‘Knockout’ competitors are game for a splash

Paul Dallas in action.
Paul Dallas in action.

IT was compulsory family viewing in the 1970s, and this week the madcap antics of It’s A Knockout were re-lived when an original recording of an episode filmed in Spen was aired on national TV.

Its charismatic host Stuart Hall returned to the Princess Mary Playing Fields in Liversedge to be reunited with the Kirklees team which went on to represent their country in the European-wide version of the games, Jeux Sans Frontieres.

Filming took place in April, and the programme was aired this Monday on the BBC’s Inside Out programme together with footage from the original games.

The legendary broadcaster was filmed first in Cleckheaton town centre, and then at the Princess Mary playing fields in Liversedge where the 1976 heat between Kirklees, Leeds and Doncaster took place.

He recalled that the event took place on the only wet day during the blisteringly hot summer of 1976.

“It was raining stair-rods and the sky was black,” he said.

He joked that while critics called the programme ‘simple, crude and rudimentary’ – it was ‘simple, crude and rudimentary’ and that was precisely its appeal!

After being filmed at the running track, the team then went indoors to the pool for two It’s a Knockout type games, cheered on by spectators.

First the competitors had to balance on a float in the pool and catch and throw weighted ribbons to the other side – while being fired at with water guns.

They then had to negotiate an inflatable obstacle course.

The team comprised Eileen Marchant, who was a school improvement officer for Kirklees, Jonathan Crossland of Huddersfield (who has died since the filming took place), Paul Dallas of Cleckheaton (who was immortalised as Humpty Dumpty in the 1976 games), David Laverick of Golcar and Tony Lees of Liversedge.