Mick McMichael, wrestler

Mick McMichael, who has died at 75, was a household name among aficionados of Saturday afternoon TV wrestling in the 1970s.

Mick McMichael, centre, with Giant Haystacks (left).
Mick McMichael, centre, with Giant Haystacks (left).

A regular on World of Sport alongside his near namesake Mick McManus, McMichael, whose real surname was Gale, was able to work across Europe and was considered among the top five in the professional game, ranked by screen time.

At one stage he was tag-team partner to the larger-than-life Big Daddy, otherwise Shirley Crabtree from Halifax.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

When his fighting days were over, he turned to refereeing – always in a distinctive kilt – and to background acting on TV shows like Emmerdale.

Known at Wheatley High School in Doncaster for rugby rather than wrestling, he learned the trumpet, but upon leaving at 15 took an electrician’s apprenticeship at Markham Main Colliery in Armthorpe.

It was after seeing wresting at Doncaster Corn Exchange that he decided his future lay here, and started professionally the following year.

He estimated that he covered around 100,000 miles a year in his Volkswagen Beetle as he honoured bookings at theatres and halls across Britain and beyond. The most prestigious was the Royal Albert Hall.

He is survived by his wife, Wendy, a son, daughter and four grandchildren.