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We Had Some Laughs: My dad, the darts and me By Dan Waddell

Release date: 20th May, 2016
Publisher: Bantam

List Price: 16.99
Our Price: 11.89
You Save: 5.1 (30%)
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Prior to 1972 and the inaugural screening of ITV’s The Indoor League, Sid Waddell was a name known only to alert viewers who spotted it as a programme’s credits rolled. At the time, he was a producer at Tyne Tees TV, but The Indoor League, hosted by a pint-quaffing Fred Trueman who introduced contestants engaged in pub games such as bar billiards, arm-wrestling, shove ha’penny and, most significantly, darts, would propel Sid to super-stardom.

So popular was The Indoor League that a few years later, the BBC concluded that darts could be ignored no longer and Sid became the sport’s inimitable voice. The game’s unique lexicon was about to expand at a striking pace, for which Sid takes every ounce of credit.

He became as famous for his darts knowledge as for his broad Geordie accent, winning a scholarship to Cambridge and his wonderful turn of phrase.

Observations such as: "This game of darts is twisting like a rattlesnake with a hernia," was supplemented with well-planned lines like, “There's no one quicker than these two tungsten tossers,” and a personal favourite, “Even Hypotenuse would have trouble working out these angles.”

We Had Some Laughs, written by Sid’s son Dan, an accomplished novelist and journalist, is a well-written, often extremely funny biography. It must be difficult to write about your father, of whom Waddell junior was clearly very fond, without making him sound like some form of god on earth, but such is his son’s sureness of touch that the book is less a paean to a fatherly wordsmith and more of a social history.

It means that Waddell can celebrate the family and the North’s different ways of doing things by employing great tracts of humour, ever-mindful of the accompanying industrial decline and that of once thriving pubs. By doing so, this becomes more than a book about darts or a the much-loved Sid Waddell which makes it a compelling read for all.

None the less, Sid Waddell features prominently in darts’ recent history and, with men such as Phil Taylor and Eric Bristow, is largely responsible for the game’s unlikely revival, especially since the game was picked up – and spruced up – by Sky Sports. Here, Sid was in his element, firing off seemingly spontaneous (but undoubtedly well-rehearsed) lines such as “This lad has more checkouts than Tescos," and “His eyes are bulging like the belly of a hungry chaffinch.” Brilliant.

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