A League of Their Own
GenreComedy
Panel game
Sports
Presented byJames Corden
Romesh Ranganathan
StarringFreddie Flintoff
Jamie Redknapp
Georgie Thompson
John Bishop
Jack Whitehall
Micah Richards
Jill Scott
Mo Gilligan
Theme music composerWill Slater
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series16
No. of episodes232 (As of 23 March 2023) (list of episodes)
Production
Production locationsPinewood Studios (2010)
BBC Elstree Centre (2011–15)
Elstree Studios (2016–)
Running time60 mins (episode 1, series 3–present, specials)
30 mins (series 1–2)
Production companyCPL Productions
Original release
NetworkSky One (2010–2021)
Sky Max (2021–)
Release11 March 2010 (2010-03-11) –
present

A League of Their Own is a British sports-based comedy panel game show that was first broadcast on Sky One on 11 March 2010. The show is currently hosted by Romesh Ranganathan and features Jamie Redknapp and Jill Scott as team captains and Micah Richards and Mo Gilligan as regular panellists.

Format

The show is a standard panel quiz show where two teams of three, the Red and Blue teams compete for points awarded in three rounds, to find the overall winning team by points total.[1]

Participants

The show was hosted for the first 13 series by James Corden. The Red Team is captained by former Liverpool and England footballer Jamie Redknapp, who was formerly joined by once regular panellist and stand-up comedian John Bishop. In series 5, Bishop was absent for several episodes due to his Sport Relief challenge, eventually leaving the show as a regular. Redknapp was joined on the red team by comedian Romesh Ranganathan for series 13 and 14.[2] The Blue Team was captained by retired Lancashire and England cricketer Freddie Flintoff for the first 16 series.[3] Flintoff was replaced by a series of guest captains starting from series 17.[4] For the first four series Flintoff was joined by then Sky Sports F1 presenter Georgie Thompson. From series 5, comedian Jack Whitehall replaced Thompson as regular panellist on the blue team due to her F1 commitments. Whitehall himself left the show after series 12.[5] Micah Richards became the blue team's regular panellist from series 17.[4] Former England midfielder Jill Scott and comedian Mo Gilligan will join the show as the new blue team captain from the fortcoming series 18.[6][7] Each episode the teams are supplemented by special guests.

Neither Corden, Redknapp nor Thompson had been regular features on a television panel show before. Corden was non-committal about whether the show marked a new direction for him as a television host, stating "I spend most of my time sitting in a room with my mates talking about sport anyway. To get paid to do such a thing will be great. I hope it will be a fun show and people will enjoy watching it."[8] Redknapp said "I'm loving it, but it is nerve-wracking" and "the key is to try to have a bit of fun, but to remember that we're not comedians and can't compete with the professionals" referring to Bishop and Corden.[9] Thompson said of the show that it was "the fun factor that I've been looking for" and represented an "exciting opportunity" in her career.[10]

Due to Corden's commitments to his U.S. talk show The Late Late Show, the 14th series was presented, in part, by guest hosts.[11] Corden's absence was extended into the 15th series due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This series was hosted mainly by Ranganathan with Flintoff and Redknapp hosting one episode apiece.[12] Ranganathan was confirmed as the show's new permanent host starting from series 16.[13]

Production

The show was created by Paul Brassey, a development producer at CPL Productions. The show was recorded in Pinewood Studios (BBC Elstree Centre from series 3, and Elstree Film Studios from series 12),[14] being filmed on Mondays and Tuesdays in front of a live studio audience. The show was commissioned by Duncan Gray, with Gray, Danielle Lux and Murray Boland acting as Executive Producers.[15] It was announced on 20 October 2009 that the pilot for the show would be hosted by Corden alongside team captains Redknapp and England cricketer Stuart Broad,[16] although Broad was replaced in the line up by Flintoff by the time of the series 1 start. Executive producer Danielle Lux said it would be "an Olympic standard comedy show for anyone who loves their sport and a fun-filled half-hour for those who don't."[17] The pilot was recorded on 24 October,[15] and was due to be aired later in 2009.[17] Sky One's promotion for the show included a TV advert featuring Corden mis-kicking a football, spoofing contemporary serious sportswear advertising campaigns, accompanied by the tagline "the new panel show that doesn't take sport too seriously".[18]

