THE ERSTWHILE RICHARD started his broadcasting career in the early days of ITV at Southern Television, before moving on to the network and in 1968 he replaced Eamonn Andrews as the anchor of WORLD OF SPORT. With his streaked hair and cravat, Dickie (as Jimmy Hill renamed him) made for a slick, go-getting alternative to Frank Bough droning away on BBC1. For nearly two decades, Dick’d be there every Saturday afternoon, leaning forwards, folding his arms and smiling at you from under his moustache, while introducing The ITV Seven, The Target Clown Diving Championships, or Monster Trucks (“Really driving those trucks!”). His finest hour came on Christmas Eve 1977 when he co-presented the show with Eric Morecambe, including a great bit where Eric read Dickie’s autocue along with him, which is the funniest thing ever broadcast (“And first up is… Franz Klammer!”) Dickie was also one of ITV’s Super Seven commentators during the 1972 Olympics, where the TV Times boasted that husbands wouldn’t have to argue with their wives over whether they watched Mark Spitz or Max Bygraves, as they could watch both. Basically because there was only about an hour of Olympics coverage all day.
WoS ended in 1985, but Dickie was still the main man for most of the big sporting occasions, fronting boxing matches and the 1988 Olympics (“Who else but cockney Reg Gutteridge!”). Without his Saturday job, Dickie had a bit more freetime to do other stuff, including C4 teatime quiz JIGSAW and, later, SPORTSMASTERS, the Saturday afternoon quiz which he also produced. And was a HTV West production, fact fans. At the end of the ’80s, Dickie left ITV Sport and suffered a stroke, but thankfully he made a full recovery. He went back to work on the long-forgotten Sky Sports Gold, where he fronted BOBBY CHARLTON’S FOOTBALL SCRAPBOOL, or as it should have been called, Bobby Charlton’s Football Scrapbook But Actually Presented By Dickie Davies, as Bobby did bugger all. He also anchored a mammoth 150-minute show on LWT on a Saturday afternoon in August 1998 to celebrate the channel’s 30th anniversary, where he bantered with Brian Moore, cockney Reg Gutteridge, Brough Scott and Ian St John (who rather desperately pitched for work at the end – “I know ITV has a lot of football coming up…”), and he was really good at it, too. Of course, all his hair is white now.Read More