House of Flying Arrows (2016) Script

MAN: There are sports where everybody has participated at some stage in their life.

Most people have thrown a dart at a dartboard.

We all know that throwing one 60 is impossible.

Throwing two is unlikely.

And no one on earth can throw three.

(CHEERING)

MAN: Love the competitive element of one v. one.

Straight shootout, 501 down, very logical, not a lot of rules.

MAN: You don't have to be a super athlete to play darts.

But you've got to have your wits about you, and you've got to have stamina.

And you've got to have nerves of steel.

COMMENTATOR: Double 16 for the match!

- (CHEERING) And it is world title number 16!

Up on that stage, you've got nobody, you're on your dot.

It's just you and the board and your opponent, and you are shown in all your glory, and it's a lovely thing to see.

People say they go on stage and play the board.

They're not playing the board, they're playing the boy in front of them.

It's not the board that's hitting 140s and 180s against you.

It's the boy that you're playing against.

Are you better than him?

MAN: Trying to play your own game whilst having the pressure cranked up by someone else.

MAN: You can't avoid the mental battle, because that is what sport does, and I love that challenge when I play.

People holding their nerve under pressure.

It's just one on one, you know. Is that man king of his field?

COMMENTATOR: What a performance from Michael van Gerwen!

I don't love darts all the time. It's only when I play well that I like darts.

Anyone who understands sports, who understands excitement...

It's almost relentless.

MAN: You can see the breaking down. of a player on stage. or the making of a player.

ls darts beautiful? Darts beautiful? Beautiful and darts?

Darts can be a beautiful game.

There's nothing more beautiful than watching two monsters play a beautiful game.

MAN: Look in his eyes. Give him a deep look, as well.

(CAMERA CLICKS)

(CAMERA CLICKS)

GARY ANDERSON: Twenty years, I've been trying to win this trophy.

Or ten years I've been in the BDO, trying to win the World Championship.

Couldn't do it, so came across here. So, 20 years.

And I finally get my hands on the World Championship trophy.

That's everything.

REFEREE: Gary, you require 25.

COMMENTATOR: Double 12!

(CHEERING) REFEREE: Game, set and match!

Gary Anderson!

(CHEERING)

MAN: You're on there, Gaz, you're on there.

Spa“ my name wrong.

You've only put one R on it.

GARY: The year! won it, I'd had a great year.

I was confident with my game. I was happy with my game.

I didn't care who I played, you know.

I wanted to play Michael van Gerwen in the semis.

I wanted to play Phil in the final.

And I got my dream, and I nicked it at the end.

This year, I don't know.

Practice is not that well compared to last year. Totally different.

I'm playing OK, you know, but the last couple of tournaments I've played in, not too good.

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN: I would like to win a minimum of five titles.

World titles. I already won one.

And I already won every major tournament there is on the calendar.

(CROWD SHOUTS)

REFEREE: Game, set and match!

The 2014 Ladbrokes World Darts Champion!

Mighty Michael van Gerwen!

MICHAEL: If you look to my tournament averages, they are sky high.

So I'm doing really well, but I'm still hungry for more titles, and at the moment, I'm not even in the middle of my career.

I'm under a lot of pressure to win this title back, but I don't really mind.

I'm under pressure already. For two and a half years.

Never confident, never a confident player.

You know, I'll turn up not knowing what to expect.

Everyone says, "Which Gary's turning up?

The one that's got his head on or the one that's wondering a bit?"

I'm a talent, isn't it?

GARY: I'd never say I was the best player in the world. I'm not like that.

The next two weeks, I'm gonna be hitting the dartboard hard.

You're the five-to-four favorite.

Can I uh... Swap?

(ALL LAUGH)

Tomorrow morning, I go on holiday for eight days, so just to make sure I'm prepared and fresh for the World Championships.

No darts at all, just relaxing a little bit. Little bit of diving and fishing.

We are absolute raw talent, isn't it? Not only with darts, also for this.

And they love everything we say, isn't it?

We are good, isn't it? Yeah, yeah.

(MEN LAUGH AND CHAT)

Here, mate I'll put it down here.

(LAUGHS) Anyway.

That was a good game, wasn't it? (BOTH LAUGH)

I loved fishing and uh... (INDISTINCT)

BOBBY: More or less.

One of my mates said, "I've got a couple of tickets to go sea fishing."

I'd never been sea fishing.

Went out on the boat, up and down, right? Up and down.

(LAUGHS) Spewing over the side.

It was terrible and my mate Malcolm Ellis, he said, "Let's go to the pub, have a game of darts" I said, "I don't play darts."

He's got a set of darts. Just, you know, pass the time away.

So I started playing with him. I scored well. He said, "How do you do that?"

I said, "I don't know, I just throw 'em."

He said, "You've got to, like, take it up."

I thought it was a fanny game, to be honest with you.

(ALL LAUGH)

Anyway, I joined... He said, "You've gotta join the Super League."

You didn't join a normal league, you went to the Super League?

I won it, thought, "This is handy," and I never really looked back.

Just... I had a gift.

KEITH: You had a lucky start, really. A lucky...

Well, they was crap, the players, that's what you're trying to say.

(ALL LAUGH)

BOBBY: Eric, how did you get into darts?

Well, you know George, my dad, he started me off.

He tried me at pool, he tried me at snooker.

He bought me a dartboard when I was 11.

And I didn't realize he was a good player.

And by the time I was about 12, I was murdering him at 1001.

And then at 14, my dad says to me one Sunday afternoon, "Right, you're ready."

I said, "Ready for what?"

And he took me down the pub. The pubs used to be packed then, didn't they?

Yeah, they did. Half 11, quarter to 12.

Everybody would get in, and I beat them all.

So I played from, like, ten to 12, till quarter past two, cos if you weren't home by half past two, your dinner was in the dog, wasn't it? Yeah.

Where did the grip come from then? I mean, that was the most unusual grip.

I held my dart like that. So obviously, that finger didn't come into it.

The point was on that last... It just stuck out.

It looked good and all, didn't it?

Load of bollocks, really, isn't it? It looked good, didn't it?

How old were you?

I started very, very early, at the age of five.

My late father was a good dart player, and we had a dartboard on the back of the larder door.

Big circle of holes around where the dartboard had gone.

(LAUGHS) ERIC: Five's too bloody early!

Yeah, but I gave it up for sex and football.

Sex and football?

(ALL LAUGH)

MICHAEL: To play exhibitions, it's good to get your form going.

Cos it's like a nice practice.

But the other side also, to entertain on the stage, for myself, is always the biggest thing.

GARY: Doing exhibitions, it's great.

Especially when you come back to your area where you played darts.

This is what every dart player does.

We all do it. We're on the road constantly.

You know, we've learnt the trade in pubs and clubs, so it's nice to come back and mingle.

People like us that come here, we like to come there.

What? Do you not think I'm doing anything, like?

Bugger off then. He's filming.

GARY: Get.

MICHAEL: I think darts is the only sport where you can get so close to a professional, to a big player.

You can meet us, and you can have a signature and a picture with us.

GARY: We 're not superstars. We're dart players.

I'm on coffee, and he's sticking that under my nose, eh?

MAN: Gary Anderson. He took up darts very late in life.

And he took up darts because he couldn't afford the 50 pence to play pool, and he could play darts for free.

GARY: The first nine darts, I think it was 140, 180, 140.

I found hitting 180s very easy.

Lucky that I found the darts, actually.

Gary has got such a natural throw that it just looks so easy.

Michael was always a good player when he was a kid.

You're filming a stupid kid here.

The BDO events he was winning, like, different opens, as a 16-, 17-year-old kid.

Then he said, "Well, I'm gonna go to the PDC."

So he went over and, I don't know, must have been five years, he didn't do anything at all.

Fuck. No swearing on the telly.

And then he woke up.

