It's A Knockout 1973
British Domestic Series

Presenters: Eddie Waring and Stuart Hall / Referee: Arthur Ellis
Scoregirls: Glynne Geldart, Beverley Dunn, Pauline Cooper and Patricia Duncan

Designer: Stuart Furber / Producer: Barney Colehan / Director: Bill Taylor
A BBC North West Production

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 15th April 1973
Venue: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 18th May 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Christine Donna from London

Teams: Bicester v. Woodstock

Team Members included:
Bicester -
Robert Tedder (Team Manager), Roy Hutton (Team Trainer), Mike Swann (Team Adviser), Carol Baber, Michael Barlow, Peter Barrett, Nina Cartwright, Jennifer Clay, Chris Coleman, Carol Day, Kathy Goodwin, David Grove, Thomas Jones, Stephen Kinchin, Margaret Leitch, Bjorn Massey, Stephen Poulter, Geoff Redhead, Jean Seth, Michael Siggers, Hilary Vallender, Robert Wachowski, David Waller, Christine Ward;
Woodstock -
Alan England (Team Manager), Andy Williams.

Games: Slide Ball, Canvas Run, A Spring in Your Step, Water Slide, Wheelie Drums, Pitch and Catch and Pole Climb;
Marathon: Straight for the Line.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team /
Colour

1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
B 2 2 0 0 4 0 4

2

W 0 0 2 2 0 4 0

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
B 2 4 4 4 8 8 12

14

W 0 0 2 4 4 8 8

8

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 B • Bicester
 W Woodstock

14
8

Bicester qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Senigallia, Italy:
staged on Wednesday 6th June 1973

The Venue

Woodstock, Oxfordshire

This heat was held in the grounds of the glorious baroque Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire and despite the final score of 14-8, it was a very close fought contest. Bicester headed off the programme with two straight wins, but the Woodstock team fought back to win the next two, bringing the score to 4-4. The Bicester team manager decided to play the Joker on the fifth game and the team duly won the game and were leading Woodstock 8-4. Not to be outdone, the roles were reversed in the sixth game and Woodstock played their Joker and they too won. The score was once again level at 8-8 and it all depended on which team would get the 4 pts for winning the Marathon. The Bicester team had led the Marathon throughout the afternoon and eventually emerged the winners by 12-10. The four points were awarded to Bicester and nothing could now stop them from claiming the journey to Senigallia in Italy.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Mike Swann, later to become a regular It's A Knockout referee alongside Arthur Ellis, participated here as team adviser for the Bicester team. He had previously participated as team manager for the Banbury team in 1972.

Additional Information

The eight cheerleaders in this heat - Jennifer Coles, Christine Morgan, Hetty Pointon, Lynne Poulter, Alison Read, Diane Scott, Pam Siggers and Karen Smith - had all originally applied to participate as team members. However, after being unsuccessful in being selected for the team, they decided to become the team’s cheerleaders. Not only did they each carry a circular board denoting one of each of the team name’s letters, they also had the same letter embroidered on to the back of their underwear, and during the programme gave the crowd some 'cheeky' unplanned entertainment!

Despite all the precision planning that went into this heat, there were complaints on the day that the crowd was too numerous for all to see. The resident Duke of Marlborough had given permission for the programme to be held in the grounds, but no spectator stands were permitted to be erected. The crowd of 4,000+ people were at some points 10-15 deep with those at the back unable to see any of the games. This resulted in many giving up and using the grounds just to sit down on (as it was a gloriously sunny day) or just going home. An area sectioned off just for children was bombarded by adults who simply pushed their way to the front blocking the children’s view. Presenter Eddie Waring commented in the Oxford Mail, “It was very unusual not to have a spectator stand with such a large crowd, but on the whole everybody enjoyed the programme and the weather was very kind to us on the day”.

This edition was also previewed on BBC TV’s Blue Peter programme on 17th May 1973. More details in Knockout TV: 1973.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 22nd April 1973 (Easter Sunday)
Venue: Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 25th May 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Barbara Molyneux from Cheshire

Teams: King’s Lynn v. Manchester

Team Members included:
King’s Lynn - Keith Simkin (Team Captain), Dave Vinson (Team Coach), Caroline Back, Paul Bland, Karen Booth, Glenda Chilvers, Dave Cook, John Frohawk, Horace Henry, David Horn, Linda Horn, John Howe, Len Lee, Roy Malle, Celia Marr, Gary Moore, Tim Moore, Tom Nuccoll, Sylvia Peacock, Sue Poole, Sid Riches, Ossie Vinson, Dorothy Whitting;
Manchester - John Krizak.

