It's A Christmas Knockout 1975

Entrants 1975: Belgium (B) • Great Britain (GB) • Italy (I) • Netherlands (NL) 

Presenters:
Paule Herreman (RTB - B)
Mike Verdrengh (BRT - B)
Stuart Hall (BBC - GB)
Rosanna Vaudetti (RAI - I)
Dick Passchier and Barend Barendse (NCRV - NL)

Referees: Gennaro Olivieri and Guido Pancaldi
British Referee: Mike Swann

Producer: Barney Colehan
Produced by RTB-BRT (B), BBC North West (GB), RAI (I), NCRV (NL)

I

It's A Christmas Knockout 1975

Christmas Special

Event Staged: Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd December 1975
Venue: Stadio Olimpico del Ghiaccio (Olympic Ice Stadium), Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
RAI Uno (I):
Thursday 25th December 1975, 10.10-11.00pm (il Natale)
BBC1 (GB):
Friday 26th December 1975, 4.10-5.00pm (Boxing Day)
NCRV (NL): Tuesday 30th December 1975, 7.05-8.00pm

Theme: Festive Fun

Teams: Charleroi (B) v. Southport (GB) v.
Cortina d’Ampezzo (I) v. The Dutch All-Stars (NL)

Team Members included:
Southport (GB) -
Harry Boyle (Team Coach), Christine Hodgson (Ladies' Team Captain), Sheila Brookfield, Tony Carr, Lisbeth Coldicott, Phil Conyngham, Pat Core, Bill Eales, Lorraine Evans, Derek Hulse, Linda Massam, Duncan Snell, Fred Weaver and Phil Weaver.

Games: Pulling the Sleighs, Snowballs on Tree, Chopping the Logs, Fathers Christmas, Posting the Cards, Christmas Trees and Candles, Snowmen on Skates and Happy New Year 1976.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Points Scored
B 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 1

GB

1 2 3 2 1 2 2 2
I 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 3
NL 3 4 1 4 4 1 4 4
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
B 2 3 5 7 9 12 14 15

GB

1 3 6 8 9 11 13 15
I 4 7 11 14 18 22 25 28
NL 3 7 8 12 16 17 21 25

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd
3rd
3rd

 I • Cortina d'Ampezzo
 NL • The Dutch All-Stars
 B • Charleroi
 GB • Southport

28
25
15
15

The Host Venue

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

This festive heat was staged at Cortina d’Ampezzo, a town in the Alps of Northern Italy with a population of around 6,200 inhabitants. Located in an alpine valley in the heart of the Dolomite mountain range, it is a popular winter sport resort known for its ski-ranges, scenery, accommodation, shops and après-ski scene.

Situated at the top of the Valle del Boite, Cortina d’Ampezzo is encircled for 360° by the Dolomites. The town centre is located at an elevation of 1,224m (4,015ft), although the highest point is that of the Tofana di Mezzo which towers at 3,244m (10,643ft). There is a significant water presence in the territory in the form of torrents, streams and little lakes, which fill particularly during the summer snow-melt season. Fauna include marmots, roe deer chamoises and hares.

During the Middle Ages, Ampezzo fell under the jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Empire, but in 1420, the village was conquered by the Republic of Venice. In 1508, it was conquered by Austria and by 1511, the people of Ampezzo swore loyalty to Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). Following Italy's victory in World War I, Ampezzo was finally given to Italy and, although remaining a Habsburg possession until 1920 and being home to an ethnic German minority, Ampezzo never became a teutophonic (German-speaking) territory. Instead it conserved its original language of Ladin, which is similar to the Swiss Romansch language, but one that is only spoken in the Dolomitic area.

After the War, the town was renamed Cortina d'Ampezzo (Curtain of the Ampezzo Valley), adopting the name of one of the six villages that made up the territory of Ampezzo, located in the middle of the Ampezzo valley.

Already an elite destination for the first British tourists from the late 18th century up to the early twentieth, Cortina d'Ampezzo also became a favourite resort for upper-class Italians after World War I. On the announcement that the town had been chosen to host the VIIth Winter Olympics of 1956, a new airport was constructed, but today it is no longer in use.

After playing host to the Olympic Games, it became a world-renowned resort, experiencing increased mass tourism and as a result, the town and surroundings have found themselves being utilised for various world cup events and motion pictures. Much of 1963 classic comedy The Pink Panther, the progenitor of the film series starring Peter Sellers (1925-1980) was filmed in Cortina D’Ampezzo. One of the most memorable James Bond stunt sequences in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, where Bond has to escape a crew of assassins on spike-wheeled motorcycles was filmed there, with his route taking them all onto the resort’s bobsleigh run. The scene of the first attack on Bond (portrayed by British actor Roger Moore) and his partner Melina Havelock (portrayed by French actress Carole Bouquet) in which two motorcyclists attempt to run them over only for Bond to eliminate them both, was set in the actual town centre. Also filmed on its slopes were several scenes in the 1993 film Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone and the 1983 film Krull starring Ken Marshall and Lysette Anthony. The town is also known for its jet-set and European aristocracy crowd.

The games were played at the Olympic Ice Stadium which was constructed between 1952 and 1954, primarily as an open-air figure skating arena after the town was awarded the honour of hosting the 1956 Winter Olympic Games. The venue was inaugurated on 26th October 1955 and was designed to hold between 7-8,000 spectators, with the possibility of making temporary arrangements to accommodate 12-15,000 spectators for the period of the Olympics. During the Games, the arena held the opening and closing ceremonies, the figure skating events and selected ice hockey games. Although originally open-air, a roof was added to the structure sometime after 1981. Akin with the town, the stadium was also utilised in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, for the scene in which Bond met with Aris Kristatos (portrayed by British actor Julian Glover) wherein Kristatos (the real villain) tries to trick Bond into pursuing and killing his rival Milos Columbo, portrayed by Israeli actor Chaim Topol.

The Venue

Stadio Olimpico del Ghiaccio (Olympic Ice Stadium)

The games were played at the Olympic Ice Stadium which was constructed between 1952 and 1954, primarily as an open-air figure skating arena after the town was awarded the honour of hosting the 1956 Winter Olympic Games. The venue was inaugurated on 26th October 1955 and was designed to hold between 7-8,000 spectators, with the possibility of making temporary arrangements to accommodate 12-15,000 spectators for the period of the Olympics. During the Games, the arena held the opening and closing ceremonies, the figure skating events and selected ice hockey games. Although originally open-air, a roof was added to the structure sometime after 1981. Akin with the town, the stadium was also utilised in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only, for the scene in which Bond met with Aris Kristatos (portrayed by British actor Julian Glover) wherein Kristatos (the real villain) tries to trick Bond into pursuing and killing his rival Milos Columbo, portrayed by Israeli actor Chaim Topol.

Additional Information

Knowing that the competition would be held in a snowbound location, Southport's team coach, former Rochdale and Southport professional footballer Harry Boyle, decided to take his team on visits the Liverpool Ice Rink for training, knowing that in the Italian team, they would be up against experts. The team flew out on Sunday 30th November, returning on Wednesday 3rd December 1975.

The Italian team from Cortina d'Ampezzo (like the French team, Nancy, in the International Final), were determined to win this heat. With a five point lead with two games to go, they needed to just score two points in the penultimate game to secure a draw (should they come last in the final game with the Dutch winning both). The Italians scored three points and their victory was being celebrated before the final game was played.

Made in Colour • This programme exists in the BBC Archives

 

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