He's not good, he's mustard, that boy. He is mustard.

CROWD SINGS: # Oh, Michael van Gerwen #.

# Oh, Gary, Gary it.

# Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary Anderson #.

I need to concentrate and make sure I entertain all the people in there.

They want to have a good night out, the 180s and things like that.

If you play well, the more that you give us a chance.

If you give 'em a chance and you don't hit 180s, they moan at you cos you don't hit 180s.

It's all banter.

MICHAEL: Everyone? relaxed, and that's the thing I like.

For everyone, tonight is a night to enjoy yourself.

But still I try to win.

One hundred and eighty! (CHEERING)

MAN: Alexandra Palace sits there like the Buckingham Palace of local council buildings.

Alexandra Palace was built a few hundred years ago to stage various exhibitions. It was the home of the BBC.

'N REPORTER: Built after the exhibition of 1862, as a center of entertainment for the people of north London, the Alexandra Palace was endowed in the opulent Victorian manner, with a Moorish house, an Egyptian villa, a Swiss chalet and a Japanese village.

BARRY HEARN: Its nickname was always the people? palace.

It has this wonderful site.

It has a building that resonates to big crowds.

It has a mystique.

And of course to a player, to appear at the palace in the World Championships is something they never forget.

GARY: I'm the only daft bugger that's come in early to have a look.

It's, uh... I wanted to see, cos the stage used to be across there last year.

So, I don't like change.

So, I thought I'd come along and have a wee keek at what's going on.

The first time that you actually walk up there... l remember my first time.

Didn't know where to stand, where to look, what to do.

You know, it's an absolute massive stage at Ally Pally.

You know, when we see our double chins, that's cos of these lights.

Just bounce it off us.

Yeah.

What a difference with these on.

I can't play with them.

MAN: What, much worse? GARY: No, better.

We'll get that sorted next year. Get that sorted next year.

I've got a kinda thing with my eyes.

You know, anything near my eyes and it's, no.

I think if you play all your life without glasses, it's very, very hard, cos I touch my eye with my dart when I throw.

So with glasses, I'm hitting my glasses before I should be in the right place.

This is not looking too good, is it? Done. Arrivederci.

We'll hit the road.

It does not feel like the Worlds. Not yet, anyway, you know, so...

I think tomorrow, when we get ready to walk on, it'll... It'll come back, but...

Yeah, it's gonna be good. Gonna be some good darts this year.

It's gonna be tough, eh?

(CHEERING)

REFEREE: And now, ladies and gentlemen, time to welcome the reigning and defending champion of the world!

Ally Pally, simple. It's the biggest tournament in the world.

This is what we all play for, you know.

This is what every dart player works for.

MAN 1: He looks edgy. MAN 2: He's a bag of nerves, mate.

GARY: The walk out, that's the worst bit in darts, for me.

I'll be standing at the back of the curtains.

The amount of times that I've actually had to run away and vomit in a bucket, you know, cos I get that nervous...

The blood's pumping, the nerves are going.

But it seems to be, once you get on that stage, that's when you settle down.

You know, when they say, "Game on."

REFEREE: Game on!

(CHEERING) REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

MAN: From a neuroscientific point of view, throwing a dart is a very interesting thing, because motor control is a very complex process, involving, essentially, the whole brain.

When you approach a dartboard, the retinae receive the input information, which means light, and they translate it into action potential.

So, the information from the retinae is then sent, via connections, from the retinae to the occipital brain areas, which are the back of your head.

And this information is also sent to the temporal areas and to the parietal areas, which are further up.

And this processing allows you to extract the information of: what is it, actually, you're looking at?

It's the dartboard, it's the dart in your hand and all your environment.

It tells you what you can do with these things and where they are in space.

It's, of course, crucial information for throwing a dart.

The motor areas, the basal ganglia, the cerebellum, the parietal areas...

They have to produce the motor command to throw the dart on to the field that you decided to hit.

REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

We have a fine control of all our hand muscles.

That's of course also something that's crucial in darts.

Cos you hold the dart in your hand and release certain fingers in a certain sequence.

And all this means controlling several hundred muscles at the same time, without thinking about it.

And it happens in just a few hundred milliseconds.

When you're a beginner, you probably use all these muscles, so what has been shown in professionals is that they use fewer muscles, but in a more efficient way.

They modulate their activity much more dynamically.

And this is the crucial point.

You try to reduce the complexity of the whole system.

COMMENTATOR: Gary needs double four.

- For the match! No problem that time! Gary Anderson!

Pretty convincing three-nil victory for Gary Anderson.

Magnificent performance, one that you'd expect from a world champion.

(ALL TALK AND LAUGH)

This is the press conference.

(GARY SIGHS)

All it was about was getting past that first round tonight, you know.

Just play at least half decent.

Pressure's on, you know. If I'd been beat, that would have killed me.

MAN: That was a performance that showed very few signs of nerves.

I'm not gonna swear, but 20 minutes before you could check my boxer shorts.

You know, I've not got much time.

You've got either a microphone up my arse or a camera in my face so, you know, I'm not getting much time at the practice board, am I?

(LAUGHS)

CROWD SINGS: # Oh, Michael van Gerwen.

# Oh, Michael van Gerwen #.

# Oh, Michael van Gerwen #.

MAN: I love Michael, because I'm the worst darts player in the world.

I always lose, and he always wins, cos he's my opposite.

He's my, uh... How do you name that?

M'! Angstgegner.

MAN: Hope Michael wins the World Championship!

He's the best in the world!

(CHEERING)

BARRY HEARN: Michael van Gerwen, he has passion.

So all the gestures, the arm waving, the snarling, that is the real Michael van Gerwen.

BOBBY GEORGE: He's the only player that reminds me of me.

You could be playing your best darts, he still makes you look silly.

MICHAEL: I've never been nervous before I went on stage.

We have a lot of confidence, we don't get nervous.

People, why should they be scared of me?

The darts I played in the last few months, I think they're the best darts that's ever been played on television.

You want to be the best in what you do.

COMMENTATOR: Twenty-one straight victories.

Twenty ton-plus averages.

And it hasn't taken him long to hit his first maximum.

We are in the middle of witnessing Michael van Ger-wen 'S demolition job of Rene Eidams.

Michael van Gerwen takes the first set.

Michael van Gerwen knows that he's going to win this match.

REFEREE: Two-zero. Second set.

Michael van Gerwen wins the second set.

Now a chance. Not had a shot, a double, yet.

Bullseye!

Oh! That's the way to win a leg, my man!

Michael looks absolutely shocked. He looks bewildered!

"How dare you take a leg off me? Do you know who I am?"

Go on, pal, well done.

Oh ho ho!

If you're gonna win a set, do it in style.

(CHEERING)

Michael van Gerwen here has got work to do. A lot of work to do.

Double eight now.

He loves these. He loves these flashy finishes.

This to force a deciding set against Michael van Gerwen.

Amazing! We're going to a deciding set!

- That's, we think... It's unfolding. It is unfolding.

It's amazing!

Changing. Double four now.

That is absolutely incredible.

The world number one Michael van Gerwen is in all sorts of bother.

REFEREE: Michael, you require 90.

COMMENTATOR: Can he finally, finally get the job done?

- REFEREE: Game, set and match. That is a win for Michael van Gerwen.

(CHEERING)

I had two lapses in very important moments, and I gave him confidence.

I never should do that, and that's a mistake, but I'm really glad I could make the mistake.

(SPEAKS DUTCH)

I never should be in that position, I should have won that game three-nil.

But it's my problem, and I need to make sure it won't happen in the next game.

MAN: Has it been a reality check, Michael, because you came in on such a great year?

You need to take a lesson out of this, and I will do.

You need to be mentally very strong, and I think I am.

Angry is not the right word, but a little bit disappointed with myself.

I can do a lot better than this, but what can you do?

