1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 6 (UK)
The idea for the Fantasy Football League TV show came from hosts Frank Skinner and David Baddiel who, having been part of the original Fantasy League line-up on Radio 5, felt they could make it work on television.
2.5 million people a week tuned in to the first series and the show became the most taped programme on telly – mainly because it was on while the pubs were still open, but also because so many kids weren’t up that late and wanted to watch it.
Such was the success of the show that BBC2 immediately commissioned a second series with a whole new line-up of celebrity managers, but still featuring Statto (Angus Loughran) – the resident statistician who, clad in a dressing gown and pyjamas, would stand in the corner of the kitchen and provide facts and figures on each of the guests’ fantasy football teams, while being made fun of by Skinner and Baddiel.
Former West Bromwich Albion player Jeff Astle led the guests in an improbable rendition of a classic song over the credits at the end of each show.
Celebrity managers who appeared on the show included Sean Bean, Elvis Costello, Michael Grade, Jo Brand, Russell Grant, Nick Hornby, Patsy Kensit, Delia Smith, Jimmy Tarbuck, and Paula Yates.
Fantasy Football became one of the biggest crazes of the decade.