Eddie Waring – Mr Rugby League

Date published: Monday, September 6, 2010

A moving documentary on the life and times of the late Rugby League commentator and TV entertainer Eddie Waring, will be shown on BBC Four tomorrow (Tuesday, September 7) at 9.00pm.

One hundred years on from his birthday, the programme ‘Eddie Waring: Mr Rugby League’ traces the history of the sport through the life of the former journalist from Dewsbury who rose to become one of the stars of light entertainment.

Executive producer Tony Parker said: “Eddie Waring introduced millions of TV viewers to Rugby League – a ‘national treasure’ who evangelised about a sport he loved. But Eddie was much more than a hired voice: he was an entrepreneur, a manager and a visionary who wanted to take the game to a new level beyond its North of England heartland.”

The programme explores how a damning report by a firm of management consultants recommended several changes to Rugby League and was critical of the BBC¹s coverage, saying it was detrimental to the game.

In 1976 a group called the 1895 Club claimed 11,000 fans had signed a petition asking for the removal of Eddie and for changes in the way the game was portrayed.

The programme kicks off a BBC4 Rugby League Night. Following ‘Eddie Waring: Mr Rugby League’, the channel will be showing ‘The Game That Got Away’ at 10pm followed at 10.30pm by the ‘Challenge Cup Classic: The 1978 Rugby League final’ and ending the night at midnight with the classic black and white movie: ‘This Sporting Life.’