I was watching the film ‘Sleuth’ the other day in which Laurence Olivier plays a sociopath determined to terrorise Michael Caine’s character through a series of games.

It was inevitable, then, that they would find themselves playing snooker.

Sir Larry appeared at first glance to display great proficiency on the green baize although, on closer inspection, you can’t be certain it is him actually playing the shots. This begs the question of which player was brought in to act as his double (the film was made in 1972).

I can't quite picture Jim Meadowcroft as a celluloid star but stranger things have happened.

This character nominates each ball before potting them, including when he gets to the colours. Perhaps this is to help the American market understand the rules, or indeed the British market considering TV coverage of snooker was at this time confined pretty much to Pot Black.

Lord Olivier completes his break with an exhibition shot on the black that Jimmy White would have been proud of.

It is showboating of this sort that marks his character out as a wrong ‘un.

(He later calls Caine a 'jumped up pantry boy who never knew his place', so Morrissey probably owes him a few quid).

Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York also features a snooker heavy scene in which David Hemmings pots a blue, screws back for the pink and is unable to finish his break due to his house being invaded by a marauding horde of rioters determined to drag him out by his very guts.

And people complain about Newport.

Actually, Gangs of New York is set in the 1860s but snooker is not commonly believed to have been invented until 1875, so this appears to be dramatic licence on the part of Hollywood.

Then again, this sort of trouble seems relatively minor when set against the various civil wars that have so damaged the sport over the last couple of decades.

Maybe someone should make a film about them.

The Bourne Altium, anyone?


Anonymous said...

Maybe Peter Ebdon could play Matt Damon in The Bourne Altium, the irony is that he is now with 110 after being totally against the Altium deal.
Shame on 110 for this signing although Altium pulled out as people seem to forget.

Anonymous said...

I've always been waiting for snooker to appear in James Bond movie. Just imagine: 007 challenges his main enemy (scarfaced psychopath-impotent dreaming of world domination and also very experienced and self-confident snooker amateur) for a few frames and, of course, humiliates him with some spectacular shots (and/or 147). In "Goldfinger" they played golf. In "Casino Royale" they played poker. Therefore, snooker seems obvious choice. The only problem is, this Bond movie would have to be at least 4-5 hours long - the match would have to be at least best of nine.
Also, snooker could be a great inspiration for number of typical Bond's innuendos, though I won't explore this subject...

Janie (RADA) Watkins! said...

I had my fifteen mintes of fame as a double playing the snooker shots in a BBC sitcom years ago. So long ago I've forgotten the name of the series.
It was a long day, fully made up, from 7am, and we eventually did the shots at 5.30pm!
The funniest part was lunchtime when we went to the pub and they thought they were seeing double as I was made up to look exactly the same as the actress!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Can anybody help out with a BBC series that featured Snooker, starring Ray Brooks?

On a general point, 2 weeks ago, tennis players ranked 1-8 in the official world rankings, made history, as for the first time all 8 players featured in a quarter-final line-up since the ranking system began in tennis in 1973.

My question: when was the last time this happened in snooker or has it happened on the provisional list?

Also, any idea how many players have so far signed up for the SPA?

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Hi Joe, I think it was called 'Big Deal' but beyond that I don't know much more.

I have a vague memory that the top eight were all in the quarter-finals of the UK championship in 2001 or 2002.

Not sure on the SPA.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Yup - that's the show!

Cheers for the information...just intrigued...

Thanks, Joe

Matt said...

Dave is quite right, was 2001:


And boy what a line-up that was. Has the top eight been in better shape before or since?

Janie said...

Yes it was Big Deal - good programme

Anonymous said...

There was a snooker BBC series in the early 80's called 'Give us a Break'. It starred Paul McGann as the player and Robert Lyndsay as the manager and was pretty good as I remember. It was more about hustling I think.