|The Crucible: 40 Golden Snooker Years|
|Watch on BBC Two, online and the BBC Sport app from 21:00 BST on Sunday, 23 April.|
What is the most memorable moment in the World Snooker Championship’s 40-year history at the Crucible Theatre?
The sport’s showpiece event was first held at the iconic Sheffield venue in 1977, and to mark the 40th anniversary of the move, the BBC is broadcasting a special documentary on Sunday.
Host Steve Davis chats to snooker greats Dennis Taylor, who beat him in the famous black-ball final of 1985, Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White as well as Crucible superfans Stephen Fry, Gary Lineker, Johnny Vegas and Richard Osman – plus Lauren Higgins, daughter of two-time world champion Alex Higgins.
To tie in with the programme we have selected 10 famous moments from the past 40 years and want you to pick your top three from the shortlist below.
Thorburn wins final during political drama (1980)
Cliff Thorburn’s first world title win against Alex Higgins saw drama taking place both on and off the table. The Canadian had fallen 5-1 and 9-5 behind, before producing a fightback to eventually triumph 18-16.
However, the BBC were inundated with complaints after switching their coverage to broadcast live footage of the SAS storming the Iranian Embassy in London to end a six-day siege.
Higgins’s daughter steals the show (1982)
Alex Higgins defeated Willie Thorne and Jimmy White en route to another final, coming up against six-time winner Ray Reardon. A superb 135 break gave him an 18-15 victory over the Welshman, but what followed was pure emotion.
As the Northern Irishman was handed the trophy and winners’ cheque, the tears flowed, but the rest of the nation soon followed as Higgins mouthed “my baby, my baby” with 18-month old blonde-haired daughter Lauren and wife Lynn delivering a loving embrace in the arena.
The first maximum (1983)
Only one previous televised 147 break had been made in the sport’s history before Thorburn – helped by a fluked opening red – pocketed all the balls up until the pink. “Good luck, mate,” whispered Jack Karnehm in the BBC commentary box, before Thorburn sunk the final black. He dropped to his knees and held the cue aloft in the air as the crowd erupted.
The black-ball final (1985)
Widely regarded as the best match in the championship’s history, the 1985 final attracted 18.5 million viewers. Overwhelming favourite Steve Davis – aiming to become the first player in the modern game to win three consecutive world titles – looked to be on his way to a comfortable win after taking an 8-0 lead, before Taylor began an astonishing comeback.
In the deciding 35th frame, which lasted 68 minutes, Northern Irishman Taylor potted brown, blue and pink, taking the final frame to the final black, which Davis overcut from a blind pot. Taylor knocked it in and produced his famous, finger-wagging, cue waving celebration.
150-1 outsider shocks snooker (1986)
The following year Davis reached another final, coming up against Yorkshireman Joe Johnson, who had never won a tournament in seven years as a professional. A 150-1 outsider at the start of the tournament, Johnson’s nerveless showing allowed him to complete a comfortable 18-12 victory – one of the sport’s most unexpected triumphs.
Hendry beats White… again (1994)
Scot Stephen Hendry went into the final with a fractured left arm, which gave Jimmy White hope, having lost in the previous four finals and five times in total. At 37-24 up in the decider, White inexplicably missed a black off the spot, allowing Hendry to capitalise and claim his fourth world title… all against the same opponent.
“He’s beginning to annoy me,” White said afterwards. ‘The Whirlwind’ failed to reach another final.
Rocket’s rapid 147 (1997)
It would take Ronnie O’Sullivan another four years to claim his first world title, but 20 years ago, ‘The Rocket’ whizzed round the table to stroke in the quickest 147 in history in the first round against Mick Price.
Timed at a staggering five minutes and 20 seconds, the Englishman averaged nine seconds a shot, earning him £147,000 for the maximum and £18,000 for the highest break.
King Hendry the seventh (1999)
The phrase “snooker from the gods” was coined by BBC commentator Clive Everton during Hendry’s 1999 semi-final win over O’Sullivan, which contained 22 breaks over 50, including four centuries apiece. Hendry had lost the 1997 final to Ken Doherty and gone out in the first round the following year, with question marks raised about his ability to win another world crown.
He silenced the doubters by beating Welshman Mark Williams 18-11 in the final for his seventh and last title, surpassing six-time winner Davis in the process.
Ronnie’s remarkable return (2013)
O’Sullivan had played just one match – in September – when he appeared at the tournament in April, but despite the lack of competitive action, produced some glorious snooker to collect his fifth world title by beating Barry Hawkins 18-12 in May’s final.
O’Sullivan compiled a record six centuries in the contest, as well as beating Hendry’s record of 127 Crucible tons.
Bingham hits the jackpot (2015)
Stuart ‘Ballrun’ Bingham’s name seemed to be on the trophy when the underdog beat former champions Graeme Dott and Ronnie O’Sullivan, before edging past Judd Trump in the semi-finals.
He still had a job to do against another former champion Shaun Murphy, but the 50-1 shot emerged victorious 18-15 to become the oldest first-time winner at the Crucible, claim the £300,000 prize money and move up to second in the world rankings.