Games (Official Titles): Cart Race, Boot Race, Push Goal, Wheelbarrow Race, The Needle, The Skaters and Water Wagon;
Marathon: Roll-a-Penny.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team /
Colour

1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
L 0 0 0 2 2 1 2

0

M 2 2 2 0 0 2 2

2

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
L 0 0 0 2 4 5 7

7

M 2 4 6 6 6 8 10

12

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 M • Manchester
 L King's Lynn

12
7

Manchester qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Bellinzona, Switzerland:
staged on Wednesday 20th June 1973

The Host Town

King's Lynn, Norfolk

King's Lynn, with a population of around 43,000 inhabitants, is a sea port and market town in the county of Norfolk. It is located 97 miles (156km) north of London and 44 miles (71km) west of Norwich.
 

The statue of British Naval explorer George Vancouver
outside the Custom House in Purfleet Quay, King's Lynn

 

Lynn originated as a settlement on a constricted site to the south of the where the mouth of the River Great Ouse now exits to the Wash. Development began in the early 10th Century, but was not recorded until the early 11th Century. In 1101, Bishop Herbert de Losinga of Thetford began the first medieval town between the Purfleet and Mill Fleet by building St. Margaret's Church (now King’s Lynn Minster) and authorising a market. A small prosperous town grew up quite quickly and, in 1204, following a charter from Bishop John de Grey of Norwich, the town became Bishop's Lynn (Lenne Episcopi). Trade built up along the waterways that stretched inland from Lynn, and the town expanded and quickly filled the space between the two rivers. By the late 12th Century, a further period of expansion began, more deliberately planned than the first, with wider straighter streets and a much larger market place.

Bishop's Lynn grew rich on trade, both within Britain and abroad. The Hanseatic League, a powerful German trading organisation made up of merchants from North Germany and neighbouring countries around the Baltic Sea, contributed greatly to this prosperity. The legacy of trade can be found in the many merchant houses and other fascinating buildings in this medieval port.

After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII (1491-1547) in 1538, the town of Lynn and its manor became royal property and had its name changed to Lynn Regis - subsequently King's Lynn - an act which still causes animosity to locals to this day.

Like all towns at that time, King's Lynn suffered from outbreaks of plague. There were severe outbreaks in 1516, 1587, 1597, 1636 and the last in 1665. Fire was another hazard and in 1572 thatched roofs were banned to reduce the risk of fire. In 1642, civil war broke out between King Charles I (1600-1649) and Parliament. At first King's Lynn supported Parliament, but in August 1643 after a change in government, the town changed sides. Parliament lost no time in sending an army to capture King’s Lynn and the town was besieged for three weeks before it surrendered.

In the late 17th Century, imports of wine from Spain, Portugal and France into King's Lynn boomed, and there was still an important coastal trade - at that time it was much cheaper to transport goods by water than by road, and thus many goods were shipped around the coast from one port to another. In the 18th Century shipbuilding continued to thrive as did associated industries such as sail and rope-making.

The town is the site of the only surviving Hanseatic Warehouse and the most famous monument to maritime prosperity, the Custom House. Built by Henry Bell in 1683, this splendid building, which is open to the public, is today the town's Tourist Information Centre with a special display of the town’s maritime history.

Much of King's Lynn's rich history is still in evidence today. In addition to the built heritage are the three market days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), the oldest of which dates back to the 12th Century, and the King's Lynn Mart - a fair that takes place each February with the rights to hold it originally granted by Henry VIII in 1537. King's Lynn's most famous son, George Vancouver (1757-1798) is best known for his mapping of the coast of north-west America between 1791 and 1795. The importance and accuracy of his charts is evident as they are still used today!

On 28th September 1708, a seven-year-old boy, Michael Hammond and his 11-year old sister Ann Hammond were convicted of theft of a loaf of bread in King's Lynn. They were sentenced to death by hanging, a sentence which was carried out publicly near the South Gates of the town to make an example of them. At the time of the hangings, Sir Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was Member of Parliament for King's Lynn.

The Venue

Tuesday Market Place

The games in this heat were played in Tuesday Market Place, one of two locations in the town that markets are regularly held, the other being Saturday Market Place located at the other end of the High Street, a few hundred yards further south.
 

Tuesday Market square at King’s Lynn

 

The oldest recorded instance of a market is to a ‘Sand Market’ held on the Saturday Market Place in 1104. The first ‘Charter Market’ is mentioned in a charter from King John (1166-1216) dated September 1205. This charter permitted the people of Lynn to tax some services and keep the revenue for themselves rather than paying it to the King. The taxes were levied in respect of the use of roads by strangers, shipping of merchandise along the river, use of bridges and, of course, a tax on the setting up of a stall at fairs and markets. It is not clear where the market would have been held although it is likely that the Saturday Market Place would have been the obvious choice.

