Dickie Davies, who hosted ITV's World of Sport for almost 20 years, passes away

Richard Davies

Dickie Davies, a television host who over two decades served as the face of ITV's sports coverage, passed away at the age of 94.

From the 1960s until the program's cancellation in 1985, the celebrity hosted the Saturday afternoon program World of Sport.

The program, which also featured results from football, wrestling, and racing, competed with the BBC's Grandstand.

Jim Rosenthal, a former coworker at ITV, announced Davies' passing and stated that his family was "so proud" of his "brilliant career on television.".

"Dickie was an excellent friend and coworker. RIP, he continued.

Simon Thomas, a fellow sports broadcaster, praised Davies and referred to him as an "absolute giant" in the field.

Other tributes have poured in from other sportscasters, including Sky Sports Jeff Stelling, who said he watched Davies on World of Sport as a child and added that he was "one of my inspirations along with Des Lyman - a sports broadcasting legend.".

Richard Keys and Gabby Logan of the BBC both praised him as "one of the best," while Gabby Logan said his passing marked the "end of that era.".

Mark Pougatch, an ITV football presenter, put it succinctly in a tweet: "Ach, Dickie Davies. The rest of us follow in the giants' footsteps. RIP. ".

After working for Cunard Line for seven years as a purser, Davies, a native of Cheshire, started his television career in 1960 as an announcer for Southern Television.

He relocated to ITV's new program World of Sport and served as Eamonn Andrews' backup until 1968, when he took over as the show's primary host.

Every Saturday, he presided over a five-hour TV marathon that covered a wide range of sports, including numerous minority events that had never before been featured on television.

It was a time before 24-hour sports channels engaged in billion-pound bidding wars over the rights to broadcast sports. Every May, Davies would oversee ITV's all-day countdown to the FA Cup final, one of the few football games at the time that were broadcast live throughout the season.

He contributed to the coverage of three Olympic Games by ITV as well.

Among the memorable World of Sport episodes is the 1977 Christmas Eve special, when Davies hosted the program while comedian Eric Morecambe performed a number of distracting skits. The two once played a game of snooker while Morecambe balanced his cue on Davies' head.

Davies was one of the most recognizable - and impersonated - ITV stars of the era thanks to his bushy moustache and dark bouffant hair with a distinctive white streak at the front.

Comedian Benny Hill dressed as Dickie Davies in 1979, with a similar bouffant hair and bushy mustache
In 1979, comedian Benny Hill played the part of Dickie Davies for a sketch on his own ITV program.

His most unlikely claim to fame came when the independent band Dickie Davies Eyes from 1986 paid their own homage to him.

In his early years on World of Sport, he also had an unlikely side job. He invested some of his TV earnings in a pub called the Globe in Andover, Hampshire, and on occasion, hours after broadcasting to millions of viewers, he could be seen working behind the bar there on a Saturday night.

Following the cancellation of World of Sport in 1985, Davies continued working as an ITV presenter for an additional four years before moving on to a new position as Classic FM's sports editor.

However, a stroke in 1995 left him unable to speak clearly and had to be taken off the air while he slowly recovered.

Later, he made sporadic appearances on television for a variety of specials, including ITV's 50th World of Sport anniversary special in 2005 and a few programs for Sky Sports.

Dickie Davies and Bobby Charlton picutred together in 1995 on the set of their show
In 1995, he served as co-host of Bobby Charlton's Football Scrapbook, which was one of his most prominent later performances.
Dickie Davies at the 2005 Royal Television Society's sport awards ceremony
The Royal Television Society presented Davies with a lifetime achievement award in 2005.

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