Snooker is often believed to have begun in the second part of the 1800s. UK Army officers in India were keen English billiards players and began offering variants on the original theme. "Snooker" was a term for cadets or young soldiers. One story tells of Sir Neville Chamberlain calling his opponent a "snooker" when he didn’t pot a ball - the name has stayed and the game became the global sport that we have today.
Following its birth and into the 1900s, the game grew. Having been returned to the UK by the Officer Class, it was a game linked to gentlemen and gradually developed in popularity. In the twenties, Joe Davis (a professional English billiards and snooker player) set up the first World Championships. This was the start of the professional game and he won all the World Championships till he retired in 1946. In the 1950's and 1960's, the game stayed popular with cue sports fans, but gained little attention with the public at large.
This transformed in 1969, when David Attenborough of the BBC began the programme "Pot Black". This was a televised snooker contest designed to champion the benefits of colour TV broadcasting - a green table and multi-coloured balls made a strong visual spectacle in the first days of colour TV. "Pot Black" was one of the best two programmes on BBC2 for several years and helped to created increased interest in snooker as a sport. The 1978 World Championship was fully televised and snooker became a big sport in the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth.