My Week: Dougie Donnelly, Television Snooker Presenter

Click to follow

A particularly busy and frustrating day. I was meant to be playing golf with the commentary team, but find that I have to present Grandstand. I'm disappointed because it's sunny. After the show, it's back to the Novotel Hotel in Sheffield. Most of the team are staying here because it's close to the Crucible Theatre. I manage to put my feet up for half an hour before doing a highlights programme.


Up reasonably early to record some voice-over commercials for radio. Then back to the crucible for a couple of sandwiches. Stephen Hendry tells me about Jill Dando, it's terrible news. All the boys at the tournament are shocked.

I have two live broadcasts this afternoon. It's all unscripted, which is the beauty of live sport coverage. It's good fun and gives me a buzz. After the broadcast, I hang around chatting. Most of the talk is about football. Me, Stephen Hendry, and John Higgins talk about Scottish football; everyone scoffs.

Later on I record an interview with Mark Williams. He has Welsh dragons tattooed on his thighs. If he wins the final, he's going to let the BBC film them.

I have dinner with Stephen Hendry, John Carol and Mark Williams in a local Italian. They have a left-handed drinking game going. Lack of concentration, rather than alcohol consumption, leaves me a fiver down. This is a 17- day event and I have found that if you party too hard at night, you get a bit croaky the next day.


Up at 10 to do a recording with Willie Thorne about maximum breaks. He has made more than anyone. I'm not really a good snooker player myself. I have a sandwich lunch in my dressing room before the afternoon programme. Then go for a stroll around the shops in Sheffield. I record the highlights at 10pm. Back in the bar again, we have a few jokes. Prince Nazeem has come to see Stephen Hendry and they are larking about on the practice tables. He's not bad, but no one would dare tell him that he couldn't play.


I allow myself a lie-in until just after nine. Then it's over to the theatre for a chat with the production staff. The afternoon show finishes at 3:30. I go for a stroll around the book shops. It's been a very busy month and I've been away a lot. I phone my family and friends to catch up. My older girls can cope when I'm away, but the younger one is only seven and really misses me. They occasionally listen to my commentaries, so that they can check that I'm where I say I am. I watch Scotland vs Germany. I'm professionally neutral in everything, apart from when Scotland play football.


In the morning, Dennis Taylor and I play golf with two Canadian former world champions. We end up winning. It's a mad dash back for the afternoon coverage. I'm on air from 2:30pm until 6pm. It's the start of the semis, and John Higgins and Mark Williams are playing. It's a great game, really fast, and I have to concentrate hard. It's all over by 4.45pm. We fill up the rest of the time with a couple of features and a competition. I have a couple of drinks - gin and tonics - and go for a Chinese with some of the production team.


I spend the morning doing some preparation for the Scottish Rugby Awards that I'm comparing tonight. Then I have to drive all the way up to Edinburgh. The drive is a bit of a pain. I can't really celebrate too much because I have to be up at five to drive back down to Sheffield the following morning. I can't quite believe that I'm at a Rugby celebration and not drinking. I'll have to wait until the celebrations after the final on Monday.