Following the sad news earlier in the week of the death of referee John Street, it is sad to hear of the demise of another non-player snooker personality, David Vine, who was born on Street's fourth birthday.
A Devon man, like Street, he rose from the ranks of local journalism to front much television sport, notably as first presenter of A Question of Sport, which he did from its first episode on 5 January 1970 until David Coleman succeeded him in 1978.
He was, in 1969, the first person to present Wimbledon in colour for the BBC, continuing to front the highlights show till 1982; he was the voice of Ski Sunday, commentated on weightlifting (the weightlifting at the 2000 Olympic Games was his television swansong) and even occasionally presented Miss World and the Eurovision Song Contest.
But, despite all that, he will be best known for his work with snooker, coming at a time when the sport was wallowing in the kind of boom that not many sports ever see. He was the face of the Crucible television studio from 1978 – the first year in which the BBC put out daily coverage – until his retirement after the 2000 World Championship, a couple of months before his final engagement at the Sydney games.
The doyen of snooker presenters will be fondly remembered and, as he has been during his eight-year retirement, sadly missed.
Rest in Peace, David Vine. 3 January 1936 — 11 January 2009.