Sid Waddell

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Sid Waddell
Born (1940-08-10)10 August 1940
Alnwick, Northumberland, England
Died 11 August 2012(2012-08-11) (aged 72)
Northumberland, England
Cause of death
Bowel cancer
Nationality British
Occupation Sports commentator, television presenter
Years active 1972–2012
Known for

Darts commentary

One liners

Sid Waddell (10 August 1940 – 11 August 2012) was an English sports commentator and television personality. He was nicknamed 'The Voice of Darts' due to his fame as a darts commentator, and worked for Granada, Yorkshire, BBC, and Sky Sports television broadcasters. He was nominated for two prestigious awards for his work, and published several books.

Early life[edit]

The son of a Northumberland miner, he attended King Edward VI School,[1] Morpeth, and he went on to obtain a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge,[2] where he graduated with a 2:1 degree in Modern History. At Cambridge, Waddell played rugby for St John's, and the Cambridge University LX Club, the rugby second team. Injury brought him to darts and he started the inter-college darts competition. St John's lost in the final of this in 1961 to a team of trainee vicars from Selwyn College.

Career[edit]

Granada & Yorkshire[edit]

Waddell went into academia for a few years in 1962. He joined the Social Studies Department at Durham University and helped the Professors of Politics and Economics write books. He toyed with the idea of a book on trade unions but settled for folk singing in a duo with Charles E Hall called the Gravyboatmen. They played on BBC 'Tonight' and ITV locally. In 1966 Waddell joined Granada Television working with Michael Parkinson on local news programmes. In 1968 he moved to Yorkshire Television where he created the show Indoor League[3] which featured various pub games including darts. Between 1968 and 1974, he was a producer for over 600 editions of local news programme, Calendar. He also devised the ITV network children's series The Flaxton Boys a historical derring-do that ran for three years from 1969.

BBC[edit]

In 1976, he switched to the BBC and his prior experience with televised darts helped him to become one of the commentators on the first World Professional Darts Championship when it began in 1978. He stayed with the BBC until 1994, with his last darts commentary on the BBC being the first 4 sets of the 1994 BDO World Final between John Part and Bobby George.

During his time with the BBC, Waddell penned ten episodes of a successful children's television series, Jossy's Giants in 1986. He was also the writer of two series of another children's show Sloggers which ran from 1994 to 1996. His credits also include working with the eccentric scientist Magnus Pyke and was Alan Whicker’s producer on Whicker’s Women in 1972. He worked on The Russell Harty Show, and in 1993 did a series for Tyne Tees Television called Waddell’s World in which he was a butler to a posh Tweeddale family, a caravanner and on the dole.

He made one performance as the "Voice of the Balls" on the National Lottery Red Alert on BBC in 1999. He claimed to have been sacked for being "too Geordie".[4]

Sky Sports[edit]

From 1994, he became an independently employed commentator, but mainly associated with his work with Sky Sports. The first darts tournament he commentated on for Sky Sports was the 1994 World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool in July 1994. For the next 17 years, he worked continuously as a commentator on darts tournaments televised by Sky Sports. Despite being diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2011 and undergoing treatment, he managed to come back to the darts commentary box on a sporadic basis in the spring of 2012 during some Premier League nights.

Besides darts, he commentated on numerous other sporting events produced by Sky Sports and/or Matchroom Sport over the years. Most notable, he regularly commentated on the four annual nine-ball pool events on which the two companies collaborated (World Pool Championship; World Pool Masters; World Pool League; and Mosconi Cup). However, as these events began to be hosted further away from the UK, Waddell gradually withdrew from the sport. His commentaries in these events gained him an international following, particularly in the Philippines.

In 2004, he was the commentator for the British game show House of Games in which two families competed in various household based challenges.[5]

In 2007, Waddell and Eric Bristow recorded a series of "Bellies and Bullseyes" darts programmes about the World Darts Championship from 1978 until 1990 for ESPN Classic, which were later broadcast on the channel in December 2007.

Waddell's last darts commentary came at the 2012 Premier League final between Phil Taylor and Simon Whitlock on 17 May, where Phil Taylor won the match 10-7 to take the 2012 Premier League title, although Waddell only commentated on the first part of the match; his last commentary contributing to a full match came in the same event in the same evening in the semi final match between Phil Taylor and James Wade, Taylor won the match 8-6.

Sid Waddell's last interview came in June 2012, a sit down chat where he discussed his life, darts commentary, pool commentary, and his bowel cancer. It was aired on Sky Sports on 16 August 2012, 5 days after his death, as a tribute entitled: Sid Waddell - A life in his own words.

Awards[edit]

Waddell was twice nominated for TV awards. He was up for BAFTA best director in 1992 for a documentary in the Ipso Facto series, and in 1994 he was nominated for best scriptwriter in the Writers' Guild of Great Britain awards for his children's cricket series Sloggers.

Publications[edit]

He wrote eleven published books, including biographies of John Lowe, Jocky Wilson and Phil Taylor. His book Bellies and Bullseyes was short listed for the British Sports Book Award for 2008.[6]

His racy 1973 novel Bedroll Bella about a Geordie groupie, was banned by WH Smiths and John Menzies. In 2009 he published a memoir of his boyhood in a Geordie pit village The Road Back Home.

Personal life[edit]

Waddell was married to Irene and they have a joint family of five children: Nick, Lucy, Emma, Charlotte and Dan. A fervent Newcastle United supporter, Waddell lived in Leeds.[7] In September 2011, it was announced that Waddell had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.[8]

He succumbed to bowel cancer on 11 August 2012, the day after his 72nd birthday.[9] Following his death, the decision was made to rename the PDC World Darts Championship trophy to the Sid Waddell trophy from 2013 onwards.[10] Waddell's funeral was held in Leeds on 22 August 2012. Before Waddell's funeral he was cremated earlier in the day in a private ceremony.[11]

Quotes[edit]

  • "It's the greatest comeback since Lazarus"[12]
  • “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer..... Bristow's only 27.”
  • "He's burning the midnight oil at both ends!"
  • “There's only one word for that - magic darts!”
  • “It's like trying to pin down a kangaroo on a trampoline”
  • “The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in with a portion of chips, you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them”

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Remembering Sid, the voice of darts". 
  2. ^ "Sid Waddell: The life and times of one of sport's greatest voices". 
  3. ^ "Profile from Waddell's web site". Sidwaddell.compsyswebdesign.com. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Waddell's television career". Sidwaddell.compsyswebdesign.com. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420411/%7CIMDb page
  6. ^ "British Sports Book Awards". Nationalsportingclub.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 July 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Smith, Giles (14 December 2007). "Man who delivered whole new language to sport remains as sharp as an arrow". The Times (UK). Retrieved 11 February 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Commentator Sid Waddell diagnosed with bowel cancer". BBC news. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sid Waddell dies aged 72". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  10. ^ World Darts Trophy Named After Waddell. News.sky.com (2012-08-13). Retrieved on 2013-08-13.
  11. ^ "Darts commentator Sid Waddell's funeral held in Leeds". The BBC. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sid Waddell's top 20 quotes". MSN. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 

External links[edit]