A League of Their Own is a British sports-based comedy panel game that was first broadcast on Sky 1 on 11 March 2010. It is hosted by Gavin and Stacey star 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 series onwards.
On 23 April 2014, Sky announced that they have signed a three-year contract deal, which will see the show on the air until 2017.
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.Round 1 involves both teams having to rank three different sportspersons according to a specific criterion.
Round 2, Guest List, involves both teams having to guess the answers given by a sportsperson about his or her sport.
Round 3, Human Clock, sees two members of each team have to answer questions for as long as the third team member can sustain a physical challenge in the studio.
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. The Blue Team is captained by retired England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, formerly joined by once regular panellist and Sky Sports F1 presenter Georgie Thompson. As of series 5, comedian Jack Whitehall has replaced Georgie Thompson as regular panellist on the blue team due to Georgie's F1 commitments. In series 5, John Bishop was absent for several episodes due to his Sport Relief challenge, eventually leaving the show altogether. 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." 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. 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.
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), 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. 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, 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." The pilot was recorded on 24 October, and was due to be aired later in 2009. Sky1'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".
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." 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".
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".
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.
The following have made more than one appearance on the show as a guest (up to and including series 10, episode 8):a. ^ One of their appearances was as a guest team captain.
b. ^ Appearances made after series 5, when Bishop was no longer a regular panellist.
c. ^ Appearances made before Whitehall became a regular panellist.
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.
A Danish version of A League of Their Own aired on Kanal 5 on 7 September 2015. It is presented by comedian Carsten Bang and the captains are former professional cyclist Jesper Skibby and comedian Jesper Juhl. In the first season there was 10 episodes, and the last aired on 5 November 2015.
The first season was very successful on, with good ratings, and Kanal 5 decided to renew the show for a second season, with premiere on 18 Feburar 2016. The season contained 8 episodes, with the same host and captains as in season 1. The last episode of Season 2 aired on 14 April 2016.
Season 2 was another successful season for Kanal 5, and they decided to renew the show for a third season, with the same host and captains as in the first two seasons. The first episode in Season 3 aired on 4 September 2016.
Host Carsten Bang was nominated for Best Host at Zulu Awards 2016.