On 7th July 1529, Henry VIII granted a further charter to the town. So far as markets were concerned, it permitted the town to hold two markets each week. This is likely to be the origin of the Tuesday Market.

From the medieval period, both market places were marked out with rails and had semi-permanent stalls or shops which were leased out on a temporary basis to food retailers and other visiting traders. In the Saturday Market Place there were butchers' shambles crowded against the north side of St. Margaret's Church until the 19th Century and in the 15th Century, the street front opposite was known as Butchers' Row because of the concentration of butchers' shops there. As the Saturday Market Place is a relatively small area, the market gradually encroached on the adjacent street of Damgate (now High Street) until it was expelled in the late 18th Century. A feature of the Tuesday Market Place towards its northern end was a market cross with shambles and shops around it.

A heart carved on the wall of the Tuesday Market Place commemorates the burning of alleged witch Margaret Read in 1590. It is said that as she was burning her heart burst from her body and struck the wall!

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Cart Race

The first game - ‘Cart Race’ - was played in unison and featured three competitors (one male and two females) from each team and a cart comprising two wheels and a long plank balanced over its axle. The two female competitors were standing at either end of the plank whilst the male competitor sat in the middle between the two wheels. On the whistle, the two females had to keep the plank balanced and off the ground whilst their team-mate moved the cart along the course by rotating the wheels with his hands. However, if the two females failed to keep the plank balanced, the cart would stop or slow down. The team completing the game in the faster time would be declared the winners. The Manchester team proved to be the more adept at this game and crossed the finishing line in first place. With the 2pts awarded, they were leading on the scoreboard by 2-0.


Game 2 - Boot Race

The second game - ‘Boot Race’ - was played in unison and featured a male competitor from each team standing on top of a pair of large wooden boots which were attached to a pair of stilts. On the whistle, the competitors had to progress down the course bursting a number of balloons which had been laid out on the ground. The competitors had to remain on the stilts at all times but if he fell down, he could remount before continuing. The team completing the course in the faster time would be declared the winners. The Manchester competitor had the edge over his rival and crossed the line in first place. With a second successive victory and another 2pts added to the scoreboard, Manchester were now leading by 4-0.


Game 3 - Push Goal

The third game - ‘Push Goal’ - was played individually and witnessed the King’s Lynn team presenting their Joker for play. It featured three competitors (two males and one female) from each team and a football goal set on a wheeled platform. The two male competitors were standing at either end of the platform holding onto a large handle whilst their female team-mate stood in front of the goal armed with a tennis racket. On the whistle, the two males pushed the platform backwards and forwards along the course and the female had to defend the goal whilst members of the opposing team threw small plastic bags of flour at her. The team scoring the greater number of goals within the time limit would be declared the winners. Despite the fact that the home team were playing their Joker, the Manchester team were more accurate with their throws and scored a greater number of goals than King’s Lynn. Manchester were awarded their third set of 2pts and, with the King’s Lynn Joker nullified, they were leading on the scoreboard by 6-0.


Game 4 - Wheelbarrow Race

The fourth game - ‘Wheelbarrow Race’ - was played in unison and featured three competitors (one male and two females) from each team. At the start of the course, the male and one of the female competitors had to position themselves into a human wheelbarrow. Unlike the normal pose, the female had to hold onto an axle of a wheel which was attached to a pole with a podium at the top. On the whistle, a bucket of water was placed on top of the podium and as the team progressed along the course, the female competitor had to ensure that she kept keep the pole vertical so that the bucket remained on top. At the end of the course, any contents in the bucket were emptied into a container and then they returned to the start. The game was then repeated with the second female and they continued to interchange after each run. The team collecting the greater amount of water within the time limit would be declared the winners. The King’s Lynn team collected a greater amount of water than Manchester and had finally broken their run of three successive losses. With their first 2pts awarded, the deficit had been reduced to 4pts with the scores standing at 6-2 in Manchester’s favour.


Game 5 - The Needle

The fifth game - ‘The Needle’ was played individually and featured three male competitors from each team armed with a large needle and a course comprising three large rope ‘eyes’ (nooses) hanging down from wooden beams of different heights. On the whistle, the competitors had to thread the needle through the noose and then climb through it themselves. This had to be repeated with the other two nooses and the team completing the course in the faster time would be declared the winners.
 