It's just something you need to handle and take a good lesson out of this.

And make sure I'm playing well in the next game. I wasn't angry.

No worries. They only wanna hear I'm angry, isn't it?

REFEREE: For the very first time in history, he is the 16-time champion of the world!

Phil "The Power" Taylor!

(CHEERING)

The biggest player of all time, for me, is Phil Taylor. No question about that.

The greatest dart player the world's ever seen, even better than Bristow.

He won the World Championship 16 times. He's won nearly 100 majors.

No one's gonna catch his titles, not even me.

MAN: He's got all the skills. He's well balanced.

He's got a beautiful throw. He's a very, very good character.

His temperament is excellent, and he has the ability to up his game.

When he's rattled, he normally responds.

I think this guy has mastered this game.

BARRY HEARN: Phil Taylor is a perfectly amicable man.

But really, he will kill you rather than lose.

Everything was... It was trying to put him off his normal game.

Look at him, he's crying.

Am I competitive in everything? Yeah, everything I do, yeah. Yeah.

COMMENTATOR: For destiny!

(CHEERING)

Manley wouldn't shake his hand!

PHIL: No idea what the other players thought about me.

I couldn't care less, to be quite honest with you.

Phil Taylor was a bully to everyone else, cos he was that much bloody better!

COMMENTATOR: He's after it again.

He was just brilliant.

But there's never been anyone that's dedicated themselves like he has.

(CHEERING)

REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

Competition just requires an intense personal desire to understand that if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do it to my absolute max.

COMMENTATOR: Brilliant! It's the dream dozen for the greatest-ever player in the history of this sport!

There was 15 years when no one could even get close to him.

Phil kept winning and kept winning, and the interest grew and grew.

COMMENTATOR: Unbelievable! Fifteen to Taylor! Magnificent! Magnificent!

There'll never be anyone as good as him. We don't want anyone as good as him.

Phil Taylor. has broken more hearts than Casanova.

GARY: I've got two titles that I've won that I keep to my heart the closest.

And it's my two trophies that I've beat Phil Taylor in the final.

Why does he keep grinding on? Why does he keep playing?

COMMENTATOR: Sixty.

PHIL: The biggest thing is the fear of losing.

I think that's what makes me love it, is the fear of getting beaten.

(CHEERING) I've been doing it for 30 years now.

So it gets difficult as you get older, because you've done everything.

You know, there's nothing to prove anymore.

People keep reminding you of this. "Phil, you've got nothing to prove."

But you have, because you want to prove it to yourself.

COMMENTATOR: It's all over!

He ends the dream of a 17th world title for "The Power."

What do you need to know about me? I'm a kaaskop. That's a cheese head.

It's difficult to speak about myself. I don't mind talking about someone else.

That's easier than...

Say, because if you say anything good, or too good or too bad, they say "arrogant man," and that's why I don't like it.

Look there, look there, look there, who's there on the wall?

That's me! (LAUGHS)

Darts, for me, means a lot. I got a lot of confidence out of darts.

How I started playing... It's a while back, about 14 years ago.

I started playing. I wasn't good at football, so I started to play darts.

Someone asked me if I'd come and play on Saturday afternoon. I did.

When you're a kid and not good at anything, and then you find out you're good in darts, you get more confident, and that's how it is.

And when you win your first trophy as a kid, yeah, it's lovely. There's no better motivation for a kid.

If I hadn't picked up darts, I probably would have been a tiler, just worked, like five or six days a week.

Just as loads of other people. You know what I mean?

But I found my talent, and I'm really glad of that.

I don't like working! (LAUGHS) I don't want to work.

I worked for a couple of years, and I don't like waking up early in the morning.

Yeah, soon as I won the Grand Prix, uh, three and a half years ago, I stopped.

One hundred and eighty. Oh, bad.

I like to practice here. It's nice and relaxed, quiet.

Rubbish.

Rubbish.

I don't really like to practice, because I only like to play the big tournaments, because that's where my passion is and things like that.

But you have to if you want to keep your number one spot in the world.

So I have three more.

One hundred and eighty this time.

No, 140 again. Yeah.

I've got a lot of big passion for darts.

When I play, I like to play as many good games as possible.

And the people love what I do on the stage, with the fist pumping and things like that.

But it's just myself, it's not that I do that to entertain them.

It's just my own game.

This is how I throw. I just make sure my leg is straight.

It's just one natural throw. I always play the same.

It's... I don't, uh, hold in or anything.

It's just... (WHISTLES)

High-end combination, and I throw.

I don't aim. I throw my darts on instinct. I'm not an aimer.

Somehow, they go in.

People love to see natural talents who give a little bit of aggression or natural, fantastic players.

Who in the crowd likes to see someone really boring? No one.

I think, if you throw a little bit harder and direct, it's the less time the dart is in the air, the less time it has to go the wrong way.

My opinion.

You probably say I look forward too much, that I'm gonna win probably next week, but that's the pressure everyone puts on me, and I need to look game by game, don't make mistakes, step by step.

Cos otherwise, you make mistakes, and you can't afford it in a strong World Championship like this.

MAN: For Michael, it's very, very difficult to play Raymond, because Raymond was the first dart hero in the Netherlands.

And Michael always looked up to him.

Looking like, there's big Barney, you know?

Now it's big Michael, and Raymond doesn't like that, because, well, sort of the Dutch power has been taken over by Michael.

And still Michael, in his heart, finds it difficult to play Raymond.

Because it's still Barney, you know?

MICHAEL: I know who Raymond van Bameveld was in the past, but I never looked up to someone.

If you look up to someone, that means you're not gonna be a world star, in my opinion.

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD: He got three darts, and I got three darts.

And he has to show it to me.

And if he doesn't, I will be there to, um, to finish him.

MAN: Michael van Gerwen, who's coming this time, won 18 tournaments this year.

Red-hot favorite. Barney's coming to the tournament.

Not playing the best darts of his life.

I saw in his first round that he was struggling a bit against the German guy.

Maybe this is the time to beat him.

RAYMOND: He knows that if there is one guy who can beat him, it would be me.

He's a very strong player. He's got loads of experience.

But he also needs to do that tonight. Can he do that tonight?

Under pressure, because he knows I'm the favorite.

Can he handle that I'm the favorite?

(CHEERING)

COMMENTATOR 1: MVG piles in the first maximum to put the pressure on Barney.

COMMENTATOR 2: An absolute darting machine.

COMMENTATOR 1: Michael van Gerwen has taken the first set.

Pressure on that stage is, you know, it's immense.

It's different from any other. It really is, you know.

COMMENTATOR 1: Barney on fire!

I don't like the pressure, no one likes the pressure.

But it gets to you.

COMMENTATOR 1: Bullseye!

Oh!

GARY: Feels like your arm doesn't belong to you.

You've got about ten kilos of sand on the end of it.

COMMENTATOR 1: What a dart from Barney! Roar from Barney!

One set apiece.

Double 16!

And Raymond van Bameveld, Van the Man, he's in front!

He's two-one up, to the delight of this packed house.

The only person that makes you nervous and you miss is yourself.

COMMENTATOR 1: Two sets apiece.

Doesn't matter if you're talented for this game.

You know, I know a lot of talented players, but they never ever could handle the pressure.

COMMENTATOR 2: This would be incredible.

COMMENTATOR 1: Oh! It's absolutely wonderful.

It's magnificent.

Barney three, MVG two!

Three-two to Barney! I could be right here!

Michael says he's not feeling the pressure, but Barney's no mug whatsoever.

The difference between the top players, it's just the pressure.

That's all it is. Loads of people last year.

Michael van Gerwen probably won five or six tournaments, when he shouldn't have done.

When he handled the pressure, where people had shots to beat him, and didn't take him out.

REFEREE: Game and the sixth set, Michael van Gerwen!

You're meant to be nervous, you're meant to be on edge.

