As It's A Knockout moved into the 1980s, it was clearly
past its halcyon days, but it remained a popular and entertaining staple of
the BBC1 schedule. Director, Geoff Wilson took over
the reigns as producer from the departing Cecil Korer, and veteran It’s A Knockout
producer, Barney Colehan returned for one year to help Wilson with the
transition to producer. During the year, quite possibly at the Northern
Ireland heat at Portrush, the entire BBC crew (minus commentator Eddie Waring)
gathered for a group photograph, revealing the army of production staff behind
each transmission - a crew of fifty-three people in addition to the
presentation and refereeing staff!
New costumed characters this year included the ‘Gruffs’, huge over-sized
Bloodhound-like dogs and the wide-open mouthed ‘Drunkards’ (which had been
used at the British International at St. Albans last year).
1980 also saw Belgium achieve two wins in the programme (for the first
time since 1971). West Germany's long association with Jeux Sans Frontières
came to an end this year, a result of poor audience figures after the show was
moved to a Saturday morning slot in the WDR schedule.
the Winter series Yugoslavia joined the programme, creating a four-country
competition. The Parallel Slalom game was repackaged as the Fil Rouge and was
now run only once by each country. The Joker was re-introduced with double
points only awarded if the game was won, and the final game of each winter
heat now carried double points.