The coverage of the Embassy World Darts Championship on BBC television is really something to admire. Never have you seen so many lager swillin’ Darts fans under one roof; that Lakeside venue seeming to stretch into smoke-hazed infinity. But it’s the camera work and direction that I respect most about it; the way in which the screen is split down the middle, the board on the left, the thrower on the right, eyes fixed like those of a hawk on that treble 20 bay whilst beer gut hangs poised over low trouser line. Then there’s the mental strain of mathematical calculation as the decreasing tally approaches zero, a double to win. These guys have spent years sweating in front of the dart board, the physical strain offset by the glory of attaining “One Hundred and Eiiighty” infront of a frenzied audience. Watch as the camera expectantly zooms in when 2 darts have landed in the treble-20 bay - after that it’s death or glory, although 140 is a respectable 3 dart score. Then there’s the work of the Director, trying his or her best to convey the excitement of The Lakeside to the viewers at home. Between darts, the camera cuts to friends and family in the audience, revealing the tension and excitement on their faces. Often, someone will be wearing an ingenious silly hat in the hope of drawing the camera’s attention and getting on the TV, or they’ll be displaying banners in support of their man. Back in the studio, the sovereign ring laden cockney arrow master Bobby George gives his insightful opinion on the current match as relegated BBC sports presenter Dougie Donnelly pretends to be interested. Of course the BBC darts coverage was never quite the same when Sid Waddell left to commentate on that other ‘mickey mouse’ darts championship on BSkyB. That was a big loss, Sid was the ‘voice of darts’.
I recommend that next time you see the Embassy Darts coverage on TV, don’t change channels, watch and look out for all the things I’ve mentioned. You won’t regret it.