Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hearn rages as BBC interrupt O'Sullivan snooker match to show Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em repeat

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Barry Hearn found nothing to laugh at in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em as the BBC interrupted the closing stages of defending world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan's first match back to show the 40-year-old sitcom.

World Snooker chairman Hearn formally complained to the tournament's host broadcaster after BBC2 decided against staying with the snooker, when O'Sullivan was leading Marcus Campbell 9-3 on Saturday night.

A 1973 Christmas edition of the comedy, that saw the birth of Frank Spencer's daughter Jessica, was billed for 8pm and the BBC stuck rigidly to its schedule.

Hearn felt there should have been flexibility, and wrote on Twitter: "Sorry to all snooker fans for the poor BBC coverage last night. Letter of complaint sent to BBC today."

Sports fans expressed anger on social networks, and Hearn added that the decision was "down to the BBC" and added: "We all need to complain."

The BBC responded to the complaint from Hearn, saying in a statement: "We're obviously disappointed that we weren't able to show the conclusion to the World Championship Snooker on BBC Two.

"We are committed to delivering great snooker content to our audiences as demonstrated by the increased number of broadcast hours for the World Championships which means we are able to being the sport to as wide an audience as possible."

It fell short of an apology, but may serve to placate Hearn, whose complaint clearly registered.

Yesterday, hotly-tipped Michael White made the Crucible debut of his dreams as he sent his hero and fellow Welshman Mark Williams home in the first round, turning a 5-4 overnight lead into a 10-6 victory.

The softly-spoken 21-year-old said: "It means everything to me.

"I always looked up to Mark as a youngster growing up and it was a privilege to play against him, and to play as well as I did means I'm over the moon."

Coincidentally, Williams made a similar impact in his first match at the World Championship 16 years ago, when he beat Terry Griffiths.

That proved to be Griffiths' final match at the Crucible, and three years later Williams landed his first of two titles in Sheffield.

Qualifier White could prove to be the next in the line of great champions Wales has produced.

Four-time champion John Higgins was in trouble against Mark Davis, with the Scot letting an early 2-0 lead slip away as he fell 6-3 behind.

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