It was tragic news from Albert Square regarding the untimely demise of Pat Butcher but how nice of the BDO World Darts Championship (or the not very good one, as it’s better known) to pay its own personal tribute to Eastenders’ femme fatale.
In a toe-curling opening exchange, Colin Murray turned up like a long lost Wicksy to greet Bobby George in a top that big Pat wouldn’t have been seen dead in. Or maybe not.
Colin began: “As much a tradition in British living rooms as a cup of tea or an episode of Eastenders, it just wouldn’t be the same without a man who dresses down for Mardi Gras — Bobby ‘The Dazzler’ George”, now resplendent in one of Pat’s electric blue numbers.
And then a chilling howl not heard since Mike Reid turned up wearing just a revolving bow tie, as Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams started the defence of his title against Scott Mitchell.
“It’s a suited and booted Rob Walker with the Mitchell family,” Colin added, and hope sprang eternal as the camera cut to the Beeb’s most annoying man but sadly Phil and Grant were nowhere to be seen.
Peggy would have put up more of a fight on the oche as ‘the Scotty dog has been neutered’ said Colin, but at least things could only get better. Wrong.
Next up was one of the tournament favourites, Tony O’Shea against Steve West and we got off to a cracking start with a 27-dart opening leg. I half expected Jim Bowen to trail Tony Green out of the commentary box to help him onto the stage with a caravan but sadly not.
In this heavyweight world there was some light relief in the shape of a new referee in Marco Meijer, a young Dutchman with a very strange accent, but then again my Dutch isn’t red-hot so who am I to criticise?
“Well, he’ll know his doubles,” sniggered Green but it’s as orange as Sammy Wilson’s Y-fronts at the darts these days, everyone seeming to hail from the Netherlands, as opposed to the nether regions, which is an altogether different clogful of herrings.
Still, there was time for Tony West to restore family honour by losing to a Belgian. A Belgian? What is happening to darts? Back in the day, this was the preserve of the anglo-celt, when men were men and women made the tea.
As was shown on ESPN Classic’s Bellies and Bullseyes during the week with John Lowe’s victory over Eric Bristow, the Crafty Cockney, armed with four projectiles — three of tungsten and one of tobacco - as he took the Embassy World Championship a tad too literally. But maybe we just have to accept that, like the darting brothers, the game has gone west, and there’s just no room for eastenders like Bobby, Eric and big Pat anymore.