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.

In 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.

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