King's Lynn competitors participating in 'The Needle' game

 

The King’s Lynn trio pulled off a second successive victory after completing the game in a faster time than their Manchester rivals. With the 2pts awarded, it appeared that King’s Lynn were beginning to make a comeback with the scores now standing at 6-4 in Manchester’s favour.


Game 6 - The Skaters

The sixth and penultimate game - ‘The Skaters’ - was played in unison and witnessed the Manchester team presenting their Joker for play. It featured a male competitor from each team holding a tray in either hand and wearing an outsize pair of roller-skates and two female team-mates. On the whistle, one of the team-mates placed a stated number of balls onto each of the trays and the competitor had to progress down the course to his other female team-mate who collected any balls remaining on the trays. He then returned to the start and repeated the game. Only balls that remained on the trays throughout the game were counted and the team with the greater number of balls collected would be declared the winners. The result was declared and the announcement that both teams had collected the same number of balls, took everybody by surprise. Both teams were awarded 1pt each with Manchester’s being doubled to 2pts on the Joker. The scoreboard now showed that Manchester were leading by 8-5.


Marathon - Roll-A-Penny

The Marathon - ‘Roll-a-Penny’ - was played individually over six rounds (three rounds for each team) by three female competitors and featured a floating podium inside a pool and a large chute outside its perimeter, On the first round female A had to stand on the platform whilst females B and C rolled large discs down the chute for her to catch. If successful, she had to place the disc on the podium and then stand on top of it before the next disc could be rolled down the chute and this was repeated until time limit. The teams took it in turns to play after each of the first six main games and the team with the greater total of discs collected would be declared the winners. At the end of the six rounds, both teams had collected the same number of discs and were both awarded 2pts each. The scoreboard now showed that Manchester were leading by 10-7 and, with just one game to play, had already secured victory overall.

Point to note: Although King’s Lynn’s hopes of winning had already been dashed, if they could win the last game they would be in the running for the highest-scoring loser, which was held by Woodstock with 8pts from the previous heat. However, Lady Luck was not to be on their side and any hopes that the King’s Lynn team entertained regarding qualification for Jeux Sans Frontičres would be extinguished during the final game.


Game 7 - Water Wagon

The seventh and final game - ‘Water Wagon’ - featured six competitors (three males and three females) from each team and a large wagon anchored by an elasticated rope. Whilst two of the male competitors stood outside, the third armed with a large bucket, sat inside the wagon. On the whistle, the wagon was pushed up the course for the competitor to collect water being thrown at him by the three females at the other end. The wagon would then return to the start by means of the elasticated rope and any water collected would be retrieved by one of the other males and emptied into a container. The bucket was then returned to the competitor in the wagon and the game was repeated. The team collecting the greater amount of water would be declared the winners. Despite having the chance of still competing in Europe, the King’s Lynn team were outclassed by the Manchester team who stormed the game and collected the greater amount of water. Manchester were awarded the final 2pts of the competition and the final scoreboard showed that they had won by 12-7.

Memories of JSF

 

King's Lynn team member Tom Nuccoll with his treasured keepsakes

 

King's Lynn team member Tom Nuccoll was interviewed by Chris Bishop about this Domestic Heat for the Eastern Daily Press in April 2013. He remembered that the team had trained hard for the event. They had practiced 'The Needle' game - where three men tied together had to thread themselves through a series of tyres using a giant needle - until it was second nature. Mr Nuccoll claimed that the King's Lynn team had been robbed, and that the Manchester team had "cheated on the flour game ['Push Goal'] - that was an absolute fiddle, that was. I counted the things. I still don't know how they did it... They mucked up the Marathon, too." On the positive side, Mr Nuccoll reflected on the positives for the King's Lynn team: "We were good on the wheelbarrow [game]. The chap and girl we had were brilliant." Today, Tom Nuccoll still has his tracksuit and the souvenir programme from the event and recalls that the town council staged a celebratory supper at Lynn Town Hall after the recording: "They spent more on the banquet than anything," he said. "All the players and their wives were taken there. I was sat next to the bloke I beat. He said 'I don't know how you beat me.' I said: 'I do. My name's Tom Nuccoll'."

Additional Information

Although the town is known nationally as King's Lynn, the locals refer to it simply as 'Lynn' and are in fact known as Lynnonians. To this end, the team's dossards on the day of recording in 1973 carried the letter 'L' and not 'K'.

The King’s Lynn mascot was called Percy the Pelican and had been loaned to the team by the 7th Marquis of Bath from his safari park at Longleat House.

