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The Voice of Darts - remembering Sid Waddell

Late on Saturday evening, darts lost its' most colourful character. Sid Waddell leaves a void that can never be filled; we look back at the legacy he leaves on the sport.

After more than a year of battling against bowel cancer, Sid passed away peacefully with all his family around him. The news rocked not just the world of darts, but the world as a whole.

Sid's unmistakeable tones and witty one-liners behind the microphone as a darts commentator became synonymous with the sport and made him one of the most loved broadcasters across the last six decades.

His antics in the commentary box may have led to him being regarded as one of the craziest voices on television, but Sid was no fool.

He graduated from Cambridge University with a 2:1 degree in Modern History, but remained loyal to his working class roots of wartime Northumberland. Little did he know when starting up the inter-college darts competition how far he would witness the sport progress in his lifetime.

Upon moving into the world of broadcast media working for Yorkshire Television in 1968, Sid pioneered the concept of the Indoor League, a program which featured various pub games including darts.

It was the Indoor League which brought the then pub past time onto screens in homes around the country, popularising the game for the first time.

Ten years later came the first World Professional Darts Championship in Nottingham in 1978, an event Sid would cover for the BBC until 1994. He guided audiences through historic moments across darts' 80s and 90s boom, including Keith Deller's first title, the Bristow/Wilson rivalry and the emergence of a certain Phil Taylor.

Sid's talent however lay not just with darts, but with writing too. He penned ten episodes of a successful children's television series, Jossy's Giants in 1986. He was also the writer of two series of another children's show Sloggers, as well as Waddell’s World in which he was a butler to a posh Tweeddale family, a caravanner and on the dole.

The turning point in his broadcasting career undoubtedly came following the infamous darting split in 1994, one which saw 16 players form a breakaway organisation now known as the PDC, the organisation responsible for darts now becoming the UK's biggest indoor sport.

His Sky Sports debut came at the World Matchplay that same year and as darts grew bigger and better year on year, he never looked back, establishing himself as an ever-present of their coverage for 17 years.

In that time Sid was on hand to guide us through all of the PDC's most memorable moments - the first ever televised nine dart finish, the epic 2007 world final, the move to Ally Pally and Phil Taylor's two nine darters in one match, to name a few.

Despite not being a skilled thrower himself, Sid earned the respect of the players, fans and colleagues alike as a result of his unrivalled passion and lust for the game which shone through across every match he uniquely covered. Notably, he was at the centre of the campaign to make darts an official sport in 2005, a campaign which succeeded.

He was present for all of darts highs and lows and was hugely influential in bringing darts into the 21st century - from a pub past time to the global phenomenon it is today.

The abundance of tributes paid in recent days are testament to his popularity and Sid's legacy will live on across generations.

The idea of re-naming dart's ultimate accolade - the World Championship trophy - in his name is a distinct possibility. He will forever be known as 'The Voice of Darts'.

Rest in peace Sid.

Here is a pick of Sid's finest moments...

1) Sid goes crazy as Phil Taylor hits two nine darters in the same match



2) Sid interrupts Phil Taylor midway through potentially the first ever nine nine dart finish on TV.

3) Sid talks about his love for darts

Here is our selection of his greatest one-liners...

“Keith Deller is like Long John Silver – he’s badly in need of another leg.”
"There's only one word for that: magic darts!"
"William Tell could take an apple off your head...Taylor could take out a processed pea."
“As they say at the DHSS, we’re getting the full benefit here.”
“The players are under so much duress, it’s like duressic park out there!
“The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in, with a portion of chips... you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them.”
"When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer... Bristow's only 27."
"Phil Taylor's got the consistency of a planet... and he's in a darts orbit!"
“That was like throwing three pickled onions into a thimble!”
"It's like Dracula getting out of his grave and asking for a few chips with his steak."
"This game of darts is twisting like a rattlesnake with a hernia!"
"Keith Deller's not just an underdog, he's an underpuppy!"
"This lad has more checkouts than Tescos."
"Cliff Lazarenko's idea of exercise is a firm press on a soda siphon."
"Jocky Wilson, what an athlete."
"I've had oatcakes from Stoke, I've had water from the Tyne, but tungsten is my favourite wine."
"Eric's chops covered in lipstick like he'd been mugged by an Avon lady"
"He's sweating like a swamp donkey!"
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The Voice of Darts - remembering Sid Waddell

Late on Saturday evening, darts lost its' most colourful character. Sid Waddell leaves a void that can never be filled; we look back at the legacy he leaves on the sport.

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