Higgins, White and snooker&#039s dizzying whirlwind of drink, medication and gambling


There are no white supremacist groups, prisoners on Loss of life Row, or religious zealots in Louis Theroux’s newest venture into Television documentary.

The presenter with a style for the esoteric is off display and govt producer for the ‘Gods of Snooker’ a few-parter setting up subsequent Sunday night on BBC2, which specials with the explosion of the game into United kingdom well-known lifestyle in the 1980s, and the huge celebrities and controversies it produced.

So what have been the origins for this new species? Some could issue back all the way to naturalist David Attenborough, who as a Controller of Programming for the BBC 1st commissioned the small-structure ‘Pot Black’ demonstrate in 1969.

Then there was the emergence of Alex ‘The Hurricane’ Higgins from Belfast in Northern Ireland, the vintage ‘flawed genius’ whose snooker was as each little bit intoxicating as the vodka that was rarely much from his facet.

Higgins shook the activity to its main, upsetting rivals, the governing human body and legal authorities alike, but carried large on a wave of community adoration as the ‘People’s Champion’. You could argue that no other single player did more to sow the seeds for the revolution, or set funds in the pockets of today’s gamers, with earnings for the likes of earth No1 Judd Trump up to £1million a calendar year.

Higgins, whose tears as he termed for newborn Lauren immediately after his 1982 entire world title get turned an iconic image, was on a par with George Very best, or in later on a long time Gazza – missing all discipline, impossible to take care of and manage.

But even with the fines, assault typically forgiven for his exceptional talent.

Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins died in 2010

What became the cleaning soap opera that outgoing Globe Snooker chairman Barry Hearn termed “Dallas with balls, Coronation Avenue with cues,” noticed Higgins’ rivalry with previous policeman Ray Reardon gradually transfer to a youthful, gangly pink-haired child from Plumstead.

Steve Davis, who was managed to six environment titles by Hearn and mercilessly lampooned by strike satirical 1980s clearly show ‘Spitting Image’ for currently being tedious, reported: “I resolved if you were being likely to get fantastic at anything as a child, it would be by obtaining no other distractions.

“Therefore if you have been born ugly, ginger hair, little bit of dandruff, with no temperament, it was really not likely as a teenager you have been heading to want to start heading out to nightclubs.

“And that you’d significantly favor to be in a darkish place without having mirrors practising knocking the white ball up and down the spots for 8 hours a day.”

Or as Match of the Working day presenter Gary Lineker, a single of numerous exceptional talking heads and a massive snooker supporter at that time observed: “Steve Davis was a genius that wasn’t flawed.”

Journalists concerned at the time in putting snooker on the again and in some cases entrance web pages certainly include anything to the programme, absent from a current BBC documentary celebrating 40 a long time at the Crucible from when the Betfred World Championship arrived in 1977.

And the hits retain coming. Dennis Taylor’s final-black victory about Davis in the 1985 Crucible ultimate was viewed by 18.5million viewers despite ending soon after midnight.

Tony Knowles, the ‘Bolton Stud’ popular with an army of female lovers, was fined for bringing the activity into disrepute for saucy stories and photoshoots with women of all ages in various states of undress in the tabloids.

Jimmy White never won a World Championship
Jimmy White never received a Environment Championship

There is awesome footage of the Entire world Championship trophy from 1982 remaining ‘kidnapped’ by a driver trying to safe payment for himself in the course of an exhibition tour with Higgins and Jimmy White, right after a promoter ran off with all the income.

And Higgins was fined £12,500 and banned for 5 tournaments in 1986 for assaulting official Paul Hatherall at the Uk Championships.

The Hurricane’s pure heir always appeared like becoming Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White, and so it proved. White had Higgins’ flair on the desk, and appetite for chaos and living life to the entire off it.

For all the stories of consume, drugs and gambling – and cocaine and for a small when even crack threatened to just take a company maintain of White – the tale of him flipping more than and sinking a speedboat in the course of a tour of Hong Kong, forcing he and passenger Steve Davis to swim again to shore, is an additional highlight.

This correspondent’s individual own dwell experiences of Alex Higgins are somewhat restricted. I went to the aged Wembley Convention Centre in 1988 to see him beat Tony Knowles 5-4 in front of a sell-out 2,500 baying mob that resembled an absent terrace at a football match. The environment was electrical.

And the previous time I saw him was sitting quietly in the back row of a West Stop theatre, in his trademark fedora, watching the fantastic one particular-person clearly show by Richard Dormer about the Hurricane’s turbulent everyday living. Initially opposed to the task, Higgins finished up attending 15 moments.

’Gods Of Snooker’ is a 3-section BBC documentary created by Louis Theroux’s Mindhouse creation firm. The to start with episode airs on Sunday, May possibly 9th at 9pm on BBC2