Tony Green: A Much Loved Voice of Darts

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If Jim Bowen was the face of Bullseye, Tony Green, who has died aged 85, was the voice.

Originally a player for Lancashire, Green soon found his talents best suited to talking about and officiating the game. His recruitment as Bullseye’s announcer and referee was a masterstroke from the show’s producers.

There was always a steadying calm to Tony’s reassurances, reminding competitors to relax and take their time.

“Now, listen to Tony” intoned Jim Bowen to the nerve ridden contestants every week.

Tony Green (3rd from the left) with Leighton Rees, Steve Beaton and Jim Bowen

By the time the show reached its pomp, the pair were effectively ‘co-hosts’ on a par, a fair and fitting title to a man who brought so much to the programme.

Even more impressive than his decade-plus stint as one of the most recognisable faces of primetime television was his near four-decade tenure as commentator.

Behind the mic for 38 of the first 39 BDO World Championships, missing only one due to illness, he steered the BBC coverage throughout its heyday as well as the more acrimonious years of the split. When his pal and commentating colleague Sid Waddell decided to depart the BBC for Sky’s PDC World Championship, he remained, striking up a fantastic partnership with John Part, David Croft and the many great voices that followed.

His many years in the commentary booth naturally saw him give his deep and husky tones to some of the game’s great moments. That included legendary champions Rees, Lowe, Bristow and Wilson et. al. as well as the later generation including Beaton, Barney and Burnett and, of course, Paul Lim’s 9 darter against Jack McKenna in 1990, which remained the sole perfect leg at the BDO Worlds for its entire existence. Green’s passion when the winning dart goes in says much of his sheer love for the sport, a love which was always ably translated to viewers watching at home.

Given the extent of his involvement in the BDO, there was a sense in which the game moved away from Tony, his voice on continuing Lakeside championships a painful reminder of halcyon if perhaps bygone days.

Yet, he remained a pivotal and important commentator right up until his retirement in 2016. In fact, the event felt very different without him in subsequent years, as if one of the binding elements of its identity had been finally uprooted.

Green may have passed, but his words, enthusiasm and love for the game have left an indelible mark on the minds of TV viewers and darts fans forever.

—–Ends—–

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