You're meant to have a bloke on your shoulder telling you you're not good enough.

And that's just how your brain is wired.

So, being able to understand that that's normal and then what can I do to combat that?

COMMENTATOR 1: Double nine!

(CHEERING)

Look at the roar from RVB!

ALASTAIR COOK: The best thing is not to think of anything at all.

That's the best piece of advice. Don't think of a thing.

Because the more you think, the more you can think about it going wrong.

What's up there, that's the biggest muscle in your body.

It's what's in your mind, it's how you can control being under pressure.

COMMENTATOR 2: Double top for Michael van Gerwen.

Now his fate is in the hands of Raymond van Bameveld.

If you need three darts to win the match or to win a title, suddenly it'll become different.

Because then, the pressure is immense.

COMMENTATOR 2: Looking at the 60.

It's almost a feeling like two arms from a big man behind you, and they won't let you go.

COMMENTATOR 1: Double 18.

Michael van Gerwen, the odds-on favorite for the World Championship, is out!

One of the best matches you're ever, ever likely to witness.

There's the man.

RAYMOND: To be the world number one like Michael, it's so much pressure on your shoulders, every single tournament you play, because everyone expected you to win.

I want to win this one, and I want to throw all the other ones in the bin for this one, and I didn't win this one, so this sucks so much.

WOMAN: What next for you?

Uh... Not much.

That's up there with one of the best games I've ever witnessed.

I showed the world that Raymond van Bameveld is still not finished.

He went to Curacao in South America for eight or ten days to have a good rest and a nice holiday, but the rest among us are practicing hard.

And if you're number 16 in the world, you practice harder than the world number one.

Because the world number one is winning almost every competition.

Of course there's drama, MVG was out of the tournament!

Drama for myself. On the flight back home next day.

You walk on the street at home, and everyone in the town tells you, "Ah, unlucky, mate. Unlucky."

And often number six or 89, you think,

"Next time I'm not allowed to do that."

GARY: I've got Lexi, who's the mum of these two.

The next oldest one's Sky. She's five, six.

Five. And we've got the youngest one, Bo.

This is my favorite. This is my baby girl, you know, so.

Lexi's like Rachel's, and I think Bo's my oldest son...

He's the one that's taught her everything.

Every bad trick in the book.

So not been well trained too much, have you? No.

I used to play darts. I used to play county.

And used to go to competitions, and that's how I met Gary.

So, yeah.

We've always lived in pubs, so my mum and step dad played, and my dad played.

So it's kind of just, uh, been brought up with it, really.

GARY: In the blood. Yeah, yeah.

I took a leg off the world champion of darts.

I did! Yeah, once! Was it a 13 darter?

She used to be a very good dart player, you know?

So... Yeah. No, she was very good.

Very good dart player.

It was a very long time ago. I wouldn't be able to do it now.

GARY: Darts, to me, is a hobby that's turned out to be my job.

It's been a great job. You know, it's a hard job.

I mean, the pressure's on, the crowd's against you.

Can you hit the doubles under pressure? So, you do test yourself.

You know, and you test yourself against other players.

MAN: Hello, mate, how are you? Not too bad.

More pain. Can't go without it.

Darts is like anybody's job.

There'll be days that you wake up in the morning, don't want to do it.

You know, can't be arsed. Just want to have a day off.

(NEEDLE BUZZES)

A few years back, I had a bad time. I lost my brother, I lost my dad.

Space of a few months in between. Didn't want to play darts.

My brother was younger. Stewart. What would he be now?

He'd be 39, coming up 40.

So, three or four years ago. He'd have been in his early 30s.

Dad had cancer of the esophagus, so...

You know, watching a man, over a year, just waste away to nothing wasn't very nice, so...

So that was it. I just didn't want to play darts.

You know, I'm standing on the stage doing something, didn't want to be there, didn't want to be playing darts.

You know, so I was just going through the motions.

And you've got everyone in your earhole: "Oh, you're missing doubles."

"He'll not win this, cos he can't hit doubles."

I was always a heavy scorer.

But I was making a mess of the darts at double, you know.

I was missing three darts at double.

And people were picking up on it.

Sky was picking up on it. The commentators were picking up.

I was turning up every week, and they says, "You're scoring well. but you cannot hit a double."

I was getting this drummed into me, week in and week out.

So you end up starting to listen to them.

I started actually worrying, when I was playing darts, why I was getting beat by people.

Not that I'm better than anyone else, but I know how I can play.

Howl should be playing.

Having Tai, it felt like the weight had been lifted off my shoulders, just with having the two bad years with my dad and my brother.

The wee one came along, kind of takes your mind off it.

So it was back to, right, I've got a wee one to look after now.

I think that's where everything just relaxed.

I went back to playing darts, and I was enjoying it.

I've always said if I win, I win, if I lose, I lose, and that's how it used to be years ago.

So, my doubles were going in, that to the critics, and I don't care anymore.

So to the final itself. Fifteen hundred people packing the auditorium in anticipation of the best darts of the week.

And as we join Sid Waddell's commentary, we're in the sixth set, and George leads by three sets to two.

(CHEERING AND CHANTING)

REFEREE: Game on, ladies and gentlemen!

SID WADDELL: Well, I'd advise you to sit on the edge of your seats, cos I'm sitting on the edge of mine as the gladiators come out.

And don't blink, don't even blink, because I think these two will go off again new like guided missiles.

REFEREE: Game on, ladies and gentlemen, please.

Bobby George to throw first.

SID: Heb got the 60. He's behind I was with Eric.

I think Eric had one 20 left, and I had 81 left, so I went triple 15.

And I hit a 15. So I thought, "I'll go with treble 16."

I hit a treble 16 instead of 16 bull.

Two nines. Eric got up.

- (CHEERING) sun: Well, well.

I don't remember this much tension.

For the championship Shanghai on 20s.

He's got the 60. Twenty. Double top!

I know you don't like tops. Used to play in pairs.

So I thought, "He ain't getting tops, he don't like tops."

(CROWD GROANS) REFEREE: Eighty!

S“): A whisker out!

Eighteen means double nine for the set to level it up.

Four-four.

So I get a double nine, a big nine. ERIC: I didn't expect a shot.

In my head, standing behind you, I'm thinking, "That's all right, it's gonna be five sets all.

We'll go to the last set."

REFEREE: Best of order, please.

I'm not thinking about winning it. No, I was just thinking, "All I've got to do is this, and then I've got the darts the last set."

I actually had the darts last set.

REFEREE: Game on, ladies and gentlemen.

BOBBY: I went up, and I hit a big nine. I thought, "Oh. "

And in the end I said, "I'll hit the big 20."

SID: Awkward one. One. Nah. He doesn't score.

That says it all.

I thought, "You prat!"

SID: So here we have championship points.

All of a sudden, I'm thinking, "Oh sugar, I've got a chance now."

It was like someone pushing me from behind. You've got another shot here.

And I think, "Don't blow this now."

SID: The Crafty Cockney, Eric Bristow, ranked at number one in the world...

REFEREE: Let's have order, please, ladies and gentlemen.

SID: ...needs a single double to become the world champion.

Wants double ten!

Eric Bristow! (CHEERING)

He says to me, "After I beat you, I've got a poem for you."

I said, "Is that right?"

So after I beat him, I shook his hand and said, "What's the fucking poem?"

He went, "Uh... Uh..." No poem.

Yeah, yeah. Then he kissed me.

What did you kiss me for? You ruined the whole show.

I'm not really worried about Bobby, because I beat him in the semi-final of the World Masters.

(CROWD JEERS)

Is that the supporters? (LAUGHS)

He's um... He's going to be the number two of the future.

(LAUGHTER)

You can't put a good man down. Eric, congratulations.

The 1980 final changed people at home watching darts, didn't it?

