Louis Theroux to explore ‘golden age’ of snooker in new BBC documentary

Kerry Martin
·3-min read
Louis Theroux attends Build Series to discuss
Louis Theroux attends Build Series to discuss "My Scientology Movie" at Build Studio on March 9, 2017 (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

The BBC has announced Gods of Snooker, a new three-part Louis Theroux documentary, that will air on BBC Two as part of a new trio of sporting shows.

As executive producer on Gods of Snooker, Theroux will meet some of the game’s greats back in the eighties, including former world champions Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn and Ray Reardon.

The documentary maker said: “The story of heyday snooker is a remarkable one filled with drama and angst and enormous talent.”

At the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Ray Reardon (left) and Alex Higgins, with the Embassy World Championship Cup before the two-day 35 frame snooker final.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
At the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Ray Reardon (left) and Alex Higgins, with the Embassy World Championship Cup before the two-day 35 frame snooker final. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

“I get most excited about those that are the most human: Conflict, triumph, disaster- all the big emotions- played out before your eyes. And you have that here.”

Read more: Louis Theroux says he 'may have gone too far' in early documentaries

The show comes from Mindhouse, the production company Theroux set up last year with his TV director wife Nancy Strang.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Upon announcing the new show, he was quick to clarify to his 2.2 million Twitter followers: “I am not on camera for the series. It is being made with my company @MindhouseTV. VERY excited to be involved in this.”

Read more: Louis Theroux leaves BBC to start own production company

Reminiscing on his memories of the sport as a youngster, he says: “I’m old enough to remember the 1985 (World Championship) black-ball final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis. I was 15 and everyone was talking about it at school.”

“We’ve been privileged to work on this with almost all of those stars of that time. It’s an amazing feeling and, quite honestly, not something I ever imagined.”

Snooker players Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor who recently contested the classic black ball World Championship Final in Sheffield, attend a press conference to promote the upcoming 1985 Matchroom trophy tournament. May 1985. (Photo by Allan Olley/Daily Mirror/MirrorpixGetty Images)
Snooker players Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor promote the 1985 Matchroom trophy tournament. (Allan Olley/Daily Mirror/MirrorpixGetty Images)

At its peak the sport was renowned for being clouded by gambling, drugs and alcohol.

Jimmy White, who features in the documentary, admitted using crack cocaine, drinking heavily and gambling away hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Gods of Snooker is part of a trio of documentaries announced by the BBC. The others are BBC1’s Gold Rush, a three-part look at Team GB’s journey to Olympic glory in 2012; and Freeze a longer, eight-part series for BBC Three examining the dazzling but unpredictable world of figure skating.

Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion at the BBC, said: "I’m delighted to announce three new documentary series telling the compelling stories behind some of Britain’s most loved superstars of the past and also of some of the young hopefuls making a bid for glory in the future. 

"These promise to be a thrilling insight into the sheer talent, hard work and sacrifice it takes to make it to the top in sport.”

Watch: Louis Theroux defends his BBC documentary, Selling Sex, against allegations