Reception

Keith Watson of the Metro welcomed the show as a challenger to "Britain's No.1 TV sports spot-the-scripted-bits banter show", referring to the BBC's show A Question of Sport, hosted by Sue Barker. Watson, writing after the first episode, said "Team skippers Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp are just there as window-dressing/butts of jokes, for this is Corden's show and he takes to it like a puck to the ice rink. [Sue] Barker beware."[19] Sharon Lougher and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh also of the Metro went further, announcing the show as "basically, A Question of Sport for idiots ... the televisual equivalent of Nuts magazine".[20]

Writing after the first episode, Harry Venning of The Stage panned the show, summarising it as "Imagine A Question of Sport without the sports questions, combined with They Think It's All Over without the comedy". Criticising the length of the opening hour-long special, Venning said it contained some fine gags but not enough of them, and the format was "dull, unimaginative and painfully protracted", albeit praising Flintoff for being "surprisingly witty and charming".[21]

The British Comedy Guide said of the first episode that "the sportsman-dominated panel showed: very few laughs, and little charm" and were not convinced of the format, although conceding that not being sports fans they might not be the target audience.[1]

Guest appearances

Comedian Jimmy Carr has made 24 guest appearances, making him the most frequent guest on the programme.

The following have made more than one appearance on the show as a guest (up to and including series 18, episode 8):

24 appearances
13 appearances
12 appearances
8 appearances
7 appearances
6 appearances
5 appearances
4 appearances
3 appearances
2 appearances

Transmissions

Main article: List of A League of Their Own episodes

Original

Series

Series Start date End date Episodes Presenter Team captains Regular panellist(s)
1 11 March 2010 13 May 2010 10 James Corden Jamie Redknapp Freddie Flintoff John Bishop & Georgie Thompson
2 7 October 2010 11 November 2010 10
3 4 March 2011 29 April 2011 8
4 7 October 2011 18 November 2011 7
5 20 April 2012 8 June 2012 8 John Bishop & Jack Whitehall
6 26 October 2012 14 December 2012 8 Jack Whitehall
7 23 August 2013 11 October 2013 8
8 29 August 2014 17 October 2014 8
9 15 May 2015 3 July 2015 8
10 7 January 2016 25 February 2016 8
11 22 September 2016 10 November 2016 8
12 14 September 2017 26 October 2017 7
13 30 August 2018 18 October 2018 8 Romesh Ranganathan
14 15 August 2019 3 October 2019 8 James Corden & Guest presenters
15 13 August 2020 1 October 2020 8 Romesh Ranganathan N/A
16 19 August 2021 7 October 2021 8
17 18 August 2022 6 October 2022 8 Guest team captains Micah Richards
18 25 October 2023 13 December 2023 8 Jill Scott Micah Richards & Mo Gilligan