- ERIC: The crowd got involved. SID: Eric Bristow, from Stoke Newington, becomes the 1980 Embassy Professional Champion of the World!

1980, Bristow, Bobby George.

Probably the final that cemented darts in the public imagination, I think.

Because it was on at teatime after the football.

Fixture list had been wiped out because of the weather.

And here you have, instead, live darts.

Eric Bristow, Bobby George, two phenomenal characters. And my dad, Sid.

SID: its like having a ringside seat at the Coliseum.

Sid could have worked with The Goons or Black Adder, Monty Python...

He had that kind of agile, that kind of terrific mind.

SID: If we had a few footballers in England like Deller, we 'd be alright.

My dad grew up in a working-class pit village in the north-east.

He was a bookish, erudite, swotty character.

A man of words, a man of thought, and he always admired the wide boys.

People in his local pub. My dad was a creature of the pub.

People in the pub who could walk the walk, be swaggering about, talking about how they could beat anybody and slay you on the darts board and then they could do it.

My dad genuinely believed these people were working-class heroes.

That they were ordinary men who were capable of doing extraordinary things.

And he wanted everything he wrote and everything he said down the mike to bolster that and to represent that.

SID SHRIEKS: Double 12!

Did anyone see it? Cos I'm gobsmacked! I am gobsmacked!

Sid Waddell's love of darts was pure, undiluted infatuation.

I think my dad was probably the first person to take darts seriously as a sport.

He definitely saw it as a sport from the start.

He produced The Indoor League for Yorkshire Television in 1972.

Sid didn't do any commentary in those days.

Sid was the producer, Sid was whispering in my ears all kinds of...

Sid was saying things. The shove ha' penny, we said, "He's the Boris Spassky of the sliding small change."

And wonderful expressions like that.

And Sid came to me and said, "Do you think I could be a commentator?"

So I said, "Yeah, why not? You're full of old guff."

Probably my dad's first famous line came when John Lowe won the World Championships in 1979.

And he'd said as he won:

S“): And there'll be a reception in Clay Cross, as if the Ayatollah Khomeini had walked into town.

DAN WADDELL: And he prepared that line.

He'd been pacing around in the hotel room beforehand, and he'd said it, and my stepmother said to him, "There's no way on earth you're gonna say that, are you, Sid?"

And that was the sort of tipping point for him.

He'd realized that you could get away with those kind of lines and allusions.

Sid Waddell, bless his heart, gave me my nickname, The Limestone Cowboy.

In '84, when I walked out for the first time, out of the dressing room with a cowboy shirt on, he said, "Good God Look at that. The Limestone Cowboy."

I said, "How did you work that one?"

He said, 'Well, I know you like John Wayne movies," which I did, "and you live on the limestone hills of northern Wiltshire. Limestone Cowboy."

I thought, "Thank you very much." And it stuck.

He also called me Clint Plywood.

(LAUGHS)

I would have called you Clit Plywood. (LAUGHS)

And he probably called me one or two other things, as well.

I liked Sid. I mean, he was good for the game.

People either loved him or hated him.

Like the same as me, with darts, you know what I mean?

He used to come out with some funny sayings, like, "A comeback like Lazarus," and all that.

Sid was an expert at this kind of wonderful detail.

Sid could tell you if George Formby was playing a ukulele or a banjo.

He was a highly intelligent person.

And that brought in different people at good times for us.

Ninety percent of the people watching back home are not dart fanatics.

And he was the guy that got that percentage, a lot of that percentage, interested in darts.

A good commentator's job is to make a boring game good.

Cos when you've got two boring players playing and they're not doing a lot, he should keep it going. Yeah.

That's why he did most of his big jobs when you were playing.

(ALL LAUGH)

When I was playing you!

Commentators now are two a penny, and they're all paint by numbers, and they're all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same.

There are no Sid Waddells.

DAN WADDELL: At my dad's funeral, Barry said in his speech, he said he would name the trophy after my dad.

I got a call from PDC to go see the trophy.

Uh... It was being unveiled.

And I went down and it was just...

To see it there, with my dad's name on it, I was surprised, actually, how moved I was, because that'll always be there, the Sid Waddell trophy.

Nobody's gonna nick it, it's too heavy!

But it's there forever, and it means he, you know, his name will always be associated with darts.

How are you feeling ahead of this one? Really good. Um...

Want to get on with it, want to play. You know, I'm ready.

JAMES: Probably started playing in pubs and clubs at about ten or 11.

Used to watch my nan playing down the pub and my dad playing down the pub.

And I thought, "That looks quite fun I'll have a go."

What do you make of Gary Anderson, the challenge that you're facing?

He's now the tournament favorite. Do you think that's rightly so?

I'm sure he should be a tournament favorite at the moment.

It was something I understood. I didn't understand many things as a kid.

You know, and it was one of the few things that I found quite easy, and I've got my few issues and problems.

I got diagnosed with bipolar and ADHD, and then, because I take some medication, some of it's banned on the British doping thing for drugs testing.

I had to go and see another psychiatrist.

And I come out of there, and he said I'm probably on the autism spectrum as well.

So every time I go to different places, I get a new, like, achievement plan.

I get listed for something else. So, I'm not quite sure what I've got.

I just know I'm a little bit different.

COMMENTATOR: Wade has got such a consistent game, and certainly over the last year James has thrown more 180s than he ever has.

If he's got that in sync, then he is going to be tough to beat.

Wade's dangerous.

REFEREE: Game on!

COMMENTATOR: He's done little wrong so far in this tournament.

Looked a champ, played like a champ.

Can he hold on to that title?

Or will the three-times semi-finalist, James Wade, playing in his seventh quarter-final, have the last say?

One thing's for sure, it's going to be quality.

JAMES: I see all imperfections.

I am a very obsessive character, person.

Darts is definitely not helpful for someone with an obsessive nature.

It's probably one of the worst things in the world anyone could be involved in if they've got any kind of mental issues.

If I see a stage that isn't right, or a board that's slightly out of position, or my arm just doesn't feel right, or my darts, I don't think are right.

That's all it takes, is something like that.

COMMENTATOR: This is important for James Wade.

Sixty.

COMMENTATOR: He's got to play better than this.

Doesn't bode well for James Wade right now.

(CHEERING)

Gary Anderson, it's his second 180.

As well as playing the other player, I'm playing my own issues.

COMMENTATOR: Go on, Gary!

Five perfect darts.

Makes it six! Here we go again! (CHEERING)

It's on!

And now if Gary takes this out, he'll have the darts for another three-nil set.

Three-zip, Anderson. ls there any way back for James Wade from this?

If you're not playing quite as well as you should be, you're obsessed with that.

COMMENTATOR: Tops he needs!

It's just not happening for him, is it?

I take things to heart very easily.

I get very upset very easily. I get very angry very easily.

COMMENTATOR: Double ten this time.

And Gary Anderson continues the defense of his World Championship!

Rubbish. There's no other word for that game, you know. Absolutely rubbish.

Um. Almost an embarrassment to be up there.

After the disappointment of the World Championships, um...

I'm still, to this day, punishing myself.

Um... Just to make sure I remember what I did wrong. Um...

Cos I lost to myself that day, and that hurt. That hurt. I lost to myself.

It was always going to be hard against James cos you know what he's like.

There were times I was giving him short checkouts, and he wasn't taking them out where he usually does.

COMMENTATOR: Gary Anderson will meet Jelle Klaasen in a mouthwatering semi-final showdown!

I played alright for an old, fat, blind bloke!

(BOTH LAUGH)

Now, imagine winning a world title, only to be told that you and the rest of the big names in your sport have been banned.

Well, it's happened in darts.

Sixteen of the world's top players have just been told that they're now barred from all official tournaments.

I think the split that occurred in darts had to happen.

Basically, we were in the middle of a world recession, and we went from having 13 televised events in one year to two in one year.

And we weren't marketing the game properly, weren't selling ourselves properly.

