Sunday, 1 May 2011

RIP 'Whispering' Ted Lowe - 'The Voice of Snooker' (1920-2011)

Do you believe in fate?

If not, then the sad news that the 'Voice of Snooker', 'Whispering' Ted Lowe passed away this morning at the age of 90 is an incredible coincidence.

For today sees the first session of the World Snooker Championship final being played between John Higgins and Judd Trump. How apt it is then, that the most famous name in snooker commentating history, passed away at this moment - at the climax to his sports' competitive year.

Lowe became prominent as the commentator for the popular BBC TV show Pot Black from 1969. He went on to become the 'voice of snooker' and led the commentary in many tournaments. He also commentated in what is generally regarded as snooker's greatest ever final, that between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor in the 1985 World Snooker Championship.

Here is Lowe's commentary of the first ever televised century break by Joe Davis in 1962 followed by his famous commentary in the final stages of that epic encounter between Davis and Taylor in 1985, including his observations on that encounter, over 20 years later.

He was known for uttering the occasional on-air gaffe, similar to motor racing commentator Murray Walker. His most famous quote was probably "and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green". He also once told viewers that Fred Davis, struggling to rest one leg on the edge of the table in order to reach a long shot, "is getting on a bit and is having trouble getting his leg over".

Lowe retired after the 1996 World Snooker final, although he briefly joined in the commentary for the 2005 World Championship final between Matthew Stevens and Shaun Murphy.

His famously measured, but quietly dramatic style with his husky, hushed tones came about by accident. As he said in a BBC interview in 2007,  "I was scared to death commentating on Joe Davis, who was a God to me. Of course, sitting in the crowd I was terrified they would hear what I had to say, so I started whispering. The producer loved it."


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