Wil­lie axed by BBC

Snooker leg­end dropped from com­men­tary team

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SQUARE EYES - BY HECTOR NUNNS

SNOOKER favourite Wil­lie Thorne has told of his an­guish af­ter be­ing dropped as a BBC com­men­ta­tor.

Thorne, 63, was told yes­ter­day that he would not be be­hind the mi­cro­phone at the UK Cham­pi­onship next month and the World Cham­pi­onship next year.

The for­mer Strictly Come Danc­ing con­tes­tant said: “Af­ter over 30 years, the BBC have de­cided not to use me.

“I was sim­ply told by the BBC that they wanted to change tack … I am al­most speech­less.”

He added: “It was in­come I was ex­pect­ing be­fore Christ­mas. I have been ad­vised not to say too much as, if there was any chance of a come­back, it could make things worse.”

Lead­ing BBC com­men­ta­tor, sev­en­time world cham­pion Stephen Hendry, 48, tweeted: “Gut­ted my friend Wil­lie Thorne will not be at York and Sh­effield #bad­de­ci­sion #knowl­edge.”

Thorne, from Le­ices­ter, is pop­u­lar with mil­lions of fans, and known af­fec- tion­ately as “The Great WT” on the cir­cuit. He was re­tained only for the Welsh Open next Fe­bru­ary.

The BBC’S move comes months af­ter Thorne got a fi­nal warn­ing for drop­ping an F-bomb in com­men­tary at this year’s World Cham­pi­onship.

Thorne was on duty along­side Peter Eb­don for the Cru­cible match between Scots Stephen Maguire and An­thony Mcgill.

Re­mark­ing on how Mcgill was strug­gling, Thorne said on the BBC’S live red but­ton cov­er­age: “When you ‘go’ here though, Pete, it is a f ****** night­mare, this place.”

Thorne has spo­ken frankly about a gam­bling ad­dic­tion that has cost him mil­lions. He wept as he told the Sun­day Mir­ror in 2015 how it drove him to bankruptcy af­ter a sui­cide at­tempt.

A BBC spokesman said: “This is an editorial de­ci­sion, as our snooker cov­er­age evolves. Wil­lie has done a great job and we wish him well.”

A BAD BREAK Wil­lie weeps in Mir­ror in­ter­view STAR Wil­lie in ac­tion

‘GUT­TED’ Stephen Hendry

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.