It was the epic, extraordinary contest that kept more than 18 million people glued to their TV screens well past midnight. Thirty years ago, all eyes were on Sheffield and tuned to the BBC as Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis in the World Snooker Championships.
The famous black ball final, which ended in the early hours of Monday 28 April 1985, attracted a record number of viewers to BBC Two and remains the biggest ever post-midnight TV audience in this country.
Broadcasting the big moments that bring the nation together is what the BBC does best and Taylor versus Davis is a classic example. We’re expecting more big audiences during this year’s championship, although it’ll be difficult to beat the record set in 1985.
But that was a unique moment. The BBC and Sheffield gave the world that brilliant match and now, three decades on, the BBC is back in Sheffield celebrating our ongoing relationship with this great city and the game of snooker.
Of course, we’ve never really gone away. It is 38 years since the Crucible hosted its first World Championship and we’ve broadcast every one. From that legendary final in 1985 to Mark Selby’s recent success, snooker, Sheffield and the BBC have become a triumphant triumvirate. The BBC broadcasts more live snooker than any other sport, a measure of the enduring love that our audiences have for the game.
This year, alongside our usual comprehensive coverage of the championship, we’re offering something slightly different too. We’ve created Cue Sheffield, a festival of live BBC programmes and free events to celebrate the World Snooker Championship across the city. We hope there is something for everyone to enjoy – young and old, Snooker-fanatic or proud local.
On the first night of the championship, April 17, Steve Davis will attempt to re-pot the black ball he missed in the 1985 final in a special live feature on The One Show. The following day BBC Radio 5 live’s sports comedy show Fighting Talk will broadcast live from The Leadmill.
For the next few weeks, the drama will be at the Crucible as our cameras follow all the key action. So once again, it’s time to cue Sheffield.
For full info on the BBC Cue Sheffield free events and programmes click here