By Phil Lanning
LEGENDARY Sky Sports anchorman Dave Clark admits that seeing new presenters of darts feels like watching “another man smooching with my wife”.
Clarky stepped down from his role a year ago as the effects of living and working with Parkinson’s Disease was becoming too much.
Now the hugely-popular telly star is returning to the limelight to present his own ‘Stand Up If You Love The Darts’ podcast with top guests lined-up including ex-Soccer AM host Helen Chamberlain which comes out in a week (May 20).
But Clark admits it’s been tough to watch the arrows since hanging up his mic a year ago and new presenters filling his shoes. He revealed: “It’s hard to see darts now. It’s like watching your wife smooching with another man live on TV. I’m just weaning myself back on to it now, it took a while for me to watch it.
“It will be nice to do the podcast. Because of Covid I never got a chance to say goodbye to my work colleagues of over 20 years.
“It was quite weird because the last darts I did was on stage in Liverpool in March last year and I didn’t realise that would be the last show I’d do.
“I’d got it in my mind I wasn’t too far off the end. But I thought I’d get through the Premier League and be OK and then Covid struck.
“I was doing darts for 20 years, the first World Championship I did was 2001 and the last 10 years with Parkinson’s.
“The podcast is a nice way of talking to people about the journey, a few good stories. I’m going to do six with one a week to start with and I might do a new series, I’ll see. I’ve got a studio at home now.
“Helen Chamberlain has done the first one, I recorded that this morning. She was brilliant. We have history in the sport together because she did the interviews in Bolton and Blackpool. It was a really good laugh.
“We are going to talk about various issues over the years and current stuff.
“I’ve done one with the producer of darts Rory Hopkins. No one has ever spoken to him yet he’s the most influential man in darts over the years you’ve never heard of.
“He came up with Michael van Gerwen’s walk-on tune, that White Stripes song changed Michael’s life. It was Rory’s decision to use Chase The Sun which was ear worm for two decades. Everywhere you went everyone sung that tune.
“Rory also put the thunderclaps in Phil Taylor’s I’ve Got The Power walk-on. Incredible influence over iconic parts of the sport.
“I’ve also talked to Sid Waddell’s son Dan talking about his partnership with Dave Lanning. It’s just great stories from people I’ve met on this incredible darting journey. Undoubtedly the best years of my life.”
Ironically Clark is still the last presenter to work in front of a crowd for the Premier League before fans return on May 24 in Milton Keynes.
He added: “It’s a different skill presenting in front of a 10,000 crowd. You are doing the show for people at home on telly and people in the auditorium, you’ve got to get the mix right.
“I remember being in Dublin and the sound wave was so loud, so powerful I could see Wayne Mardle’s shirt moving. There was no wind, it was just the sheer effect of the noise hitting him.
“I went to university in Glasgow and gigs at the SECC as a student. Then I returned years later to present darts on stage and someone dressed as a banana tried to rugby tackle me. Thankfully he never got to me!
“We went from a humble club on the A13 in London to selling out arenas in Berlin and Rotterdam and standing in front of 15,000 people doing my thing.
“The growth of darts over those years was absolutely phenomenal. I rode that big wave with everyone, it was incredible.
“Sid Waddell was amazing, Phil Taylor’s rise and then Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen coming along to rival him. Barry Hearn and his team taking the sport to the next level and the bigger venues. It made darts rock and roll.
“It became a cross between the Munich Beer Festival and the best fancy dress party you’d ever been to.”
Clark is still passionate about raising awareness for Parkinson’s Disease and has raised over £500,000 for charities.
He added: “Covid has proved what can be achieved by scientists when you throw money at something. Parkinson’s needs the same and I will always keep going to push for progress.”
Learn more about Parkinson’s UK through www.parkinsons.org.uk.
To listen to the podcast follow Dave Clark on Twitter through @DaveClarkTV
Images by Taylor Lanning.