I think my natural mood is cranky (as I’m sure my wife would testify) as it hasn’t taken long for me to feel the need to pass critical judgement again.
The object of my attentions is the game of darts, televised darts. Now I’ve grown tired of hearing from Barry Hearn and other celebrity fans of the game about how marvellous the atmosphere is at world championships and the like at Lakeside and Ally Pally when 10’s of thousands turn up in Viking outfits and Barney Rubble gear to drink and cheer on their heroes on the oche. I can see the obvious popularity but its appeal escapes me. It’s just a bunch of big blokes in 10 pin bowling shirts aiming 3 darts at a board to see who can get from 501 to a double in the fewest throws. 9 darts is the absolute lowest number in which it can be done and most of the professionals will take around 12-13 dart throws to achieve it from what I can see. It takes no time because they are so skilled. The problem for me is that there is nothing tactical or different in any game – every leg is virtually the same. Usually they’ll finish on double top and sometimes it’s double 16 or maybe double 10. Oooh. That’s about as varied as it gets. There are no sendings off, controversial decisions, thrilling runs, crunching tackles, breathtaking saves, fantastic strikes, diving headers, Hollywood passes, no Garth Crooks and Phil Neville opinions to ridicule. It’s just barren and I’m sorry Barry but to me it’s about as much fun as anal warts.
And that’s the professional game. So dull you’d swear someone had taken some wire-wool to the camera lenses. But dear readers I’m sure you know me well enough by now to realise that I’ve been setting things up to announce that I’ve found the holy grail of crap televised games. What, you may be asking, could be worse than pro darts on the telly? The answer is televised amateur darts. Sigh. Over the last few nights the BBC have been programming ‘Let’s Play Darts for Comic Relief’ where c-list celebrities teamed up with some 2nd Division pro players to see how few/many darts they could throw to get down to a double from 501. And it was bloody loads because they were pretty crap at the arrers. So the legs went on for ever making it even more tedious as a spectacle.
Mind you I quite liked it when the sleb, faced with an out-shot of 126, and unable to do the maths him/herself would ask the pro what numbers to aim for on the board. ‘Triple 20, double 13 with double top to finish’. OK. Then Lisa Tarbuck proceeded to hit 3, then 15 whilst the 3rd arrow bounced off the wire. ‘That leaves Bobby the king of darts George with a 108 out-shot’ confirmed the commentator just in case we couldn’t do the maths either.
The second time I saw it the BBC had resorted to the old trick of saying ‘let’s pick up the next leg in the final stages with Tim Vine going for double 1 to win the game’. It saved a lot of the pain for the viewer. I suppose having funny guys like Lee Mack on there would hopefully compensate for the rubbish marksmanship but of course they were all working without a script and the humour was terribly limp. When the ‘funniest man on tv’, Mack, took an errant throw and went and put on a pair of Elton John style comedy glasses before taking his 3rd shot I knew it was time to switch off. I’ve seen more biting comedy from Little and Large.
Quite how this was benefitting those starving kids in Africa I’ll never know but I’m sure they’ll be praying that key presenter Gabby Logan’s girly enthusiasm for 3 in a bed was meant charitably, not personally. Then again…