes