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banner Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Meet the BBC team
The stage is set for a BBC extravaganza
The BBC will bring you unrivalled coverage of the most prestigious championship in snooker and with that, the best team.

Fronted by Dougie Donnelly, the stalwarts such as Clive Everton, John Virgo and Dennis Taylor will be joined by newcomers, BBC presenter Matt Smith and six-time world champion Steve Davis.

The BBC team:
Dougie Donnelly | Clive Everton | Matt Smith | Steve Davis | Dennis Taylor | John Virgo | Willie Thorne

Dougie Donnelly

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Dougie Donnelly
Dougie Donnelly was born in Glasgow and attended the Hamilton Academy before taking a law degree at the University of Strathclyde.

His career in broadcasting began in 1979 when he presented Radio Clyde's mid-morning show.

Dougie is the main presenter of BBC Scotland's sport output, a position held since 1980, fronting Sportscene with its main sports of football and rugby.

In 1992, Dougie joined up as a presenter and reporter with the award-winning BBC Network team and has covered Olympic Games, major football tournaments.

Since the departure of long-serving World Championship frontman David Vine, Dougie is now the main presenter of snooker's premier event.

Clive Everton

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Clive Everton
Senior commentator Clive Everton is one of the most respected figures on the snooker circuit.

He is the founding editor of Snooker Scene magazine, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and is snooker correspondent for both The Guardian and Independent on Sunday.

Clive first covered snooker for BBC Radio in 1972, when Alex Higgins won his first world title. His network TV commentary career began at the 1978 World Championship.

As a player, he reached the 1975 and 1977 world amateur billiards semi-finals. But in the latter he exacerbated a back problem which later needed surgery, ending his hopes of a professional career.

Clive reached ninth in the world billiards rankings, and is still 20th despite rarely playing.

In a varied career, he has also covered Wimbledon for The Times of India, rugby for the Sunday Telegraph and football for The Times.

Clive, who played tennis for Worcestershire for 13 years until 1974, wrote a book with Ann Jones following her 1969 Wimbledon triumph.

He also managed Jonah Barrington when he was world squash number one.

Matt Smith

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Matt Smith
Matt supports Liverpool and his early ambition was to be a professional footballer.

But the flood lights of Anfield didn't beckon, so Matt switched to journalism.

After a stint presenting the sports news on Chris Evans' Radio 1 Show, he worked for the Financial Times and Channel 4 before getting his big break on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Matt's on a mission to take over the airwaves - after presenting sports programmes for BBC Choice, he's popped up on Football Fever, Five Live and even reads the sports news on BBC1.

He also topped up his tan with a trip out to Sydney to cover the Olympics!

Matt's dearest wish this season is a return to winning ways for his beloved Reds.

Steve Davis

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Steve Davis
Steve is one of the greatest players ever seen in the modern game.

He has won six World Championship crowns as well as countless other ranking and non-ranking titles over a professional career which has lasted over 22 years.

The "Golden Nugget" will also be remembered for taking part in one of the greatest televised matches of all time, when he lost on a black ball to Dennis Taylor in the 1985 Crucible final.

His run as world number one ended when a Scottish teenager by the name of Stephen Hendry arrived on the scene.

Steve failed to qualify for the World Championship this season but has overcome the initial disappointment to join BBC's talented team.

Dennis Taylor

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Dennis Taylor
One of the most popular players to have graced the snooker circuit, Dennis had been part of the BBC team for several years when he finally retired in 2000.

The highlight of his career came in 1985 when, on the final black of the final frame, he beat Steve Davis to take the world title in front of 18 million TV viewers.

The Irishman turned professional in 1972. He reached the World Championship sem-finals in 1975 and 1977 before making the final in 1979, where he lost to Terry Griffiths.

Although he became one of the most consistent players on the circuit, a major title eluded him until he won the Rothman's Grand Prix title in 1984.

He never quite matched the heights of his famous triumph over Davis in Sheffield, but did win the 1987 Masters title and remained in the world's top 16 until 1994, having entered it in 1976.

John Virgo

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John Virgo
John Virgo is known to millions as Jim Davidson's trickshot-playing partner in BBC TV's Big Break, but was no mean player as a pro.

A former under-16 and under-19 champion, he turned professional in 1977, and reached the semi-finals of that season's UK Championship.

In 1979 he reached the semi-finals of the World Championship where he lost to Dennis Taylor, but ended the season with a career-highest ranking of 10th.

He claimed the UK Championship crown in the same year, beating Terry Griffiths 14-13 in the final, but that proved to be the pinnacle of his playing career.

He reached two ranking-event semis in 1982, and the last four of the British Open in 1986, but subsequently dropped down the rankings and finally quit the circuit in 1994.

John has remained a big exhibition draw, however, thanks to his reputation as one of the game's great entertainers.

A former WPBSA chairman, he found his niche on national TV in the mid-1990s with the BBC's snooker gameshow Big Break, and is a regular commentator on its snooker coverage.

Willie Thorne

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Willie Thorne
Willie only ever won one major tournament, but along with Virgo and Taylor, he will be remembered as one of the game's more colourful characters.

Leicester's very own, who was renowned for his friendship with Gary Lineker and bald pate, won the Mercantile Credit Classic in 1985 when he beat his close friend and rival Cliff Thorburn.

The following season was also a good one for Willie as he reached the final of the UK and British Open.

During the 1986/87 season Willie also won the Hong Kong Masters and the Matchroom Championship.

Wille is now a fully-fledged memeber of the Seniors Tour and won the World Seniors Masters in 2000.

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