GEORGE is without
doubt the most colourful, charismatic and entertaining player
in the history of darts. But what makes him so special is
that he didn't pick up a dart until he was 30 years of age!
However, he might have been a late starter but it didn't diminish
his ability to dazzle all that came before him. Indeed, he
literally burst onto the professional darts scene in the late
1970's with a natural flair and ability to enhance his larger-than-life
In 1976 he won the very first singles event he entered
the Hainault Super League Singles, and soon became the dominant
force in the Eastern Counties by winning the Essex Masters
three years in succession.
Never one to do things by half he reached the Quarter- Finals
of the Winmau World Masters in 1977, and won his first major
title, the North American Open in 1978.
1979 was to be the year that Bobby George announced that he
had arrived as a world-class player, with an incredible victory
in the famous News Of The World Championship.
There had never been a more impressive victory before or since,
as he became the first and only player to win the title without
dropping one single leg of darts! His best of 3-leg televised
victories from the Quarter-Finals onwards took him just 93
darts in total (an average of 97) to establish him as a true
To prove the point, he beat Leighton Rees, the very first
Embassy World Champion in 1978, in the final of the 1979 Butlins
Grand Masters. A year later, he successfully defended the
prestigious title with a win in the final against Bill Lennard.
the supreme master of the spotlight, Bobby secured his place
as the People's Champion in the 1980 Embassy World Championship.
Seen by millions on BBC Television, his good looks, cheeky
grin and wonderful ability as a darts player immediately established
him as an outstanding character. He beat Dave Whitcombe, Leighton
Rees and Cliff Lazarenko to produce an epic 1980 final against
In what is still regarded as one of the greatest darts matches
of all time, Bobby made his first ever entrance with sequinned
shirt and candelabra. He became the Liberace of televised
darts and was in a winning position until an uncharacteristic
loose dart handed the title to Bristow.
Bobby had won the hearts and minds of the darting public,
and went on to reach the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final in the
following two Embassy's. This included an unbelievable second-round
win in 1982, when in the deciding leg against Doug McCarthy,
Bobby needed 161 as McCarthy sat on 40. He produced one of
the most incredible match winning game shots ever seen in
the Embassy t20, t17, Bull and went on to meet
John Lowe in another classic Semi-Final.
1981 saw Bobby collapse during the British Professionals in
Middlesborough. His spleen burst and he nearly bled to death!!
- He spent five weeks at Middlesborough Hospital - but he
still managed to get to the 1982 Embassy!
There were two other memorable matches against Eric Bristow.
Bobby lost to him in the World Masters Semi-Final in 1979,
but was victorious in 1982 when he won the WDF Europe Cup
Singles title as an integral part of England's winning team.
the years, Bobby has represented England on 26 occasions and
remains in the list of all-time Top 10 winning players for
In 1985, against all the odds, he beat newly crowned British
Professional and World No.3 Mike Gregory in the First Round
of the Embassy.
was a regular in the latter stages of many major tournaments
and Internationals, and was once again proudly crowned News
Of The World Champion in 1986.
It was at about this time in his career that Bobby faced an
important choice to continue tournament darts or to
turn his attention to darts exhibitions? In the end, he made
his decision to concentrate on exhibitions 'fun darts'
as he has always called it - based on his personal circumstances
and not his form.
believe that Bobby would have become one of the greatest tournament
players of all time had he carried on, and ironically the
decline in televised darts coincided with his absence from
the major events. Undoubtedly, the loss of a huge character
like him was a significant blow to the popularity of darts.
Typically, when he decided to return to competitive darts
in the early 1990's, he did so with considerable style, panache
and success! He entered the qualifiers for the 1993 Embassy
World Professional and came through the tough International
Play-Offs to make it to the famous Lakeside stage with some
beat No.7 Seed Keith Sullivan 3-1 in the First Round, and
then Welshman Martin Phillips 3-0 in the Second Round, before
meeting No.2 Seed Mike Gregory in the Quarter-Final.
beat him 4-2 before going on to play yet another classic against
eventual champion John Lowe in the Semi-Final. The score was
5-3 to Lowe, but Bobby missed a couple of crucial doubles
that would probably have taken him to the title instead of
the infamous 'split' came in 1994, Bobby carried the extra
burden of being the only 'darts legend' to contest that year's
Embassy. The others had unceremoniously turned their backs
on the Championship that had made their names but Bobby
remained fiercely loyal and played brilliant darts despite
a serious back injury caused in his match against Kevin Kenny.
His Semi-Final against Sweden's Magnus Caris could only go
ahead following urgent manipulation of his damaged spine,
and Bobby looked out of it at 4-2 down. But, he had other
ideas and won a remarkable 9 legs without reply from the hapless
faced his second Embassy World Final wearing a steel corset
to hold him upright. In truth, he went against doctor's orders
to play Canadian John Part and, on ability, should have won
outscored Part in practically every game they played, but
because of the his considerable pain and lack of mobility,
he simply could not hit the doubles. Bobby was miles ahead
in most of the legs but could not hold still enough to hit
his doubles! Incredibly Bobby went to check-out 49 timesand
succeeded in only 5!! Inconsistency had nothing to do with
it! as some top pro. said at the time.
he took defeat with dignity and presented Part with a cake
afterwards. He even made a little bit of history! It transpired
that 14 years after playing his very first Embassy, Bobby
had become the oldest player to reach the final at 48!
few weeks after that final, it was found that he had literally
broken his back and had to have 8 titanium screws inserted
into the base of his spine just so that he could stand upright!
Not that it deterred him from returning to the Championship
he loves most of all. Indeed, from 1995 onwards, Bobby established
himself as the undisputed 'King Of The Qualifiers' by returning
to Lakeside in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002 through the tough
was in 1999 that Bobby took another change in direction by
becoming a BBC TV presenter at the Embassy. Such was his success
that he has been a much respected studio pundit at every Embassy
since then. Today, he co-presents each Embassy with Ray Stubbs
(he has also done so with John Inverdale) and is known as
the BBC's 'face of darts'.
the playing front, his performances in the new Millennium
have shown that he remains a true class act on the oche. He
beat top PDC player Dennis Ovens before taking Ronnie Baxter
to the wire in the 2000 Embassy. Then in 2002, he played Dutch
superstar Raymond Barneveld in yet another classic Embassy
match. It was his 15th Embassy appearance, making him equal
3rd with the legendary Jocky Wilson, in the all-time list
of Embassy participants.
In 2002 he was asked to present and appear in the most comprehensive
darts video of all-time: 'The Story Of Darts' produced for
High Street retail giants W H Smith and sponsored by the Sunday
of the video was filmed at George Hall, Bobby's country estate
in Essex, and his acting ability has led to two film roles
that are to be seen in 2003. He is playing London gangster
Tony 'Butcher' Barton in the British film 'Dog', and will
play himself in yet another British film 'Poison Arrows'.
latter has an all-star cast, including Ralf Little from TV's
'The Royle Family', comedian Harry Hill and Starsky &
Hutch legend David Soul. Three-quarters of its content will
be filmed at Lakeside during the 2003 Embassy.
from darts, Bobby is happily married to Marie and lives with
their two sons, Robert and Richard in the 18-bedroom George
Hall, which he built himself.
Hall has three fishing
lakes which are open to the public and available for corporate