In Heart of Dartness, TV's Ned Boulting sets out to answer the forty-something year old question: What, exactly is darts?
Is it a sport, a freak show, a side-show, a pantomime, a riot or a party?From Purfleet to Minehead, Milton Keynes to Frankfurt, Ned embarks on a journey back to the beginning of the modern game.
He tracks down some of the household names who graced childhood television screens and are still among us; names such as Andy Fordham, whose fifty bottles of Pils a day habit led to his near death on the oche, Cliff Lazarenko, whose prodigious drinking was the stuff of legend even among his not exactly abstemious peer-group, Phil Taylor, the greatest of all time, as well as the Europeans, Michael van Gerwen, and Raymond van Barneveld. Is it entertainment, or exploitation? To answer that question, as well as every other, he learns that all roads lead to the Heart of Dartness, and the biggest character the game has ever produced, Eric Bristow. Perhaps darts is after all, just exactly what it sets out to be; an anti-sport sport, a two-fingered salute to the establishment, a piss-up in a brewery, the ultimate escape.
The best night out.