EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: If I could reverse time’s arrow...

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: If I could reverse time’s arrow...

By Andrew Mosley | 28/10/2021

EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE: If I could reverse time’s arrow...

 

I ALWAYS fancied going on Bullseye, but in many ways to me it now represents sadness and disappointment.

Darts had that working class attraction of providing a decent excuse to spend a few hours down the pub, sink ten pints and throw some arrows.

As a kid I was gripped by the only slightly more glamorous TV version, which featured a collection of beer-bellied blokes (the same ones every year) wobbling it out for a sizeable pot of cash while being allowed to smoke and drink throughout the game. Nothing else combined the permittance of the consumption of booze and cigarettes while competing as a top-level sportsman.

If you weren’t that good you had a day job as well but those at the top did okay and were, of course, invited on to the early Sunday evening must-see of the ‘80s, Bullseye.

Basically, two of you formed a team, one throwing the darts to enable the other to answer questions of varying values.

I would have wanted to be both the dart thrower — I always fancied I could have been okay at darts had I not wasted time working and instead freed myself up to spend a bit more time on the oche — and the person who answered the questions so I could take all the glory (presuming we/I won, of course).

One of the downsides of Bullseye, as my brother once pointed out, was that it was screened on a Sunday, which was the worst day of the week “because tomorrow’s Monday”.

It was also on at roughly the point when I realised I hadn’t done any of my homework and if I didn’t do it I would clearly fail in life and be reduced to appearing on quiz shows in a desperate attempt to win useful stuff other people could afford such as a speedboat.

Indeed, I was disturbed to recently discover (from Ned Boulting’s Heart of Dart-ness) that a deal had been done between Bullseye and a speedboat manufacturer and the winners, should they scoop the star prize, were unlikely to be presented with the car as, hidden behind a screen, the vehicle would be wheeled off and replaced with a boat which you could keep on the street outside your house and, given they are a fair size, those of your neighbours. Should you not win, the car would be revealed accompanied by Bowen’s overly-enthusiastic “here’s what you could have won...” Cheers Jim, you complete *******.


That’s got to be pretty close to fraud, but then much of sport is and Bullseye, with Bowen happy to rake in the cash while the contestants were left sitting in a huge boat atop a plastic paddling pool in their scrap of garden on an estate in Batley, did at least help spread the word of a game that had largely previously been confined to the pubs.

Like anything that becomes popular though, it’s the stuff of millionaires these days but is one of the few genuine options for a working class person who isn’t athletic or hugely intelligent in the traditional sense to make some decent cash. At least it would be had most pubs not dispensed with the board in favour of cramming another table into the horrible family section, meaning darts, its players, stars and commentators to many now represent an era of which any evidence is fading out of memory.

Like I did though, you could always put a board up in your house, shed or garage and get throwing because you never know where it could take you and, while heavy drinking and a poor diet doesn’t really aid a footballer or 100 metre sprinter, take solace in the fact that Andy Fordham weighed 31 stone and had a liver operating at only 25 per cent capacity when he was world champion in 2004. He died shortly after, mind.