David Vine, one of BBC Sport’s most versatile of television hosts, has died of a heart attack. He was 73.
Vine fronted seemingly the majority of BBC Sport’s programmes, from the flagship Grandstand and Match of the Day, through to being the original quiz master on Question of Sport and link man for Superstars in the 1960s and ’70s.
His abilities as a host of live outside broadcasts even saw him introduce Miss World competitions and the Eurovision Song Contest as well as working on Summer and Winter Olympics, show jumping coverage and Wimbledon.
The doyen of snooker coverage, the highlight of his 25 years presenting the sport probably came in 1985 when 18 million viewers waited into the early hours for Vine’s interview with Dennis Taylor after the Ulsterman won the world title on the last black against Steve Davis.
In the later part of his career, Vine also became known as the host of BBC’s Ski Sunday, an association he felt so keenly in retirement that even last year he spoke out against the new-style programme, with its much-reduced coverage of the weekend’s ski racing in favour of a more “laddish”, Top Gear-style travelogue show.
Barry Newcombe, the chairman of the SJA, paid this tribute to Vine. “I remember David working at Wimbledon over many years and doing his fair share of asking the tougher questions of John McEnroe when he was at his furious prime.
“But David was likely to pop up anywhere the BBC held the rights and he went out in style at the Sydney Olympic Games
in 2000 when he worked the weightlifting competition.”
Born in Newton Abott, Devon, in 1936, Vine attended Barnstable Grammar School before beginning his career in local newspapers.
Vine had triple heart by-pass surgery several years ago and died on Sunday night at home, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.