Footage from this edition exists in the BBC compilation, Best of Knockout 1973. Details in Knockout TV.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 6th May 1973
Venue: Harbour Swimming Pool, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 1st June 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Gay Spink from Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire

Teams: North Berwick v. Peebles

Team Members included:
North Berwick -
Eric Smith (Team Coach), John McAlpine (Team Manager), Patricia Briskup, Emma Brooks, Robert Brotherstone, Elaine Craig, Iain Cunningham, James Edwards, Michael Gibson, Eveline Halket, Muriel Hancock, Douglas Hughes, Gail Kirkpatrick, Alan McCrutcheon, Alistair McIntyre, Linda Marr, Andrew Playfair, Nigel Pugh, John Regazzani, Ian Seaton, Mary Shiels, Steven Shiels, Deborah Smith, John Thompson, Ian Walker, Richard Wallace, Philip Whitelaw, Kerry Wilson;
Peebles -
Ian Weir (Team Captain).

Games: Stacking the Boxes, Aquatic See-Saws, Wheelbarrow Rafts, Crossing the Ball, Rope Swing, Water Waiters and Rubber-Tub-Tub;
Marathon: Slide and Drop.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0

4

P 0 4 2 2 2 2 4

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
B 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

6

P 0 4 6 8 10 12 16

16

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 P • Peebles
 B North Berwick

16
6

Peebles qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Chartres, France:
staged on Wednesday 4th July 1973

The Venue

North Berwick, East Lothian

This heat was held in the outdoor swimming pool in North Berwick harbour, which was used for galas and competitions. Unlike other swimming pools used in It’s A Knockout, this one was naturally filled with salt-water. Unfortunately, the pool is now long gone as it finally closed to the public in 1996. It has since been filled in and is now a dinghy park, although some of the original buildings and viewing galleries still remain intact.

Additional Information

The North Berwick team started off well in this heat and won the first game and led Peebles 2-0. From that point, it all went horribly wrong for the home town team, and Peebles stormed the competition and won the next five games as well as the Marathon. Before the last game, with the score standing at 16-2, the North Berwick team played their Joker and salvaged a win to give a little respectability back to their score and pride.

The team from Peebles were being supported by seven attractive young cheerleaders, who each had a letter of the team name on the back of their shorts. Amusingly, the seventh young lady fell ill, and so as not to spoil the fun, a big chap with a droopy moustache and muscular, hairy legs stepped into the fray, becoming the 'S' of 'Peebles'!

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 13th May 1973
Venue: The Park, Ely, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 8th June 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Pauline Cooper from Dagenham, Greater London

Free Gift from JSFnetGB!
Download the Original Souvenir Programme from this event (PDF)

Kindly donated by Ely team member Ian Rodger

Teams: Ely v. Hertford

Team Members:
Ely - David Cornwell (Team Manager), Bill Oughton (Team Coach), Mike Hoare (Team Coach), Jean Milne (Team Secretary), David Allen, Colin Bent, Jackie Bradford, Kevin Brown, Colin Carter, Janis Carter, Pat Cuthbert, Barry Elsden, Martin Evans, Tony Fell, Sharon Gillies, Mike Goddard, Linda Goodwin, John Grafik, Mike Hardy, Robert Harwood, Pauline Jaggard, Jenny Linney, Jean Milne, David Muncey, Elaine Munro, Ian Rodger, Kevin Russell, Lydia Scott, Bruce Smith, Maureen Sulman, Lynne Tanner, Mike Wilkin, Pete Wilson;
Hertford - Bob Newton (Team Manager), Peter Breckon (Team Coach), Don Mean (Assistant Team Coach), R. Ball, Melanie Belcher, Chris Benham, Des Brady, Roy Brightwell, George Brown, Peter Chatfield, Brenda Collins, Barbara Crane, Robert Fenton, Andrew Goodman, Paul Greig, Dawn Haynes, Jean Hulks, Gordon Jennings, Stephen Lawrence, Michael Mean, Allen Miller, Fred Nash, Ken Newton, Lynn Newton, Martin Parfitt, Bev Petrie, Tom Phipps, David Pollard, Malcolm Sawdy, Andrew Sawford, Anne Smith, James Smith, George Stastny, Adrienne Wareham, Dave Warner, Ken Woodcock, Mary Yorke; Non-Playing Team Member: Elaine Wisdom.

Games (Official Titles): Drum-Roll, Drum Stacking, Water Race, Mat Race, Trampoline Tennis, Rope Climb and Basketball Slide;
Marathon: Punch Bag Balance.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
E 2 4 2 2 2 1 4

2

H 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
E 2 6 8 10 12 13 17

19

H 0 0 0 0 0 1 1

1

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 E • Ely
 H Hertford

19
1

Ely qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Arnhem, Netherlands:
staged on Wednesday 18th July 1973.
This result secured Ely the Radio Times Trophy for 1973
for the highest scoring team in the British heats.

