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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Blowing up a storm
Alex Higgins was one of snooker's most infamous characters.
Higgins was one of snooker's biggest talents
Like A Hurricane: The Alex Higgins Story, BBC Two, Tuesday 17 April 2100 BST

A new documentary for BBC explores the legend of one of snooker's most infamous characters, Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.

Often referred to as the George Best of snooker, Belfast-born Higgins was a player blessed with enormous talent and was the catalyst that brought the game into millions of homes.

But he also had a self-destruct button that consistently overshadowed his often breathtaking snooker.

  Higgins Fact File
Won world championship in 1972 at first attempt
Won title again in 1982 by beating Ray Reardon
Came back from 7-0 down in 1983 UK Championship to beat Steve Davis 16-15
Higgins has undergone 40 doses of radiotherapy and an operation to remove a cancerous lymph node in his neck

The 60-minute profile relives the excitement of his playing days and his turbulent life away from the table - the women, drinking and gambling which often got in the way of his play.

Higgins was 22 when he won snooker's World Championship at his first attempt in 1972. He repeated the feat in 1982.

But he suffered from a major drinking problem and also found himself in trouble with the authorities on more than one occasion.

Archive footage from the player's heyday show how his speed around the snooker table kept the nation transfixed.

One of the most memorable sporting moments shown on television was when Higgins tearfully called forward his wife and daughter after becoming world champion in 1982.

Interviews with fellow professionals also help to paint the portrait of the tragic Higgins.

Higgins' lifestyle has taken its toll
Higgins' lifestyle has taken its toll
Former world champion, Steve Davis regards Higgins as the one true genius that snooker has produced.

Fellow Northern Ireland star Dennis Taylor talks frankly about Higgins' alleged 'death threats' against him in March 1990, culminating in a match showdown across the table at the Irish Championships.

John Spencer, Ray Reardon and Ken Doherty also provide colourful insights into his life on and off the table.

The documentary includes an update on the now 52-year-old Higgins and his ongoing battle with ill health.

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See also:

16 Apr 01 |  World Snooker Championship
O'Sullivan is the man to beat
15 Apr 01 |  Other Sports
Doherty and Ebdon all square
16 Apr 01 |  World Snooker Championship
Davis gazes at Sheffield stars
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