Sid Waddell

August 14, 2012

The world is going to be a less inventive place without Sid Waddell. I didn’t realise the extent of how bright he was but suppose his choice of references should have made that clear:

The son of Martha and Bob Waddell, Sid was born in Alnwick, Northumberland. His parents were determined that neither he nor his brother, Derrick, would follow their father down the mines. His parents gave him “the material and moral support to live my sporting dreams and realise my academic potential,” Sid recalled.

He was educated at Ellington County primary school and later Morpeth grammar school, where he excelled at English and history. In 1958 he was awarded a scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge. Sid captained a darts team there, later claiming that his group was once beaten “by a team of trainee vicars”.

After graduating with a degree in modern history, in the summer of 1962 he applied for a job as clerk at the colliery offices in Ashington, but was turned down for being overqualified. He then obtained a post as a research assistant at Durham University and toyed with the idea of a career in academia. However, in 1965 Sid became a TV researcher, eventually working his way up to producer of current affairs programmes.

In 1972, he became involved with the production of one of the most eccentric television programmes ever produced, Yorkshire Television’s The Indoor League. The show, which ran for six series, set champions of pub games against each other. The programme helped lead to darts being more regularly featured on British television, and launched the TV darts commentating careers of not only Sid but also Dave Lanning, with whom he would go on to share the commentary box for many years.

He also wrote ‘Jossie’s Giants’. There’s plenty of choice on the quotes front but here are some fromThe Guardian obituary

“When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer … [Eric] Bristow’s only 27.”

“He looks about as happy as a penguin in a microwave.”

“His eyes are bulging like the belly of a hungry chaffinch.”

“The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in with a portion of chips, you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them.”

 

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