Let’s watch darts! The PDC World Championship hits the bullseye for fun festive viewing

The colourful world of darts is just what the armchair sports fan ordered this Christmas, says Mark Jefferies

On so many levels, it shouldn’t work – but it does. 

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Because more than a million of us have been tuning into Sky Sports this Christmas to watch the Ladbrokes PDC World Championship. 

That’s a darts tournament to those of you not in the know.

Watching the matches at London’s Alexandra Palace is a bit like watching a football match in a giant pub where everyone supports the same team.

There is non-stop singing, banter between those sat in the stands and the tables, oh, and some darts as well.

It has become big business in recent years, the darts players have their own personal walk-on music, nicknames and colourful clothes, which they sell online.

And advert breaks are greeted with music which the audience sing and dance along to.

Tonight, in simple terms, the first semi-final is Simon Whitlock against Peter Wright.

But it is actually Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock and his giant ponytail taking on Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, who has multi-coloured hair and a snake’s head drawn on the side of his face.

In case that still sounds too normal, he wears clothes that look like someone has vomited a rainbow all over him.

Part of the fun is watching the players enter the arena, and their celebrations as they win legs and sets. That and what the crowd are up to – half the time, the darts being thrown are a sideshow.

Sky have 23 HD cameras on location, over 10 miles of cables and 130 crew members on site to deliver 90 hours of darts action.

But this is not a classy view and more like stepping back to a less PC time as each match also features girls in tiny skirts dancing on stage and accompanying the players to the oche. 

I think at any other time of the year I would not be a regular viewer.

But at Christmas, propped up on the sofa with a beer and plates of cold meats, it is an easy watch and brings a smile to the face.

The final on New Year’s Day is ideal for those still feeling a bit ropey in the evening who can’t face anything as taxing as a drama or a documentary.

Despite the fact that favourite Phil “The Power” Taylor is out, I wouldn’t bet against Sky hitting the target with an even bigger audience than the 1.2 million who watched last year’s final. As darts fans will agree, it’s good to have something to aim for. 

Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror

The PDC World Championships semi-finals are live on Sky Sports 1 from 7pm on Monday 30 December


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