The Venue

Ely, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely

Ely is a chartered city and originates from 673, when the foundations of an abbey were laid just north of the present site. With the present day population of around 17,000, it is deemed England’s 2nd smallest city outside of London. Ironically, the only English city which is smaller, the city of Wells, also participated in the programme this year - and they too won through to the International series!

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

Presenters Stuart Hall and Eddie Waring along with ‘Miss Knockout’ Pauline Cooper arrived in the arena aboard a 1912 steam-driven fire engine, pulled by two shire horses named Captain and Prince.

Returning Teams and Competitors

Ely team member Ian Rodger had already participated in the programme on two previous occasions: in the 1968 Cheltenham Spa team and the 1971 Tewkesbury team.

Additional Information

Due to inclement weather on the days leading up to and during the contest, some of the game designs had to be changed. Torrential rain had meant that Game 2 and the Marathon (originally called ‘Drum Stacking’ and ‘Punch Bag Balance’ respectively) had to be redesigned to the actual games played.

Ely's winning margin over Hertford was the largest ever in a domestic It’s a Knockout heat. In fact, Hertford did not score their solitary point until Game 6, after which the score stood at 13-1! With the team dropping just 1pt from a maximum score, it also equalled the feat achieved by West German team Villingen during the 1967 domestic series of Spiel Ohne Grenzen, when they trounced rivals Ellwangen an der Jagst by 23-2, also dropping just 1pt, in that case from a maximum score of 24pts. However, the highest-ever winning margin of 24pts occurred in the 1968 series of Spiel Ohne Grenzen when Inzell beat opponents Schongau by 24-0, winning every game in the process.

The presenters of the programme as well as the Hertford team were all shocked at the ferocity with which Ely stormed the games in the actual recording of the programme. This was an understandable reaction as in the rehearsal the Hertford team had won 16-4!

Hertford team members Michael Mean and Barbara Crane were in fact Olympic canoeists. They had both represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games held in Mexico City in 1968. Elaine Wisdom was not actually a playing team member of the Hertford squad. She had been crowned Miss Knockout by the Hertford town council before the competition and was there purely for support.

Ely team manager David Cornwell, a teacher and House Master at the King's School in Ely who was known as ‘Mr Cambridgeshire Bowls’, sadly died of cancer in 1994 having been diagnosed before taking over as President of the English Indoor Bowls Club. He was the son of Les Cornwell, who was the first County Indoor President and, like his son, was also a fine bowler. The English Indoor Bowls Association Headquarters at Melton Mowbray was re-named after David Cornwell as a mark of respect.

Footage from this edition was used in the BBC compilation, Best of Knockout 1973. Details in Knockout TV.

Made in Colour • This programme exists in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 5

Event Staged: Sunday 20th May 1973 at 4.15pm
Venue: Hirst Welfare Ground, Hirst Welfare Centre, Ashington, Northumberland, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 15th June 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Pam Nolan from Middleton, Lancashire

Teams: Ashington v. Blyth

Team Members included:
Ashington -
Jim Alder (Team Trainer), Alan Mole (Men’s Team Coach), Gwen Woodman (Ladies’ Team Coach), Gerry White (Team Manager), Jackie Armstrong, David Boone, Ron Brotherton, Alan Brown, Oliver Cole, Gordon Conway, Susan Crewe, Alan Cutter, Margaret Davies, Mary Forster, Barbara Hudson, Kenneth Johnson, Gill Matterface, Eric Moore, Ron Morris, Don Murray, Ken Patton, Melvin Robson, Ernie Slaughter, Austin Straker, Kathy Thomas, Jim Watson, John Watts;
Blyth - Brian Attwood (Team Manager), Albert Grant (Men’s Team Coach), Pamela Brown (Ladies’ Team Coach), Walter Appleby, George Armstrong, Henry Armstrong, Sheila Bates, Maureen Bland, Tom Brooks, David Brown, David Campbell, Adrian Cartie, David Cordes, Anne Finlay, Peter Ferry, Maria Johnson, Christine Lambert, John Logan, Anne McCabe, Ann Marley, Jimmy Norris, Jennifer Orton, Philip Pearson, Alan Peel, Janet Roberts, Alan Robson, Alison Roper, Michael Simpson, Jimmy Smith, Ian Thompson, Arthur Thurban, Tim Viard, Julie Wilson.

