You may remember that some years ago ITV decided to spice up theit football coverage by employing Gazza, former footballer. When transplanted to the studio Gazza was awful – incomprehensible; uncontrollable; and hence, promptly dispatched to a roving reporter role (which diminished in size and importance as the tournament progressed). Those who had heard Gazza interviewed previously were not surprised by this.
Snooker has a long tradition of former players behind the mic. John Pulman (former ITV commentator); Ray Edmonds; John Virgo; Clive Everton et al – all were decent former pros (in Pulman’s case an exceptionally good player at a time when snooker was fairly unpopular). Currently former world champions Terry Griffiths (top coach and author of a how to play snooker book that actually taught the reader something); Steve Davis; Dennis Taylor; and John Parrott all now take their places in the commentary box or analyst suite. To this group the Beeb are adding Jimmy White. Those that have heard “the people’s champion” (the Princess Diana of the snooker world) interviewed will realise that this is a big mistake. But car crash television has its own merits, so Jimmy’s introduction to the analysts’ box on Saturday will be compelling, although I suspect not in the manner the Beeb anticipate.