A League of Their Own
GenreComedy
Panel game
Sports
Presented byJames Corden
Romesh Ranganathan
StarringFreddie Flintoff
Jamie Redknapp
John Bishop
Georgie Thompson
Jack Whitehall
Theme music composerWill Slater
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series16
No. of episodes202 (As of 2 September 2021) (list of episodes)
Production
Production locationsPinewood Studios (2010)
BBC Elstree Centre (2011–15)
Elstree Studios (2016–)
Running time60 mins (episode 1, series 3–, Specials)
30 mins (series 1–2)
Production companyCPL Productions
Release
Original networkSky One (2010–2021)
Sky Max (2021–)
Picture format16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original release11 March 2010 (2010-03-11) –
present
External links
Website

A League of Their Own is a British sports-based comedy panel game that was first broadcast on Sky One (now Sky Max) on 11 March 2010. It was originally hosted by James Corden and features Andrew Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp as team captains. John Bishop and Georgie Thompson were regular panellists for the first four series alongside two weekly guests. Jack Whitehall joined the cast as a regular panellist from the fifth to the twelfth series.[1] Romesh Ranganathan joined the show as a regular panellist from the thirteenth series, before taking over as host.[2]

In June 2019, it was confirmed that, due to Corden's commitments to his U.S. talk show The Late Late Show, the 14th series would be presented in part by guests hosts Ranganathan, Whitehall, David Walliams, Clare Balding, Amanda Holden and Flintoff.[3] Corden's absence was extended into the 15th series due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was hosted mainly by Ranganathan with Flintoff and Redknapp hosting one episode apiece.[4]

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.[5]

Participants

The show is hosted by James Corden, a comedy writer best known for co-writing and starring in Gavin & Stacey. The Red Team is captained by retired footballer Jamie Redknapp, who was formerly joined by once regular panellist and stand-up comedian John Bishop. In series 5, John Bishop was absent for several episodes due to his Sport Relief challenge, eventually leaving the show altogether. The Blue Team is captained by retired England cricketer Freddie Flintoff, formerly joined by once regular panellist and Sky Sports F1 presenter Georgie Thompson. From series 5 to 12, comedian Jack Whitehall replaced Georgie Thompson as regular panellist on the blue team due to Georgie's F1 commitments. From series 13, after Jack Whitehall departed from the show, Redknapp’s team partner was comedian Romesh Ranganathan.[2] Each week 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."[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Production

The show was created by Paul Brassey, a development producer at CPL Productions. The show was recorded in Pinewood Studios (Elstree Studios from series 3 onwards),[9] 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.[10] 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,[11] 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."[12] The pilot was recorded on 24 October,[10] and was due to be aired later in 2009.[12] 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".[13]

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."[14] 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".[15]

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".[16]

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.[5]

Guest appearances

Comedian Jimmy Carr has made twenty one guest appearances making him the most frequent guest on the programme.
Comedian Jimmy Carr has made twenty one 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 16, episode 8):

21 appearances
12 appearances
11 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
1 11 March 2010 13 May 2010 10
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
6 26 October 2012 14 December 2012 8
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
14 15 August 2019 3 October 2019 8
15 13 August 2020 1 October 2020 8
16 19 August 2021 7 October 2021 8

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

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]

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

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 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. 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) served as executive producer of the show.

References

  1. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (15 March 2012). "Jack Whitehall joins Sky1's 'A League of Their Own' for fifth series". Digital Spy.
  2. ^ a b "Romesh Ranganathan replaces Jack Whitehall on A League Of Their Own". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Who's standing in for James Corden on A League Of Their Own". Chortle. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Romesh Ranganathan to host Sky One's A League of Their Own in James Corden's absence". Radio Times. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Natalie Jamieson (20 January 2010). "Corden wants David Beckham for a Sport Relief sketch". Newsbeat. BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  7. ^ Alex Fletcher (10 March 2010). "Redknapp nervous about comedy show". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ ""A League of Their Own"". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b "A League of Their Own – Production Details". The British Comedy Guide. n.d. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b "Corden to host sports quiz". Chortle.co.uk. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Harry Venning (15 March 2010). "TV review". The Stage. Retrieved 26 March 2010.