And if we hadn't taken the steps we took to form the WDC and the PDC, I honestly don't believe we'd be watching darts on television today.

Dead, it'd be dead. I think it would be.

ROD: We don't think the blame is all at the BDO.

We're just saying that the problem is darts on TV.

This is the real problem. There's no kidding ourselves.

Without any TV, any sport's finished.

The reason why Alan Yentob binned the darts was, he didn't think it was high enough profile or what the BBC wanted to do.

Absolutely it was a class thing that they took it off.

They didn't want to be involved with it. They thought it was crude.

My dad always identified with unions and with organized labor.

And the workers rather than bosses.

And in this case, the BDO were the bosses, the players were the workers.

He had a lot of respect for Olly Croft and for what he'd done for darts, but he felt the need for control was too great.

One man shouldn't be allowed to have that much control, and he should listen to these players.

We had a meeting in London, and it went from there.

We started off as the Darts Council.

We invited Olly Croft to join us, cos we were just going to be an advisory body to start with.

He listened to us, and I got a two-line letter the next day telling us where to go.

They were the governing body, and the players would do as they're told.

He then called a major meeting in London with all of the BDO delegates there.

We went along, and we were banned, same day.

And that's why in the end, the players and the backers at the time, which were the manufacturers, managers and a few other people, said, "Right, we've had enough."

ERIC: If he'd never done that, the BDO might have won.

Once he stopped every Super League player or normal dart player, playing us in exhibitions, threatening them that he'd ban 'em from Super League and county, that left the door open for us at the court.

We all went to the BBC and it was a Mr Martin, I believe, at the time, who was in charge of the BBC.

And he said, "A plague on all your houses if you don't come to some agreement, and we'll pull it all," and then seven days later they told us that they were going ahead without us.

And that our players wouldn't be invited.

DAN WADDELL: People who were, you know, two years before, drinking and singing together are now at each other's throats.

There was a real simmering discontent that became malevolent and then spread to the surface and infected the whole sport.

ERIC: I'm not being funny, Olly and Lorna were like my second mum and dad.

I had to go against them. But, I mean, it was for the good of darts.

Darts was more important to me than anybody else.

Out of the 14 original, I was the last one to sign on, only cos I got threatened by the BDO directors that if I didn't, if I signed for the WDC as it was then, I'd never throw another dart in the world.

In them days, they didn't threaten me, so I just signed there and then.

I went to every single meeting as the players' representative.

Through the court case, everything.

The BDO solicitors said, "Do you realize, if you lose this court case, we're gonna come for every penny of damages to you.

And then you have got to get all the money that we're gonna sue you for off of everybody else.

Do you think them dart players are gonna back you up then?"

He threatened me across the table.

So I threatened to punch his face in, and I walked out the door.

I said, "I'll see you in court." It was pretty harrowing.

We had tea and toast every morning, didn't we?

Yeah. Yeah.

And they were upstairs, we were downstairs in our barrister's chambers, and they'd admitted guilt.

And they came down. They said they want a hands-off case.

Which meant that whatever it cost us, we weren't gonna get a penny back.

And I said, "We actually haven't won this unless we walk away with some money."

And all the barrister and that said, "No, you do this, you do that."

I said to Eric, "I don't know about you, mate, but we need to walk away with some money."

And we made them go upstairs and get some money, didn't we?

Yeah.

ROD: Sticking together, which, when you look at them 12 people, how we stuck together, I'll never know.

COMMENTATOR: What do you reckon? Best World Championship ever?

We seem to say it every year.

ERIC: Yeah, by far, there's been that many close games.

The only thing missing is a nine darter, and we've had four shots at that.

COMMENTATOR 1: This is one of those tournaments that... That old phrase, "Any outcome is possible."

Incredible.

REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

(CHEERING)

REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

COMMENTATOR '2: His first visit in this leg was 180, followed by another one.

Treble 19.

We're getting another. Double 12.

Yes, Gary Anderson!

A nine-dart leg in the World Championship!

COMMENTATOR 1: It's not easy to do. His rhythm never changed.

The first 180, the second, then the 60, 57, 24.

It is looking just so good.

When you play like that, you know, you don't hear the crowds.

You know, all you see is the dart board. The trebles, the doubles.

Everything's fun.

For me, the zone or whatever you wanna call it is just when everything is working well.

It just happens. It feels like it's a walk in the park.

The little guy on your shoulder is really quiet, and you are in total control of what you're trying to do.

COMMENTATOR '2: He's by far a better player than he's ever been. Two-nil up!

It's a very strange feeling, and you throw your first nine darts or your first 12 darts, and you think, "I could win this."

JAMES: Everything feels right. Your mind feels right. Your body feels right.

You don't hear any of the crowd, you just get on there.

You know things are going in before you even throw them.

You can walk up to a 140 finish, a 144 finish, and you know you're gonna do it.

COMMENTATOR 2: It's three-nil!

I think the zone comes with enjoyment. If you're not enjoying what you do, then it's very easy to get distracted, and you kind of think, well, start thinking about other stuff.

But once you start to perform, and you get into the rhythm of it, you pick up momentum.

It comes on your best games, when you're doing your nine darters, and when you're doing it, your mind is not thinking about anything, bar what's in front of you.

And it's when you're playing well, you just shut off.

It's like as if you're in a little wind tunnel, nothing else exists.

It's ever so weird. It comes now and again.

JAMES: It's, like, surreal.

It's probably like standing back a little bit, maybe.

It's just weird.

The unnecessary brain areas, like prefrontal areas, for cognition and so on, essentially they shut down, which means your motor areas can independently, without any interference, do their job.

And this is when you are in the flow.

You don't hear anything else, you don't see anything else.

You're just completely focused on that one particular task.

PHIL: During that little bubble, what we call little bubble time, it's the best feeling in the world, because you don't feel anything.

It's kind of like a snowball rolling down.

It gets bigger and stronger, and towards the end it's like, wow!

Get out the way of this!

COMMENTATOR 2: We've witnessed one of the greatest semi-final exhibitions of darts ever!

COMMENTATOR 1: Six-nil victory, a demolition job.

BARRY HEARN: I walked into the Circus Tavern in about 1997.

Small venue. Low roof. Low ceiling.

Probably more chewing gum than carpet on the floor.

And I watched six or seven hundred people enjoying the darts.

Having a pint, having a bet, having a pizza. Smiles on their faces.

REFEREE: One hundred and forty! (CHEERING)

This was the day I saw the light, and I remember turning round to Dick Alex, who was then the tournament director, and said, "I can just smell the money."

That's right. And he's very good at that.

(ALL LAUGH)

And all of a sudden, this annoying man called Barry Hearn come along.

And he said, "This is gonna happen." And you think, "Another bullshitter."

And he delivers everything he says he's gonna deliver, every time.

And if it's not as good as he said, it's better.

BARRY: When you start exploiting a sport properly, your first concern is for the players.

One is they must have the opportunity and two, they must have enough money in their pocket to justify giving us what we want, which is world-class sport.

So it can't be a part-time job. It's gotta be a full-time job.

When I promote sports, I really do it in a very selfish way.

I actually promote events that I personally would like to be at.

(CHEERING)

The atmosphere.

Everyone's on the same level. Everyone's drinking.

Everyone is supporting different people, but everyone's got different ways of playing.

Don't know what I'm talking about, but I love the darts.

This is one of the few sports that is not visible to the naked eye.

So you're actually going to the darts and spending most of your time either chatting with your friends or watching the big screen.

And yet, you can still create moments of drama.

COMMENTATOR: Lewis for the set!

Two tops!

It's Lewis two, and Barneveld nil.

Lewis here, throwing for a three-set lead.

REFEREE: Game's on, third set.

COMMENTATOR: This could really hurt.

Adrian Lewis is four sets to nil up against Raymond van Barneveld.

