Noise Pollution is Good for You
1972, Fred Trueman, Sports, Television

52. Something for the Weekend: “Indoor League” with Fred Trueman

Yorkshire Television's "Indoor League" (1972-1977)

There is absolutely no doubt that television has changed beyond all recognition over the last thirty or forty years.

Whereas dramas were once slow burning and dialogue-centric, modern producers opt for fast paced, multi-edit shows that develop over season long story arcs.
This change is neither good nor bad – just different, and it is a factor that represents to a small degree how society today consumes dramatic media.

Perhaps the biggest change in television over the decades can be seen in its coverage of sports.
Hour-long pre-event shows with multiple features and “exclusive” interviews, providing “never before seen” insight into various competitors, have long since replaced the slap dash two-minute introductions that preceded past efforts.

Nowadays even localised or minor sports have disappeared from mainstream television. Over time, some were relegated to cultural obscurity or unloved cable channels to be shown alongside infomercials at 3am on a Tuesday morning.
Then of course there are “pub sports”, which rarely exist outside the confines of suburban or country bars; however it wasn’t always so.

Débuting in 1972, the Yorkshire TV production Indoor League featured many so-called pub sports such as Bar billiards, skittles, UK Rules pool, Shove ha’penny, arm wrestling (!!), table football, dominoes, and darts – several of which no longer seem to exist.
Presented by former England cricketer Fred Trueman, Indoor League ran until 1977, with five of its six seasons broadcast on national television station, ITV.

Filmed at The Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, Trueman presented each episode, while smoking a pipe and drinking a pint of bitter and chatting briefly about the “sports” and its various competitors, often in the most up-front, straight-forward manner conceivable.
That this was shown at lunchtime is one small signifier to how television has changed mightily in the times since.

Of the sports on Indoor League, only darts was to have any long-running major success, with its annual World Championship now a regular draw on television. The show is a wonderful nod to a time long since past, but don’t worry if some of the games look completely alien – most of them go over my head as well.

“Indoor League, Volume 1” on Amazon.co.uk


About Leigh O'Gorman

Give me motor racing, music and Doctor Who anytime


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