It was Tuesday, I was in Southampton with my daughter and Grand kids. The youngsters were playing in the background, so I thought I’d watch the World Darts on TV.
I was surprised to get away with watching the remainder of the Programme as I usually get out voted, especially if I threaten them with BBC Parliament!
Came Wednesday and around early afternoon, I asked them what they’d like to watch on TV; there were about six Kids Channels and two family films on offer, “The Darts please Pop”. After picking myself up off the floor, I switched it on and they sat there for nearly four hours glued to the Screen.
Memories of Darts
This brought memories flooding back. I had once played Darts for the Anchor Public House in Sevenoaks. I wasn’t bad either. One season I won 34 out of 35 singles.
Oh the days of a few pints, ciggy smoke being neatly parted by the flight of the dart and the friendly banter amongst Teams.
Indeed, this was how TV showed it, the somewhat oversized Dart Player sipping a pint of Lager and having a drag between throws and the occasional ‘best of order please’ because someone spoke out of place and the glare from the Player to the supporter concerned.
On the TV
For a few years this was the face of Darts as portrayed on Sunday night BBC. Things lightened up a bit when ‘Bullseye’ came to ITV hosted by the incredible “Take your time, a Portable Teamaker depends on these three darts” Jim Bowen and if they didn’t get it right it was “BFH, or bus fare home”. Corny or what, but immensely popular.
More years went by and Darts, with the exception of the World Championship, seemed to vanish into ‘old TV’.
Then out of the blue, someone with a bit of foresight and probably a fan of WWE Wrestling thought ‘Let’s turn darts to rock and roll’ and that’s what they did.
Now we have the touring Premier League and the PDC World Championships, both showing Darts can survive and draw in huge audiences both live on stage and on TV.
It’s strange how you get older and hank for things of the past, but Darts, like Cricket, needed a facelift and has found new life.
Now, the kids, aged 6 and 8, what do they see in it? I guess it’s the more celeb image of the Players, the big entrance, the crowd singing, loud bassy background music, the air of competition, the winner and the loser. To some it’s the goodies versus the baddies, but to the kids it’s about atmosphere and taking a fancy to someone to win.
As for the game itself, well you don’t need to take a day off at the weekend to play it, it costs you £30 – £40 for a half decent Dartboard and from a fiver upwards for a set of darts.
You can play it in the Shed, in the Bedroom (not recommended for those not overflowing with talent, you can play solo or ask a mate around. It doesn’t have to be a particular time of the day, the weather doesn’t depend on it and a game can last as long as you want it to.
Darts has and is making a comeback. The only sad thing is that like Cricket, the excitement of the ‘new sport’ is restricted to those who can afford paid Satellite TV and this once again could be the downfall in finding new Players to entertain us and new Players to earn a living from it.