Specials

Date Entitled
20 May 2010 The Best of Series 1
27 May 2010 The Unseen Bits from Series 1
12 November 2010 The Best of Series 2
19 December 2010 The Unseen Bits from Series 2
23 December 2010 Christmas Special
6 May 2011 The Unseen Bits from Series 3 (Part 1)
13 May 2011 The Best of Series 3 (Part 1)
20 May 2011 The Best of Series 3 (Part 2)
27 May 2011 The Unseen Bits from Series 3 (Part 2)
16 December 2011 End of Year Special
6 January 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 4
13 January 2012 The Best of Series 4
15 June 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 5 (Part 1)
22 June 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 5 (Part 2)
29 June 2012 The Best of Series 5
21 December 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 6 (Part 1)
28 December 2012 The Unseen Bits from Series 6 (Part 2)
18 October 2013 The Unseen Bits from Series 7 (Part 1)
25 October 2013 The Unseen Bits from Series 7 (Part 2)
1 November 2013 The Best of the Rally Car Special
8 November 2013 The Best of Series 7
17 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 1)
24 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 2)
31 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 3)
31 October 2014 The Unseen Bits from Series 8 (Part 4)
24 December 2014 Christmas Special
10 July 2015 The Best of Series 9 (Part 1)
17 July 2015 The Best of Series 9 (Part 2)
24 July 2015 The Unseen Bits from Series 9 (Part 1)
31 July 2015 The Unseen Bits from Series 9 (Part 2)
3 March 2016 The Best of Series 10 (Part 1)
10 March 2016 The Best of Series 10 (Part 2)
17 November 2016 The Unseen Bits from Series 11
24 November 2016 The Best of Series 11
24 December 2016 Christmas Special
10 August 2017 A Premier League of Their Own
5 December 2017 The Unseen Bits from Series 12
12 December 2017 The Best of Series 12
21 December 2017 Christmas Special
25 October 2018 The Unseen Bits from Series 13
1 November 2018 The Best of Series 13
20 December 2018 Christmas Special
10 October 2019 The Unseen Bits from Series 14
17 October 2019 The Best Bits from Series 14
19 December 2019 Christmas Special
15 October 2020 The Unseen Bits from Series 15
22 October 2020 The Best Bits from Series 15
17 December 2020 Christmas Special
14 October 2021 The Unseen Bits from Series 16
21 October 2021 The Best Bits from Series 16
13 December 2021 Christmas Special
13 October 2022 The Unseen Bits from Series 17
20 October 2022 The Best Bits from Series 17
12 December 2022 Christmas Special
12 July 2023 The Lionesses Special

Road Trip

Series

Series Start date End date Episodes Area
1 10 May 2016 24 May 2016 3 USA
2 5 June 2017 26 June 2017 4 USA
3 10 January 2019 31 January 2019 4 Europe
4 9 January 2020 30 January 2020 4 Europe
5 8 April 2021 29 April 2021 4 UK[g]
6 7 April 2022 28 April 2022 4 UK & Ireland[h]
7 17 February 2023 10 March 2023 4 Southeast Asia
8 21 May 2024 11 June 2024 4 Mexico

Specials

Date Entitle
31 May 2016 The Unseen Bits from US Road Trip
3 July 2017 The Unseen Bits from US Road Trip 2.0 (Part 1)
10 July 2017 The Unseen Bits from US Road Trip 2.0 (Part 2)
17 July 2017 The Best of US Road Trip 2.0
7 February 2019 The Unseen Bits from European Road Trip
14 February 2019 The Best of European Road Trip
6 February 2020 The Unseen Bits from European Road Trip
13 February 2020 The Best of European Road Trip
6 May 2021 The Unseen Bits from Loch Ness to London
13 May 2021 The Best of Loch Ness to London
5 May 2022 The Unseen Bits from Dingle to Dover
12 May 2022 The Best of Dingle to Dover
17 March 2023 The Unseen Bits from Southeast Asia
24 March 2023 The Best of Southeast Asia
18 June 2024 The Unseen Bits from Mexico
25 June 2024 The Best of Mexico

International versions

Australian version

An Australian version of A League of Their Own aired on Network Ten on 16 September 2013. It was presented by comedian Tommy Little and the captains were tennis star Pat Cash and swimmer Eamon Sullivan. The series had ten episodes. Nine episodes were broadcast with the tenth episode being viewed online after it was cancelled to immediate effect after posting a disappointing rating in the show's ninth week.

Danish version

A Danish version of A League of Their Own aired on Kanal 5 on 7 September 2015. The Danish title is "5. Halvleg", in English: "5th half". The show is presented by comedian Carsten Bang and the captains are former professional cyclist Jesper Skibby and comedian Jesper Juhl. In the first series, there was 10 episodes, and the last aired on 5 November 2015.

