Dennis Taylor is best recognised for winning the World Championship in 1985. Beating World top Steve Davis on the final black in the last structure. In a match watched by 18.5 million people in the UK.
Northern Irish retired professional snooker player and current commentator. He is best known for winning the 1985 World Snooker Championship. In a final widely recognised as one of the most famous matches in professional snooker history, he defeated the defending champion, Steve Davis. Despite losing the first eight frames, Taylor recovered to win 18–17 in a dramatic duel on the last black ball. The final conclusion attracted 18.5 million viewers, setting UK viewership records for any post-midnight broadcast and any broadcast on BBC Two that still stand today.
Taylor had previously been runner-up at the 1979 World Snooker Championship, where he lost the final 16–24 to Terry Griffiths. The highest world ranking of his career was in 1979–1980 when he was second. He won one other ranking title at the 1984 Grand Prix, where he defeated Cliff Thorburn 10–2 in the final and won the invitational 1987 Masters, defeating Alex Higgins 9–8 in the final. He made the highest break of his career at the 1987 Carling Challenge, a 141.
Beginning in 1983, Taylor wore distinctive glasses designed by Jack Karnehm specifically for playing snooker. They gave him a unique look on the circuit, often described as looking upside-down. Since retiring from the main professional tour in 2000, he has been a regular commentator on BBC snooker broadcasts. He competed on the World Seniors Tour until he announced the end of his competitive playing career in 2021, aged 72. Outside snooker, he appeared on the third series of Strictly Come Dancing, finishing eighth alongside dance partner Izabela Hannah.
At the 1990 World Cup, Taylor, Higgins, and Tommy Murphy formed a Northern Irish team. After failing to win the tournament, Higgins threatened Taylor, telling him, “if you ever come back to Northern Ireland I’ll have you shot”. Shortly afterwards, they met in the quarter-finals of the Irish Masters, and a determined Taylor won 5–2. In the next decade, his form dropped, and he fell out of the top 16 in the world rankings in 1995. Taylor retired as a professional in 2000.
Alongside other players managed by Barry Hearn (known as the Matchroom mob) and Chas & Dave, Taylor featured on the music single called “Snooker Loopy”. The song spent 11 weeks in the UK Singles Chart in 1986, reaching a peak of sixth.
Taylor was known for the distinctive glasses he wore during matches, which had large frames and an unusual ‘upside-down’ structure that enabled a player to look through the lenses even when down on a shot. The spectacles were a joke in the song and commented on by John Virgo in other media. During his career, Taylor won the Irish Professional Championship on six occasions.
After retiring from the Tour, Taylor played matches on the World Seniors Tour and has been a snooker commentator and analyst for the BBC. In May 2021, after losing his battle with Barry Pinches at the 2021 World Seniors Championship, Taylor announced that the game was his last competitive game.