Games: Roller Skating Twist, Trampoline Football, Hod-ding the Ball, Basketball Stretch, Turning the Tables, Water Lot of Obstacles and First Past the Post…And Back!
Marathon: The Ball Bearers
Tie-Break Game: Darts

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team /
Colour
1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
A 0 2 2 0 2 2 0

2

B 2 0 0 4 0 0 4

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
A 0 2 4 4 6 8 8

10 *

B 2 2 2 6 6 6 10

10

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 A • Ashington
 B Blyth

10 *
10

* Result decided by a throw of a dart. See ‘The Games in Detail’ section below

Ashington qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Blankenberge, Belgium:
staged on Wednesday 15th August 1973

Blyth qualified as the highest scoring losing team for
Jeux Sans Frontičres
at Bristol, Great Britain:
staged on Wednesday 1st August 1973

The Venue

Ashington, Northumberland
 

The Hirst Welfare Ground

 

This heat was held in the grounds of the Hirst Welfare Centre, Ashington, a multi-use community facility, comprising of training facilities, office space, community cafe, community hall, gymnasium and dance studio. The Centre also has an external all weather floodlight synthetic football pitch with additional grass pitches.

The Rehearsals

This heat was a derby match in all senses of the word. The two towns are located just 10 miles from each other and are recorded as being the closest two teams ever to have played each other in the programme’s history. In the morning rehearsal, again in the pouring rain, the teams fought tooth and nail and the final result ended all level at 11-11. The actual competition would be just as nail-biting!

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Roller Skating Twist

This competition was closely fought throughout with a shock for the ‘home’ crowd coming in the first game - 'Roller Skating Twist' - when Ashington played the Joker and lost. This gave Blyth a 2-0 lead.


Game 2 - Trampoline Football

The Ashington fought back on the second game - 'Trampoline Football' - to level the score at 2-2.
 

The Ashington team take their turn at Trampoline Football

 


Game 3 - Hod-ding the Ball

Building on the success that the Ashington team enjoyed in the second game, they were also victorious in the third - 'Hod-ding the Ball' - and were now leading 4-2.


Game 4 - Basketball Stretch

Blyth produced their Joker on the next game - 'Basketball Stretch' - and won it, bringing the score to 6-4 in their favour.


Game 5 - Turning the Tables

The fifth game - 'Turning the Tables' - proved fruitful for the home team, who with another two points under their belt, managed to draw level with Blyth at 6-6.


Game 6 - Water Lot of Obstacles

Building on their success in the fifth game, the Ashington team won the sixth - 'Water Lot of Obstacles' - and now led Blyth 8-6.


Marathon - The Ball Bearers

As the competition developed, things were not looking good for the Ashington team on the Marathon as they were trailing Blyth by a hefty gap. They were unable to recover the deficit before the Marathon was concluded and as a result the Ashington team once more found themselves trailing on the scoreboard. With just one game left to play it declared Blyth as the leaders by a 10-8 margin, due to the 4pts awarded for the Marathon victory.


Game 7 - First Past the Post... and Back!

With a place in Belgium at stake, the Ashington team were determined to try and salvage the match, and that is what they accomplished - by just five seconds - and the contest ended in a 10-10 draw.


Tie-breaker - Darts

The tie-breaker game - 'Darts' - was as simple as it was nerve-wracking. The competition would be decided on one dart throw for each team. Albert Grant, one of the Blyth team’s coaches went first and could only hit a single six. Alan Mole the Ashington team’s counterpart stepped up to the oche and scored double eleven (22). The Ashington team leapt with joy and the Blyth team despite all their efforts had lost the local derby. The camera then panned to the scoreboard where Stuart Hall announced that although the Blyth team had lost there was still a chance that they might qualify for Jeux Sans Frontičres as the highest-scoring losing team.

Additional Information

The weather conditions were among the worst ever encountered throughout the history It’s A Knockout. The rain had been falling all morning and would not offer any respite. An inch of rain even fell during the recording of this event and the games’ site was under water. Commentator Stuart Hall recalled having to make three clothing changes just to get through the recording. The event was attended by 7,000 very wet fans! The official start of the recording was 4.45pm but the organisers requested the BBC start it earlier due to the torrential rain and cold conditions, as some of the crowd had been there since 3.00pm when the gates opened and were already soaked through. With the inclement conditions in mind, producer Barney Colehan and director Bill Taylor agreed and the programme began thirty minutes earlier at 4.15pm.

In an article in the Blyth Times dated 25th May 1973 entitled "Blyth are Out …OR are They?" producer Barney Colehan explained to Brian Attwood, the Blyth team manager, that "they (Blyth) would need to send a member of the team to Wells next week should the probability of the same outcome arising there. Team member Ian Thompson was chosen to go to Wells the following week, as Brian (Attwood) did not to chance fate with sending Albert (Grant) and losing again."

