John Virgo

English Commentator, Former Snooker Player and Gameshow Host

John Virgo Gameshow Host


John Virgo is a British former professional snooker player and sports commentator who gained fame as the host of the popular snooker-themed game show “Big Break.” With his engaging personality and extensive knowledge of snooker, Virgo became a beloved figure in both the snooker world and the world of television entertainment.

Early Life:

Born on March 3, 1946, in Salford, England, John Virgo exhibited an early talent for snooker. He turned professional in 1961 and enjoyed a successful career as a snooker player, winning several tournaments during the 1970s and 1980s. Virgo’s experience in the world of professional snooker would later become a significant asset when he ventured into television.

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“Big Break” – A Snooker-Themed Game Show:

John Virgo’s most prominent role in television was as the host of “Big Break,” a game show that revolved around the sport of snooker. “Big Break” first aired in 1991 and quickly gained popularity, running for ten years until 2002.

The show featured amateur contestants attempting to complete snooker-related challenges and win various prizes. These challenges often required precision, skill, and knowledge of the sport, aligning with Virgo’s expertise as a professional snooker player. Virgo served as both the host and the commentator, providing colorful commentary during the snooker challenges and maintaining an engaging and humorous atmosphere throughout the show.

One of the standout features of “Big Break” was Virgo’s memorable catchphrase, “Say Goodnight, JV,” which he would use when bidding farewell to contestants who were eliminated from the game. This catchphrase became synonymous with the show and contributed to its enduring appeal.

Big Break with John Virgo

As the host, John Virgo’s charisma, humor, and genuine passion for snooker endeared him to viewers, making “Big Break” a hit not only among snooker enthusiasts but also with a broader audience. The show’s format successfully combined elements of sports, entertainment, and competition, offering a unique blend of excitement and education.

Legacy and Impact:

John Virgo’s role as the host of “Big Break” left a lasting impact on the world of televised game shows. His ability to bridge the gap between the niche world of snooker and mainstream television entertainment showcased his versatility as a presenter. Virgo’s charm and infectious enthusiasm also contributed to the enduring popularity of the show.

Beyond his television career, John Virgo remains a respected figure in the snooker community, both as a former professional player and as a commentator. His contributions to the sport and his influence on televised snooker coverage have solidified his place in snooker history.


John Virgo’s tenure as the host of “Big Break” not only entertained audiences but also introduced many to the world of snooker. His ability to blend humor, sportsmanship, and expertise made him an iconic figure in both the snooker and television realms. Virgo’s legacy continues through his impact on snooker commentary and his enduring presence in the hearts of those who enjoyed his charismatic hosting on “Big Break.”