Sue Barker suggested that she was made to leave A Question of Sport after she stepped down as host. She said today: “I wouldn’t walk away from a job I love.” 

The 66-year-old former tennis star said she ‘regretted’ the way it was handled,  revealing that she was asked to say the decision was her own – despite being told she would be replaced as part of a ‘refresh’.

This is her last appearance on BBC Wimbledon Championships. John McEnroe made an emotional farewell and brought tears to the eyes of the veteran host. 

In September 2020, the BBC reported that she was leaving A Question of Sport. Later, Paddy McGuinness became the new host. 

Phil Tufnell, Matt Dawson, and Phil Tufnell were also team captains. 

Sue stated today on BBC Breakfast that it was a shame, as the BBC had informed us of her intention.  

They wanted to renew the program, and that is perfectly acceptable. Everybody has the right. It isn’t ours to control the program’. 

Her words were: “I have had the privilege of spending 24 wonderful years with some truly amazing people.” We knew that it would happen. It was the manner in which it occurred and how it was managed. The BBC wanted me to tell them I was leaving it.

“But, yet, I wouldn’t quit a job I love. I don’t mind being replaced. It’s okay. It happens. However, it was exactly the way that it was done.

“I believe we regret how it was handled. If we look back, I believe we could have done it better. The BBC should have done a better job.

The departures of Sue Barker, Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell were announced in September 2020

In September 2020, Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson announced their departures. 

Paddy McGuinness took over as part of a 'refresh'

Paddy McGuinness assumed control as part of the’refresh.

“It’s a shame, because it was something I really loved. It’s not something that I look at negatively, but a few bad days followed by negative publicity which affected quite a number of people.

Barker’s criticisms come days after Mark Lawrenson’s claims that his departure from the BBC was down to him being ’65 and a white male’.

Before being informed of the changes to the format in March, the former Liverpool player defender was a veteran of the company, having spent over three decades there, 25 with Football Focus.

Lawrenson stated to The Sunday Times that the Beeb were probably the most bad at reporting on you. 

It was simply, “We will be going on the road next Season with Focus. It is not something we think you would find appealing.

“I don’t remember watching the program since then to check if the team has gone on the road. You could be subbed, dropped, or even transferred if they forget that you were an ex-footballer. 

“Somebody could tell me that it was not good news. And I would respond with, “OK, let me tell you what it is.”

I wish they’d said that to me when my contract was up last year: “You’ve had great runs, thank you, but next season is not.”

Lawrenson says he ought to have considered leaving the show after Dan Walker, host of The Dan Walker Show in 2021, left. Lawrenson said that he was not ready for this. 

Mark Lawrenson said that his age and race played some part in his departure from the BBC

Mark Lawrenson claimed that his race, age, and gender played part in Mark’s departure from BBC

Lawrenson also revealed he became 'anti-woke' in response to the BBC's aim not to anger people

Lawrenson said he was ‘anti-woken’ to protest the BBC’s insistence on not angering people

Mark Lawrenson has claimed former Football Focus presenter Dan Walker found out about his departure from the show through rumours circulating about his future

Mark Lawrenson claims that Dan Walker, former Football Focus host, found out about Dan’s departure through rumours about his future

The 65-yearold says Walker’s removal as Football Focus host last season was’very bizarre’.

Lawrenson said: ‘It is just very very strange. Dan Walker. I’m sure Dan knows Dan. He used to host Football Focus. He discovered from rumours, that his job had been lost at the close of the season. 

“So the BBC’s operation is quite strange, I fear. It seems that they are afraid of giving you bad news. It’s a strange situation.

Walker was Manish Bhhasin’s primary presenter for Football Focus in 2009. He resigned after twelve years and was replaced by Alex Scott. 

Ex-Liverpool Defender also protested BBC’s instruction, as a radio commentator following Princess Diana’s 1997 death, not to make any mention of free-kick “walls”, in case someone would be offended by it.

Lawrenson said: “In all of my time at BBC, no one ever said that you couldn’t say this or another, but the wake thing drives me crazy.”

You’re thinking now, “If you say that, will you get in trouble?” The experience was similar to having your legs tied.

“The BBC, I believe, is the country’s national broadcaster. However they don’t like being upset by anyone.