And he's throwing here to make it five sets to nil.

For the set!

(CHEERING)

To get another set on the board!

A 134 from Raymond van Bameveld!

This would be the greatest comeback.

Incredible.

He's got another setback.

JOHN PART: Treble 13. Four, so 17s. Bull. It's a bull to win this.

COMMENTATOR: Sixteen for the bull.

That leaves double nine!

To take his place in the World Championship final!

What a fighter he is, what a fighter. Jesus Christ.

One-nil up, two-nil up, three-nil, four-nil, five-nil.

I thought, "He ain't gonna come back from this now. This is game over now."

No other player in the world would even sniff at that chance, except for Raymond.

Always talk to players all the time about media.

I don't like RTL. Boo! Boo! (LAUGHS)

About presence, about persona.

You need everyone different.

You need someone to have a bit more personality, who can talk good.

Dress up, play good. You did all the mouthy bit with it.

Now, of course you need to be good, cos if you're not good, we won't be seeing you on television, so your character really doesn't matter.

But if you are good enough to be on television, that's your moment.

DAN WADDELL: It's boy scout jamboree with beer.

It used to be 40-year-old blokes to 60-year-olds in cardigans, with a comb over.

Twenty John Player Special, they were your darts crowd.

Now, it's blokes with their wives, girlfriends, mums, dads, thousands of them singing.

Now, darts is an event.

I just think we need to take darts back for the middle classes, to be honest.

We need some tweed!

A lot of today's society is about the bad things that are happening in the world.

And I think this is all about celebrating the good times we can have.

Darts is the perfect place to actually promote that and produce that.

It brings people together. There's no malice.

There's no rivalry. There's a sense of tribalism, but as one.

The great darts world peace argument. Yeah!

In many ways, in modern professional darts, the crowd are almost as much of the show as the players themselves.

We're in a reality television society, so they want to be on the TV.

So, when they perform and they dress up, it gives them a chance to actually perform and be on the television.

To get that ten seconds of fame.

It's this wonderful mixture of excellence on the oche, atmosphere from the crowd, participation of the crowd, recognition by the player.

It's all wrapped into one, as a complete package.

Been one of the most spectacular, unlikely success stories of the past 50 years.

ORCHESTRAL MUSIC: "Ride of the Valkyries."


I can see you hiding in the comer.

I might be blind, but I'm not that blind.

Come on, then, lads, what's keeping you?

Don't you trip on that top stair and break your wrists.

(ALL LAUGH)

They're a bit slippery. I told them to put the grease on this side.

You came up the other side, didn't you? (LAUGHS)

How are you, Gary, lad? Not bad.

I've been here since 12 o'clock. I'm bored.

(LAUGHS) That means you needed the practice, pal.

Not me, sir.

I should know where I'm going by now, but I still get lost.

Gary, we all know you as a cool player.

But how nerve-racking is it to play the finals tonight?

Not at all. I'm not gonna put myself under pressure.

I think I've done really well getting to the final, after lifting the title last year, so to me it's a pat on my back. So now, just enjoy it.

You know, I'm quite happy with what I do with my life, you know I'm happy.

I more or less play darts now for the kids. I've got my three boys.

And what I can put away for them for the future, that's what I play for.

So an extra 150 would be nice.

How do I tell when Aidy's under pressure?

I'll be in the lead.

(LAUGHS)

(LAUGHS)

It's good publicity, though, isn't it, you know?

(BOTH LAUGH)

ADRIAN: Oh, you've gotta look at this.

What is this?

Who set that up?

This is horrible. Don't put it on! (LAUGHS)

(GARY LAUGHS)

Got it round the wrong way anyway, cos I'd have to be the giver.

(BOTH LAUGH)


BARRY HEARN: Adrian, in another life, would be working as, I don't know, a garage mechanic or forklift truck driver.

Nuclear scientist, perhaps not.

Such a lovable character. Such a nice guy.

He had a talent, and he's taken advantage of that natural talent.

There's nothing about Adrian Lewis on the oche or off the oche that is false.

He's a beautifully ordinary young man with extraordinary ability.

(CHEERING)


BARRY HEARN: People buy tickets to watch competitive sport.

Not two mates having a day out.

Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis is a great example of a couple of blokes that are friends.

But there's a line, and once they come, they're professional sportsmen.

Once they cross that line to a competitive arena, they will kill each other.

And quite rightly, too.

COMMENTATOR: Between now and the last dart, there is gonna be some serious drama.

I just want to see an absolutely cracking final.

COMMENTATOR: It was 17 days ago when 72 players arrived at Alexandra Palace, chasing their darting dream.

- Now just two remain. REFEREE: One hundred and forty!

JOHN PART: It's pretty rare that we have two players be so dominant right through the draw and then meet each other.

COMMMENTOR: Adrian Lewis has won the first leg of every single match he's played in this tournament.

And that streak continues.

JOHN PART: Try and level early on.

Unconvincing would be a kind word.

(ECHO) Kind word. Kind word.

COMMENTATOR: And Adrian Lewis has coasted through the first set unexpectedly easily against the world champion.

This only the second time Gary Anderson has trailed in sets.

Double 12.

His favorite double, the one that won him the World Championship.

But Adrian Lewis is right behind you, Gary.

Anderson, though, is looking at tops to finish off the leg.

He finishes it off in some style!

REFEREE: Gary Anderson!

COMMENTATOR: Treble 19 would leave double top.

He was further away with his second dart than he was with his first.

JOHN PART: Gary Anderson made a complete mess of the 76.

COMMENTATOR: One or two slips from Lewis.

Top-notch tungsten from Anderson.

- Now Lewis looking to fight back. REFEREE: One hundred and eighty!

Oh, now, that's made life awkward.

Fifteen left, seven, double four or three, double six. Three it is.

I'm probably the worst counter up there.

You know, it's weird, we've got our set routines for checkouts.

And if you hit something that you're not supposed to hit, that's when it works that way.

COMMENTATOR: Double six.

He's miscounted here.

Look, you're a dart player, you've got to be able to count.

Hi, welcome to our humble abode.

On the left there is Kirk Bevins.

Former Countdown champion and champion of champions, so he really is the Kirkulator, we call him.

He knows all the numbers inside out and everything up and down.

I'm the newest referee. I've been doing it for three years.

I got into darts when I was really young.

Me and my dad and my brothers used to watch it on TV.

And I've always loved numbers.

(SING-SONG VOICE) One hundred and eighty!

At its heart, the mathematics that's involved in darts is basically arithmetic.

You've got adding up, multiplying, doubling, tripling.

But actually, there's a little bit more to it than just arithmetic.

Because dart players are looking for interesting combinations.

And good ways to actually get down to that last double.

The numbers is pattern recognition.

So you get a lot of people that'll go 20, 19, treble 18.

You know that's 93. You don't have to add that up.

And then the key is remembering that set of three darts.

If they go in a different order, so they went 20, treble 18, 19, it's still 93, just thrown in a different order, so you need to recognize that.

I think that we, as humans, are programmed to look for patterns.

That's how we survived in the jungle.

Somehow the chaos of the jungle... If we can spot something with a pattern in it, maybe it's got some symmetry or maybe the ability to count, and see that, you know, our tribe has got fewer members than that tribe, so we need to fly rather than fight.

So ,I think our brain is programmed to get a kind of rush of adrenaline when we see a kind of pattern.

It gets a bit harder if they're going at treble 14, say, and hit a treble nine.

You've actually got to add up 27 to whatever was hit.

Sometimes the player will say, "What's left?"

So you've got to quickly tell them what's left.

And then they'll go bang, treble 18, and you've got to add that back up.

So, there's a lot going on for a referee.

People aren't born with mathematical brains.

You need to train to become a mathematician.

Just as you need to train to be a good dart player.

And I think that's underestimated.

