Huw Edwards has a passion for snooker
BBC news journalist Huw Edwards talks about his passion for snooker.
Edwards loves the green baize game and played virtually every day in his youth, but with a high break of 37, a professional career did not beckon.
However, he certainly fulfilled his talent as a news journalist. Since 2003 he has presented the BBC’s flagship News at Ten. He won a BAFTA in 2010 as Best Onscreen Presenter.
But Edwards still retains his passion for snooker and has become a familiar face at the World Championship. He was at the Crucible for last year’s final, sitting just a few feet away from the table to see John Higgins beat Judd Trump in a classic encounter.
“I always enjoy my trips to the Crucible, and seeing the world’s top players in action is such a thrill,” said the 50-year-old, a father of five. “I see lots of my BBC Sport colleagues there, and I love the atmosphere. It’s always a great day out and the Crucible is looking fantastic after the refurbishment. ”
Edwards, a proud Welshman, first became interested in snooker during his teenage years, particularly when he realised that players from his homeland were among the dominant forces in the sport.
“I started getting interested watching the BBC’s Pot Black in the early 1970s, seeing Ray Reardon, Doug Mountjoy, John Spencer, Eddie Charlton, Graham Miles and others showing what snooker could be like. I loved it,” he said. “So by the time Terry Griffiths, from my home town of Llanelli, won the Embassy (as everyone called it) at his first attempt in 1979, I was well and truly addicted.
“I love watching snooker on TV, always have. I have vivid memories of watching some of the great moments, such as Cliff Thorburn’s 147 at Sheffield (against Terry), and Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis, which I watched on a small black-and white portable in my bedsit in East London in 1985. I still enjoy watching, and I disagree with those who say the game has lost a bit of its magic. Rubbish. The standards today are phenomenal.
“John Higgins and Mark Williams are my favourites now, but how could anyone not be thrilled to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan? I’ve met him a few times and he’s such a fantastic player. Among the younger ones, you’ve got to pick out Judd Trump. He’s a sensational talent. And of course I still support the Welsh players like Matthew Stevens, Mark Williams and Ryan Day.
“I play far less than I used to, simply because of a lack of time. But I am still a member of a local snooker club and play with one of my sons at weekends when time allows. As a student in Cardiff I played pretty much every day, but my skills never took me past a 37 break, my all-time record. I wish it had been 137! I have a pool table at home and though it’s not the same, at least I get to pick up a cue and pot a few balls. It’s good relaxation therapy.”
During his student years, Edwards studied French (while he was not playing snooker) and graduated with first class honours. He then started out in journalism on local radio, before moving to the BBC in 1984. His exceptional writing skills and keen news sense allowed him to rise swiftly through the ranks, and in 1988 he was appointed TV News political correspondent.
Over the next 15 years, Edwards covered a fascinating period in politics, from the fall of Margaret Thatcher to the rise of New Labour. Anyone who thinks the life of a political correspondent might be lacklustre should search Youtube for the footage of Edwards presenting a programme from the rooftop of a hotel next to Ground Zero in New York, a year after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Winds of 70mph left Edwards gripping the support rail white-knuckled to avoid being blown away.
He has also presented programmes including Newsnight and Panaroma, as one of the BBC’s best respected journalists.
All of which gives Edwards a firm appreciation for the job done by Hazel Irvine and co in the studio at the Crucible.
“There’s a big overlap between what I do and what they do,” he said. “Commentating on a rolling news story is similar in many ways to covering a live sports event. It’s all about keeping viewers informed and entertained. As a broadcaster, you need to add value, and not get in the way. Snooker fans are very knowledgeable and they expect the best.”