A Question of Sport executive producer Gareth Edwards reveals the changes made to shoot the new series at Dock 10 studios.
A Question of Sport returned to dock10 studios this month to record 10 episodes – it’s first since lockdown.
Coronavirus shooting guidelines meant the show had to shoot without an audience for the first time in its history.
Executive producer Gareth Edwards said: “There’s usually about 250 people in the audience, and they play a big part in the show, giving it a live theatre feel.”
The lack of an audience, though, made some of the regular guests feel more relaxed about the recordings, likening it to a quiz they’d play with friends and family on Christmas day. “It’s not that they wouldn’t want an audience back. But not having an audience gave it a more intimate feel,” says Edwards.
Another Covid-19 restriction limited the proximity of each team member, who needed to stay two metres apart, which was another big change for the show. New desks had to be built to enable this, and the gameplay was also tweaked to take into account quiet conferring about questions between teammates was no longer possible.
Instead, team captains and guests are encouraged to have their discussions out loud, which also has the added bonus of helping compensate for the lack of an audience. “We dropped the bonus point for fairness in the first instance,” says Edwards. “But because we were lacking 250 people in the audience, we wanted to make sure there was an atmosphere in the studio still.”
Edwards has also worked with the show’s directors, and camera, sound and lighting teams to make it look as if the teammates are not so isolated on screen. “There were a few clever camera angles that we would use, not to cheat the fact they are two metres apart – because that’s quite clear on the wider shots – but to give a sense that they are a team.”
The new series of A Question of Sport airs on Friday at 8.30pm on BBC1.