Games without frontiers

IT was one of the most popular TV series of its generation.

Every week millions would tune in to see towns competing against each other in games which invariably ended up with the contestants in ridiculous costumes getting a soaking.

It’s A Knockout was presented by Dewsbury-born Eddie Waring and Lancastrian Stuart Hall - and in 1976 the film crews descended on the Princess Mary Playing Fields in Littletown to see Kirklees take on Doncaster and Leeds.

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After a hilarious and closely fought contest Kirklees emerged as the winners, qualifying for the European heat of the Europe-wide version Jeux Sans Frontiers.

Now, the makers of the BBC’s Inside Out want those who took part, or were spectators that day to get in touch so they can make a nostalgic programme of the event.

Newspaper archives of the day show that 4,000 spectators cheered on the sides.

The programme began in novel fashion with Stuart Hall introduced Eddie Waring as King Ludd - in reference to the Luddite rising of 1812 when rioters stormed Cartwright’s Mill which had once stood next to where the playing fields were.

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As the games started Doncaster and Leeds took the lead at different stages, but gradually Kirklees caught up.

Their master stroke came when they player their ‘joker’ in the sixth game - and won, with Huddersfield youth worker Brian Hayhurst first past the finish line.

Among the local competitors was Paul Dallas a sports supervisor at Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, Cleckheaton, and Tony Lees, a director of a Liversedge engineering firm.

Games included In The Ring, Catapulting Bags, Post the Ball and Give me A Ring.

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Lucy Smicksgill, from the Inside Out team, said: “We’ve decided to make a programme on this episode after some amateur film footage came to light.

“I’m trying to find team members and people who came to watch the filming. It was a very partisan crowd, cheering for Kirklees, and booing the Leeds team.

“It was just a shame that though Kirklees got through to the Europe heats, they didn’t get a trip to Europe as they were only held up the road in Leeds!”

The It’s a Knockout crew also filmed It’s a Cup Final Knockout with teams from Manchester United and Southampton’s supporters clubs, at the same venue in Littletown that week.

Anyone with information can contact Lucy on 0113 2247141, or via email at [email protected].