Dave South column: Coverage of the new event was top notch from the BBC

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The BBC’s coverage of the inaugural Champions League of Darts began on Saturday afternoon and it immediately came across to me that viewers of the BBC’s BDO tournaments over the years may never have seen PDC tournaments before, and it looks like the BBC were not taking any chances.

We went to the drawing board with Paul Nicholson, Alan Warriner-Little, Mark Webster and Dan Dawson explaining the rules of the game in their respective segments.

In my opinion, the guys covered this well as it may have been assumed that viewers had little or no knowledge of the sport.

We even got a demonstration from Dawson and Caroline Barker regarding the walk on, with the former describing the emotions and feelings that go through a player’s mind at the walk on setting before their music hits.

My view on the above is that PDC and BBC creative handled this excellently, although experienced viewers may have questioned in their mind: I do not need to hear this!

How did the commentary team get on initially? Co-commentators Nicholson in the studio clearly taking the lead as the expert, with Webster chipping in with comments as the show kicked off.

Those that have heard the familiar voice of Warriner-Little on ITV were not disappointed with his great talking skills.

There are no issues that Dawson and the very experienced Warriner-Little could take the lead, with the inclusion of Vassos Alexander.

My only issue was that I felt Dawson and Warriner-Little were not utilised enough as the darting experts, with the BBC opting for Webster and Nicholson to assist Jason Mohammed in the studio for the majority of the event for analysis and post match co-interviewing with the players between games.

‘Did the interval music of ‘Hey Baby’ remind you of Tony O’Shea?’

I enjoyed the aspect that players came into the studio, something we see at events on Sky Sports, particularly the World Championship.

Was the roving reporter Barker one too many staff for the event? I do not think so, as I felt Barker’s involvement broke up the coverage away from the oche to the studio and so forth.

I did think the BBC was over generous with their staffing allocation at the event but again at their debut event had this well planned.

I must admit, did you think the interval music of ‘Hey Baby’ by DJ Otzi reminded you too much of Tony O’Shea?

Those familiar to Sky are used to Planet Funk’s ‘Chase the Sun’, so expect any future BBC darts tournaments to adopt this song again as a safe choice.

Some may argue that a certain Chris Mason should have pocketed the gig of commentary, being vastly experienced in his punditry and expertise of the sport, and I agree Mace should have been given the nod on his commentary competence.

Although on balance I can argue Warriner-Little and Mason together on a BBC event may have again been dissected by BBC bosses as it sounding too much like ITV’s coverage?

Possible and probable! I do enjoy the coverage from Mason, who did an excellent job at the BDO World Trophy on Dave back in May.

It might have been it was Alan or Chris, not both! Overall though, Nicholson, Webster, Dawson and Warriner-Little did an excellent job over the two day event, and in my view it was a good success overall.


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