Eric Harrison on the different sports he covered
A typical weekend, well, you’d do you do a football match. Well, the football actually depended on what you were doing during the week; because the only way you could rig it in was you could rig it in after you’d finished the previous programme. So in other words, if we were doing the conferences, fair enough, Blackpool became match of the day. So you would record that on a Saturday, and on a Sunday morning you would edit it. This is when we got into electronic editing; before electronic editing, that was a different thing altogether. And the PA would make a note of where all the action was using the old BBC nomenclature, top left hand corner, as one, two, three or four position on the pitch. And we’d edit that together and it went out on Sunday afternoon.
Snooker, we’d been doing snooker two or three years for the BBC, and we were in Oldham and it was the sponsor was Lada, you know, the Russian car people. Steve Davis, the snooker player, had been on his holidays and he had arrived late at the hall and everybody thought he wouldn’t win anything. Anyway, lo and behold, he proceeded to do a 147 snooker break, the complete break, which was tremendous. This had never been done before on live transmission. So in other words, we ended up in the Guinness Book of Records. The following day, I think I’ve said to you before, my brother worked for the BBC. And the day after, my brother was walking down the corridor in the BBC and a bloke came streaming out of the sports department and said, “Your brother!” So I said, “Why, what’s wrong?” Because he watched it, he said, “Got the first 147 snooker! We’ve been trying to do this for years.” Anyway, the BBC – not the following year, but the year after that – then said, “The first ever televised 147 snooker break from Sheffield,” not the first ever televised snooker break period. So we landed up with that.
We did wrestling with Kent Walton, we used to do a very… well, every five to six weeks. I mean, they were gentle giants, there’s no other word to describe it, the wrestlers. They became great friends. A lot of it, as you obviously realised, if they did what they appeared to do, there would have been broken bodies all over the place, so it was entertainment, but entertainment I wouldn’t like to participate in! As Kent Walton used to say, “They earn their money their way, and I earn my money my way, and I’m not going to do it the other.” So, wrestling… how can you describe it without telling various incidents which happened? Um… you used to arrive there and the ladies would sit by the side of the ring and catcall these wrestlers and whatever. One instance, one lady went over and berated this wrestler with her umbrella, thumping him in the corner!