If you’re currently wondering what a white haired gentleman has to do with a Queen song then you’re thinking of the wrong We Are The Champions. No, today’s post is all about the BBC sports game show of the same name, which was hosted by Ron Pickering, the aforementioned white haired gent.
We Are The Champions was basically a school sports day but on the telly. Teams of kids from different schools competed against each other in a series of events set out on a field and also in a swimming pool. The events were normally in the form of some kind of relay race (though not always) and involved the kids dashing under nets and over obstacles collecting rings or bean bags on the way.
Each of the teams wore different coloured shirts with a large geometric shape printed on in black, such as a big black circle or triangle. Each school obviously chose their best athletes to represent them (well, you supposed they did – it would be the sensible thing to do) whilst the sports-challenged members of the school cheered on from the side lines, normally with the odd air horn for good measure.
Mr. Pickering presided over the show with an authoritative yet friendly manner, befitting of his real job as a sports commentator and Olympic training coach. He started the show in 1973 and presented it for 19 years, until his death in 1991. At this point Gary Linekar took over the presenting duties, but the show finally came to an end in 1995, presumably because it was no longer cool enough for the TV schedules.
Each episode normally also featured a special sporting guest who helped Ron in explaining and starting the races, and in a small segment of the show answered some of the competing kids questions.
Remember this show? Well, if so far the answer is either “no” or “maybe” then the only thing left for me to say that might kick start the memories is Ron’s catchphrase, which he always saved for the very end of the show. By this time all the events had moved into the swimming pool, so the end of each programme involved all the kids jumping into the pool en masse when Ron bellowed “Away you go!” at them, and the theme song kicked in:-
We are the champions (clap-clap, clap clap)
We are the champions, greatest of them all
We are the champions, duh duh dur dur duh…
Yes, well, I don’t actually remember much of the theme song I’m afraid, I could never quite make out the words other than the obvious ones…