The ultimate prize in snooker is up for grabs over the next 17 days as Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre marks 40 years of hosting the World Championship, live on the BBC and Eurosport from April 15-May 1.
For 17 days each Spring, the very best on the planet go through a test of endurance, skill and mental toughness with an ultimate goal – to lift snooker’s most famous and coveted trophy.
The tournament has been running since 1927 and is steeped in history, from the days of Joe Davis, through the 1980s when snooker became the biggest sport in Britain, to the modern era when greats such as Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry have graced the green baize.
For the last 40 years, the tournament as been staged at the Crucible Theatre, renowned for its unique and intense atmosphere, and snooker’s biggest tournament is set to stay at this iconic venue until at least 2027.
Last year’s title went to Englishman Mark Selby – the current world number one – after a thrilling 18-14 victory against Ding Junhui.
After winning the world title in 2014 and 2016, and sitting at the top of the world rankings for the last two years, Selby is regarded as the man to beat at the Crucible this year.
‘The Jester from Leicester’ returns to Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre to defend his crown against the best players in the world, including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson.
O’Sullivan will be targeting a sixth world title at the tournament but it has been four years since he held the crown of world champion.
Last year he suffered a shock defeat to Barry Hawkins in the second round but recent form suggests ‘The Rocket’ is back and ready to reclaim the title, having won the Masters at the beginning of the year, as well as reaching the final of both the UK Championship and the European Masters.
Always one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, the World Snooker Championship promises to provide 17 days of slow-burning drama and it will again be broadcast live in its entirety across BBC TV and Eurosport.
Full details of each broadcaster’s coverage can be found below, while further information, including match schedules, tournament draw and live scores can be found via worldsnooker.com.
BBC Sport will bring snooker fans its usual comprehensive live coverage of the World Snooker Championship across BBC TV and its online platforms.
TV viewers can watch the action from start to finish on BBC Two and BBC Red Button, with online users able to watch uninterrupted live coverage of both tables via the BBC Sport website, connected TVs and app.
Hazel Irvine will lead again lead the BBC’s presenting team throughout the event alongside Jason Mohammad, with regular morning and afternoon session coverage, nightly highlights and action from the evening sessions in the second week of the championships, all on BBC Two.
For the first time this year, there will be live presentation with Irvine or Mohammad on BBC Red Button matches in the evening sessions.
The presenting team will primarily be based in a studio inside the ‘Cue Zone’ located within Sheffield’s Winter Gardens, directly opposite the Crucible Theatre, before re-locating to a studio inside the Crucible Theatre itself from the semi-finals onward.
They will be joined by an expert team of guests and commentators, including snooker legends Steve Davis, John Parrott, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon, Dennis Taylor, Terry Griffiths, John Virgo and Willie Thorne.
As well as live coverage of the whole the event, the BBC will also mark 40 years of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield with a 40 Years of the Crucible Show special on the eve of the tournament on the BBC Red Button.
Commenting in this year’s tournament programme, BBC presenter Hazel Irvine said: “If you want to have a truly unique sporting experience as a spectator, the Crucible is one for your bucket list.
“There’s the tension, the silence and the feeling that if you move in your seat you are somehow going to impact on the outcome.
“The place emanates a genuine visceral sense that you are involved. You can almost touch and smell the importance of the action playing out right in front of you.
“It’s unlike many sporting venues in that it they are often gargantuan in size; this isn’t. I liken it a bit to Augusta which is very reverential with sporadic explosions of noise.”
BBC Radio 5 live will also broadcast daily updates from the Crucible, while social media updates can be found on Twitter via @BBCSnooker.
Eurosport will also broadcast extensive daily live coverage of the World Snooker Championship from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Its two broadcast channels – Eurosport and Eurosport 2 – will screen full live high-definition coverage from all 17 days of the entire championships, as well as online via the Eurosport Player.
Colin Murray will present Eurosport’s live studio coverage throughout the tournament, with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds, while 5-time world champion and Eurosport ambassador Ronnie O’Sullivan is also expected to make appearances in the studio.
Eurosport’s commentary team will be led by David Hendon and Philip Studd and also feature 1986 world champion Joe Johnson and former world number six Mike Hallett.