In a follow-up article from the same newspaper dated 1st June 1973 entitled "Blyth Are Through", Brian Attwood explained, “I sent Ian Thompson along to Wells in the hope that should the result end in a draw, he would get the team to the British Heat”. He added, “Ian called me around 5.30pm on Monday saying that we were through because the contest was beyond Porthcawl’s grasp. I must add that he was in a state of hysterics and said he could not wait to return to Blyth to congratulate the team and join in the celebrations”.

The Blyth team mascot was a 9 foot high monster goose which had been seen at the Wembley Cup Final two weeks earlier adorned in Sunderland’s colours of red and white. The team believed that it had brought luck to the underdogs of Sunderland against Leeds United that day, so they requested to have it as their mascot. However, despite it not bringing them luck on the day, some consolation was sought when they qualified as highest-scoring losers.

Ashington hired Jim Alder to train their team for the competition. Alder had previously worked preparing the British team for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and claimed that he worked the Ashington team every bit as hard as those Olympic hopefuls. Jim, a former distance runner, had participated in the 1966 Commonwealth Games, the 1968 Summer Olympics, the 1969 European Championships and the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

GB

It's A Knockout 1973

Heat 6

Event Staged: Monday 28th May 1973 (Bank Holiday Monday)
Venue: The Grounds and Moat, Bishop's Palace, Wells, Somerset, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 22nd June 1973, 8.15-9.00pm

Radio Times 'Miss Knockout': Lyn Grimshaw from Bristol, Somerset

Teams: Porthcawl v. Wells

Team Members included:
Porthcawl -
Vernon Thomas (Team Manager), Vic Davies (Co-Team Coach), Malcolm Shell (Co-Team Coach), Tony Evans, Kerry Townley;
Wells -
Jolyon Armstrong (Team Manager), Dave Cowley (Team Coach), Derek Bayliss (Team Captain), Jacky Baldwin, Julie Binding, Robert Brownlow, John Carter, Yvonne Connelly, Simon Cooper, Robert Davies, Christine Harding, John Franks, David Griffiths, Alan Guyver, Leslie Harrop, Lionel Isaac, Martin Leach, Phil Leaver, Jenny Lennard, Peter McEllin, Mark McGeoch, Terry Millard, Gerald Nightingale, Deborah Norton, Roger Rayward, Jackie Sampson, Linda Skirton, Mike Thurgur, Pauline Tooze, Betty Western, Helen Western, Philip Watson, Helen Whitehead and Tony Williams.

Games: Rubber-Tub-Tub, Drum and Paddle, Trays & Drums, Trampolining Waiters, Water Race, Greased Ramp Balloons and Island Crossing;
Marathon: High in the Sky.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 MAR 7
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
P 0 4 0 0 0 0 0

2

W 2 0 2 2 2 4 4

0

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
P 0 4 4 4 4 4 4

6

W 2 2 4 6 8 12 16

16

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 W • Wells
 P Porthcawl

16
6

Wells qualified for Jeux Sans Frontičres at Heiligenhafen, West Germany:
staged on Wednesday 29th August 1973

The Venue

Wells, Somerset

The games in this heat were held in the grounds and moat of the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. The Bishop of Bath and Wells had granted special permission for the programme to be held in the palace. The palace dates from the early-thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin Trotman, the first Bishop to hold the title Bishop of Bath and Wells, received a crown licence to build a residence and deer park on land to the south of the Cathedral of St Andrew.

The town of Wells originated around 704, but has only been a cathedral city since 1205. With a population of just over 12,000, it is deemed England’s smallest city outside of London. England’s next biggest city Ely, had already participated earlier in the series when they beat Hertford, with a record-breaking win of 19-1!

Additional Information

This heat looked like going the way of the Wells team right from the first game in which they stormed to victory. A slight hiccup in the second game when Porthcawl won their Joker, saw them trailing 4-2. But from then on, it was victory all the way with the team winning the next four games (playing and winning the Joker on Game 6) and the Marathon. With the score standing at 16-4, the team eased off to allow the Porthcawl team a second victory in the contest, but a trip to West Germany was already in the bag for the Somerset team.

At the end of this programme, David Cornwell, team manager of the Ely team, was presented with the Radio Times Trophy for being the highest scoring team in the British heats.

Footage from this edition exists in the BBC compilation, Best of Knockout 1973. Details in Knockout TV.

Made in Colour • This programme does not exist in the BBC Archives

 

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites