THE man who was affectionately known as ‘the voice of darts’ has died aged 72.
Raised in Lynemouth and a pupil of Morpeth Grammar School, commentator and writer Sid Waddell was diagnosed with bowel cancer in September last year.
He commentated on darts for more than 30 years and his colourful and excitable style combined with his linguistic capabilities captured the imagination of the viewing public as he helped the sport to attract a new audience.
Mr Waddell died peacefully with all his family around him late on Saturday night.
Tributes have been pouring in from players, colleagues and the village where he grew up.
Coun Milburn Douglas, Lynemouth ward member for Northumberland County Council, said: “Sid was renowned for his wit as a commentator and a lot of people will miss hearing his voice.
“He always remembered where he came from and will be a big miss in the community. It reminds us that life is very dear to us all.
“He was a very intelligent man and showed that people from mining areas can go on to achieve great things.”
Born in Alnwick in 1940, Mr Waddell gained a scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge, and read modern history.
After leaving university he joined Yorkshire Television and his Indoor League creation, which showed a range of indoor sports and games, brought darts to television for the first time
He moved to the BBC in 1978 to commentate on the new World Professional Darts Championships. Sixteen years of success saw him then become the face and voice of Sky Sports’ darts coverage.
His classic lines included the following: “There’s only one word for it – ‘magic darts’.”
“If we’d had Phil Taylor at Hastings against the Normans, they’d have gone home.”
“This lad has more checkouts than Tescos.”
Away from the oche, Mr Waddell had 11 books published and wrote the sport-based BBC children’s programmes Jossy’s Giants and Sloggers, receiving a Screenwriter’s Guild nomination for best scriptwriter for the latter.