Willie axed by BBC
Snooker legend dropped from commentary team
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