A lot of people just say, "I'm bad at maths, and I can never get better."

No, it's a muscle, and if you exercise it, it gets better.

It makes it easier if you get to learn the player.

Because, for instance, Jelle Klaasen, if he's on 78, he'll go bull for double 14.

So, if he's got one dart left in his hand, I'm already adding on 25 or 50.

Assuming he's going to go for bull and miss and hit a 25.

If I wasn't prepared for that, and I was looking at, say, treble 18, which is the usual route for 78, and he goes bang, 25, I can't add that up to 96 or whatever he's hit with the other two darts.

So you try and buy some time by predicting where they're going to go.

Anybody who spends enough time in this world playing around with numbers can actually achieve great things.

And I think very often for dart players, it's perhaps the lack of nurturing that talent which means that we haven't got these dart players coming and doing doctorates with us in Oxford in maths.

But I believe that they are at the beginning of the journey that could end with them proving some stunning mathematical results.

If I was gonna finish 128, I'd throw a treble 18, treble 18, double ten.

With a single 18, I'd go treble 20, bull.

Uh... 124, I would go for treble 18, tops, tops, but if I miss the treble 18 and I hit a single 18, I would go for 20, treble 20, to leave double 18, because that's my favorite.

Double 16, 25, treble 19, bull.

132.

So the weird thing is, if you set me a challenge, like how to get 97 with three darts, ending on a double, you know, you might say, "Oh my God, he's a professor of maths.

He should be able to do that like this."

But actually I spend so much time just doing kind of abstract pattern-searching, and it's all X and Ys.

Sort of, you know, I don't do arithmetic anymore.

So for me, you know, I'd have to sit down with pen and paper and just try the different combinations out.

Right, 108, many, many ways to go for this.

Some people go for the 60, some for the 54. Sixty is not the way forward.

Cos if you hit a five, you can't finish. If you hit a one, leaves you 107.

Which leaves you 57, bullseye.

If you hit 60, leaves you 48.

Go eight or the 16. to leave tops or the 32.

The best way to go is the 54.

That way, you hit the 54. Leaves 18, double 18.

Or you can go 54, 14 tops.

If you hit an 18, that leaves you 96.

You go 60, 36. That's how you take out 108.

REFEREE: Gary, you require 86.

COMMENTATOR: He's not going to go bull, is he?

He went for the double 18 there, didn't he?

He's busted it! That's a miscount again.

The miscounts are adding up here for Gary Anderson.

What a bizarre leg of darts.

Another. Double 12!

Oh, no, no, no!

One.

Double 12.

Gary Anderson, whilst the man is five-three up, really has got to think about this.

Sixteen.

Tops.

Beautiful.

He misses.

A chance for a break now.

The max for a 14th time, Adrian Lewis.

Magnificent and that was stunning! The drama of it all!

Five-four now.

Seventeen.

For tops.

With 108 finish.

He leads by six sets to four.

The world champion Gary Anderson is now just one set away from keeping the crown.

Sixteen.

Tops.

Beautiful.

Nice opportunity for Adrian Lewis to just flow, hit tops and win the set.

Six-five!

And this is the biggie.

This is a bruising battle.

That's number 31 in this match.

So Lewis, looking here for an 11-dart leg against the throw to get the kettle boiling.

Double 16.

Why did he pick that?

That's why he picked it! Adrian Lewis is on fire!

Lewis has gone berserk in the last four legs.

If it had been six-six in sets, I wouldn't have looked forward to the last set.

COMMENTATOR: That leaves the big fish again for Gary Anderson.

If he does reel it in this time, he'll be a leg away from the world title.

sixty-. sixty-.

Bullseye.

I am absolutely gobsmacked!

Gary Anderson has taken out the biggest fish of all.

One-seventy came at a good time, I think, people have told me, but when you're in a game you're thinking about other things.

Couldn't tell you what set it was. What leg it was.

COMMENTATOR: One hundred and seventy.

He moves within one leg of retaining the world crown.

That is the 34th maximum of the match. The 170, backed up by the 180.

There has never been a darts match with more 180s than that.

Gary Anderson will return for his favorite double, the one he won the World Championship last year.

And Gary Anderson is still the king at the palace!

(CHEERING)

The Flying Scotsman goes back to back and retains his world title, in the most dramatic fashion!

He's gone and done it again, Gary Anderson.

In a record-breaking match. You've never seen this many 180s.

The 170 finish did the trick.

And Gary Anderson is still on top of the darting world.

REFEREE: Gary Anderson!

CROWD SINGS: # Oh, Gary, Gary #.

# Gary, Gary, Gary Anderson #.

# Oh, Gary, Gary #.

# Gary, Gary, Gary Anderson #.

# Oh, Gary, Gary #.


If there was anybody who could do it, it was you, son.

Well done, mate.

You cannot slag me for the next 12 months. I've had it for four years!

Listen, open his place in the Palace. Next year, he's retiring!

(BOTH LAUGH)

Well done.

(APPLAUSE)


BARRY HEARN: How do you make that quantum leap into the professional game to actually start getting experience of darts and to see if they have a natural ability to progress to the next level?

I looked at golf. I thought golfs system worked well.

Having a structure down the tiers of sport, equal opportunity.

We call it Q score. Qualification score.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

MAN: We introduced qualifying score back in 2011.

It was a way that, as the sport continued to grow, we were able to produce the pro tour of 128 full-time tour professionals.

We have four days of play.

So each day, we have an open draw at the start of the day, and that plays down to the last four.

Those four players on that day win a tour card automatically.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

My name's Adam Hunt. I'm 22. I'm from Chester-h Street.

And I play darts.

My name is Diogo Portela. I'm 27 years old.

I'm originally from Rio, in Brazil.

My name's Lewis Cowes-Cracknell. I'm 16 years old.

From Canada originally, I'm a permanent firefighter from the city of Phoenix.

Nickname Menace to Society. Day job, I'm a taxi driver.

Played rugby league many moons ago now, for Widnes rugby league.

And I'm a glass manager where we make glass and mirrors, et cetera.

Me and my brother, my brother would stand on this wall, and we would throw darts around each other.

That's how I started playing darts.

My dad used to be a really good player in Brazil.

And he founded the first Brazilian Association of Darts.

It's run in my family, really. My granddad played, my dad played.

I'm here to try and change my life, to be honest.

Cos I know that if you qualify and get the tour card now, you change your life.

That tour card is your Willy Wonka golden ticket.

Once you've got a tour card, it unlocks the door.

That's the aspirational level for young players and players around the world.

To be given a chance to see: Are you good enough?

Today you've got over 400 people here, and there's only a couple of places up for grabs.

And it is really a tough tournament.

DAVE ALLEN: It's getting more competitive every year.

We're hearing of players hitting over 100 average in their matches.

Just went out after the board final. So, it's tough. It really is tough.

Just won my first tour card, which is a great feeling.

My first attempt at Q skill, and it feels brilliant.

Yes! It's absolutely a massive relief, cos I've played on tour last year, and dropped out the top six before, and now I've just got back in through winning a tour card today, on the first day of the Q skill.

It means everything to get my tour card, cos I've had it for two years.

And I lost it, didn't put enough effort in, and to get it back... I didn't expect it, so yeah, over the moon.

MAN: I had a conversation a couple of years back, and I said back then it was my aim to break into the top 50 in the world.

But I wasn't ready.

Now I'm a better player than what I was back then, and I'm ready.

Once you get your tour card, now the dream becomes a reality, but the work just begins.

Now you have to dedicate your life.

This is six, seven hours a day, constant practicing.

Repetition sport, hand-eye coordination.

Hopefully living right, keeping your brain fresh.

It's not who you know, it's not how much money you've got, it's not where you come from, it's purely about sporting ability.

You don't have to buy expensive equipment, you just need time, patience and dedication.

And then you will succeed.

(CHEERING)