Isn’t darts huge at the moment I hear you cry? Legends like Phil ‘The Power Taylor’, James ‘The Machine’ Wade, Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and the unforgettable Kevin ‘The Artist’ Painter, all make thousands each year by being rather good at throwing a pointy thing at a wall.
BDO WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIPS- NOW ON CHANNEL FOUR!
If you ever wondered what Master Baker Paul Hollywood has got in common with The Liberace of Darts, Bobby George, it’s not that they both make a tasty loaf of Ciabatta bread, (Not cockney rhyming slang), and no, it isn’t that they both drive Flashy Ferraris’ (Bobby has too much class), it’s that they have both recently defected to Channel Four, and they both have another new thing in common, no one will be watching their new shows.
Darts arrives on Channel Four, more due to the fact that BBC2 couldn’t be bothered flogging a dead horse any longer, so Channel Four bought the rights for a pony (which is Cockney rhyming slang).
But isn’t darts huge at the moment I hear you cry? Legends like Phil ‘The Power Taylor’, James ‘The Machine’ Wade, Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and the unforgettable Kevin ‘The Artist’ Painter, all make thousands each year by being rather good at throwing a pointy thing at a wall.
However all the players you might of heard of play for the PDC darts corporation, chaired by the Donald Trump of Darts, Barry Hearn. The BDO Darts corp. is the original version of darts, still held at ‘The Lakeside’ club. Decrepit Bob Potter (OBE) owns the Lakeside, and rather famously Peter Kay used him as a source for his memorable character Brian Potter in the excellent Phoenix Nights.
If the PDC darts is all flash and cash, this version of darts is more like a horse and cart, including the shit the horse leaves behind him. Channel Four seem to have tried to liven things up by first giving us a ‘behind the scenes’ view of this legendary venue, unfortunately all we saw was lots of beer stained carpet, and boxes of crisps piled high. Let’s move to the darts themselves then, they must be OK, right? These are THE World Championships after all. First on are two ladies (Trina Gulliver is a TEN time World Champion) and has ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate, as her ‘walk on music’, chosen for her by her manager, some years back, when Trina was sexy, and Errol Brown was still stirring his cuppa. The standard of darts here wasn’t the highest, in fact if you wheeled in your semi-conscious granny in to your local, and asked her to fling a few arrows for the first time, she may score higher.
Things don’t improve. The men are no better. The crowd aren’t much fun either. Darts fans are known for their ladish humour and their imaginative fancy dress outfits. In this version of darts all I could spot in the crowd was some bloke in a Santa Hat, and some clown, dressed as a clown. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a wake for an Aunty everyone hated. The TV commentators (all brought in from the BBC) try everything to liven the whole dire affair, but even they sound as if they are connected to an intravenous drip. One commentator spots a ‘Darth Vader’ outfit in the crowd, now come on, here’s a perfect chance to display your darting puns! What did they come up with? ‘Dart Vader’.
At one point the commentator suggests that one player ‘needs to splash some water on his face’. I know exactly how he feels, at this point I needed to be woken up, only to find out, when I did wake up, the nightmare continued.
It’s funny that a sport that is exactly the same can have coverage and standards that are so vastly different. I’m no fan of Sky, but they know how to cover overweight men throwing pointy things at a wall. Take my advice Channel Four, either drop this farce, or ask Paul Hollywood to bare his arse on the stage, and let the dart players throw at that. Unfortunately knowing the standard here, they’d probably miss.
Now there’s a thought for a new Channel Four show, ‘Celebrity Darts players Bake Off’. I can imagine it now, beer flavoured bread with pickled onion crisps added for ‘crunch’, all judged by Paul Hollywood’s arse. Could be a hit.