Tony Green, voice of BBC darts and scorer on Bullseye known for his triumphant ‘180!’ – obituary

Tony Green in 1985 on ITV's darts-themed game show Bullseye, which drew audiences of over 19 million at its peak
Tony Green in 1985 on ITV's darts-themed game show Bullseye, which drew audiences of over 19 million at its peak - ITV/Shutterstock

Tony Green, who has died aged 85, was for many years the voice of darts, commentating on the game for the BBC from 1978 to 2016 and appearing as scorer and announcer on Jim Bowen’s darts-themed game show Bullseye on ITV from 1982 to 1995.

Green’s triumphant cry, “One-Hundred-and-Eighteeee”, celebrating the perfect three-dart score, was cherished by fans of the sport as well as those who might have chanced across darts while channel-hopping.

Bowen introduced him as Mr One-Hundred-and-Eighty when he first joined Bullseye, where Green soon acquired new catchphrases – “That’s the Bullseye!”, “In one!” and “Bully’s special prize!”

Anthony John Green was born on January 29 1939 in Kingston-upon-Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. His father was a great darts fan and in a 2001 interview with The Express on Sunday, Green recalled playing him at darts against a shed door in the backyard, then heading down to the pub to play in the local league.

As a youngster he played football and cricket for St Charles’ Roman Catholic School, Hull, and was wicketkeeper for Yorkshire Colts. Aged 15 he started training with Hull Kingston Rovers rugby league club at Craven Park, playing one match for the A team as a hooker against Batley Bulldogs. After leaving school he joined the Navy which he represented at football, cricket and rugby.

He returned to darts after leaving the Navy, playing for money in pubs around Manchester. While playing for the Lancashire county team he became friends with Nick Hunter, then head of sport at BBC Manchester, who invited him to be an adviser for a pilot darts show.

Tony Green with Bullseye host Jim Bowen in 1985
Tony Green with Bullseye host Jim Bowen in 1985 - Shutterstock

Green went on to front the BBC’s coverage of darts, for many years alongside Sid Waddell, from the first British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Championship in Nottingham in 1978 until the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships in 2016.

He welcomed the change from the days when players were sustained by pints of lager and cigarettes to a new era of players fortified by Perrier water. “To be honest, I’ve seen Jocky Wilson fall down on stage, and that’s not on when you’ve got young kids at home watching on TV,” Green explained in 1994. “Now we’re seeing bachelors of science, bank managers and paramedics vying for world titles. There’s no drinking, no smoking, and what a difference it makes.”

One of Green’s most famous pieces of commentary was in 1990 when Paul Lim became the first player to hit a perfect nine-dart finish during his second round match against Jack McKenna at the Embassy World Darts Championship. “Yes, it’s there!” an ecstatic Green screamed as the historic double 12 went in.

Tony Green with Jim Bowen on Bullseye in 1985
Tony Green with Jim Bowen on Bullseye in 1985 - Shutterstock

Green was originally invited to come on Bullseye by Jim Bowen as a pro player for charity: “Jim was racking his brains trying to count the scores I was throwing and I was quite handy at arithmetic, so I told Jim I would count the scores for him.”

But the producer Peter Harris asked him to join Bowen as a scorer-cum-commentator, ramping up the tension with his husky Yorkshire burr as contestants threw their darts.

“I knew what the players were thinking when they hit a high score,” Green explained, “so I just said what they were feeling inside.”

Bullseye went on to become a huge hit, attracting 19.8 million viewers at its peak. “I got fan mail from all over the world,” Green recalled.

The original series came off air in 1995, but Green appeared in several later one-off specials, as well as its 2006 revival with Dave Spikey.

In his capacity as a BDO official, Green expressed anger when in 1992 two managers branched off and formed what became the Professional Darts Corporation with 16 players who felt underpaid by the BDO, claiming the move was motivated by “greed”. He served for a time as chairman of the International Darts Players’ Association, representing those who had chosen to remain with the BDO.

Tony Green, born January 29 1939, died March 4 2024