The first series was very successful, with good ratings, and Kanal 5 decided to renew the show for a second series, with the premiere on 18 February 2016. The series contained 8 episodes, with the same host and captains as in series 1. The last episode of series 2 aired on 14 April 2016.

Series 2 was another successful series for Kanal 5, and they decided to renew the show for a third series, with the same host and captains as in the first two series. The first episode of series 3 aired on 4 September 2016.

Series 4 on 5 went on with the same host and captains. The first episode of series 4 aired on 12 February 2017 and the last episode aired on 22 June 2017. The first episode of series 5 aired on 2 November 2017.

Awards

Host Carsten Bang was nominated for Best Host at Zulu Awards 2016.

German version

A German version of A League of Their Own called Eine Liga für sich - Buschis Sechserkette, in English: A League of its Own - Buschi's Chain of Six aired on German TV channel Sky 1 on 13 March 2017. It is presented by sports commentator and former basketball player Frank Buschmann. Comedian Matze Knop and television host and former professional handball player Panagiota Petridou serve as captains.

American version

An American version of A League of Their Own called Game On! aired on CBS on 27 May 2020 until 22 July 2020. The show was hosted by Keegan-Michael Key with tennis champion Venus Williams and three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski as team captains. James Corden (who hosts The Late Late Show for the network and was the presenter of the original British version) served as executive producer of the show. At the time, this version was going to be aired on 20 May before the change to 27 May.

Country Title Broadcaster Presenter Premiere Finale
 Australia A League of Their Own Network Ten Tommy Little 16 September 2013 11 November 2013
 Denmark 5. Halvleg Kanal 5 Carsten Bang 7 September 2015 2017
 Germany Eine Liga für sich - Buschis Sechserkette Sky 1 Frank Buschmann 13 March 2017 14 February 2022
 Spain Invictus, ¿te atreves? La 1 Patricia Conde 17 June 2024 present
 United States Game On! CBS Keegan-Michael Key 27 May 2020 22 July 2020

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "A League of Their Own". The British Comedy Guide. n.d. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Romesh Ranganathan replaces Jack Whitehall on A League Of Their Own". British Comedy Guide. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Freddie Flintoff quits A League Of Their Own". British Comedy Guide. 14 February 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Micah Richards joins A League Of Their Own". British Comedy Guide. 8 July 2022. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Jack Whitehall quits A League Of Their Own after six years to pursue career in America". Evening Standard. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  6. ^ "There's a new Angel up north, and she's in A League of Her Own!". Sky UK. 4 July 2023. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  7. ^ "Sky's A League of Their Own announce major new signing of triple BAFTA winner Mo Gilligan as recurring red team panellist". Sky Group. 5 September 2023. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  8. ^ Natalie Jamieson (20 January 2010). "Corden wants David Beckham for a Sport Relief sketch". Newsbeat. BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  9. ^ Alex Fletcher (10 March 2010). "Redknapp nervous about comedy show". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  10. ^ Alex Fletcher (10 March 2010). "Thompson: 'I'm out of comfort zone'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Who's standing in for James Corden on A League Of Their Own". Chortle. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Romesh Ranganathan to host Sky One's A League of Their Own in James Corden's absence". Radio Times. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Romesh Ranganathan becomes new A League Of Their Own host". British Comedy Guide. 24 June 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  14. ^ ""A League of Their Own"". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  15. ^ a b "A League of Their Own – Production Details". The British Comedy Guide. n.d. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  16. ^ Dan French (20 October 2009). "Corden, Redknapp for Sky1's 'League'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Corden to host sports quiz". Chortle.co.uk. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  18. ^ "Watch James Corden in A League of Their Own ad". The Guardian. London. 19 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  19. ^ Keith Watson (12 March 2010). "James Corden steps into Sue Barker role for A League of Their Own". Metro. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  20. ^ Sharon Lougher, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh (11 March 2010). "Today's TV highlights". Metro. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  21. ^ Harry Venning (15 March 2010). "TV review". The Stage. Retrieved 26 March 2010.