Writer celebrates becoming Dr Darts

AN Essex writer has finally become the real “Dr Darts” after gaining a top academic qualification for his work examining the growth in popularity of the pub game.

By Roddy Ashworth

AN Essex writer has finally become the real “Dr Darts” after gaining a top academic qualification for his work examining the growth in popularity of the pub game.

After a decade of self-funded, part-time postgraduate research, Patrick Chaplin, of Maldon, has been awarded a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

It comes after he wrote a dissertation on the subject, the title being Darts in England 1900-1939 - A Social History.


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The thesis for his doctorate focused mainly on the period 1918 to 1939, and has revealed the forces that transformed the humble traditional English pub game of darts into a social phenomenon during the interwar years, laying the foundations for the international sport recognised today.

“After ten years intensive research, I am thrilled to have gained my doctorate and made a significant contribution to the study of interwar popular culture,” Dr Chaplin said.

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“I am also chuffed to bits that I have begun to establish the true heritage of the sport of darts,” he added.

“My study of darts began as a hobby but developed into an obsession.

“Eventually I knew that I could make a positive contribution to the study of English popular culture by researching the social history of darts. I approached the Anglia Ruskin University with my outline plan.

“This, thankfully, was accepted, and I then embarked on my journey towards a PhD.”

In the past, Dr Chaplin has been described as “eccentric” by one national newspaper and “Dr Darts” by many.

The flurry of publicity at the beginning of his study spurred Dr Chaplin on and, although he said the going has been extremely tough over the past few years, his journey is now at an end - at least, he added, as far as the social history of darts is concerned up to 1939.

“There's still much more to be done. My examiners recommended that my thesis be published, so I've approached a few academic publishers,” he said.

“I have also been asked to write a guide to darts by a publishing company in New York and am planning to write a People's History of Darts, the first full history of the sport.”

His work has been described as “among the eminent works of pioneering scholarship in the academic history of twentieth-century leisure and sport”.

Dr Chaplin works as a freelance writer and lives in Maldon with his wife Maureen and their cat Angel.

TV appearances he has made include appearing as the “mysterious Doctor Darts” on BBC TV coverage of the Lakeside World Darts Championships

His writing credits include being co-author of three-time world darts champion John Lowe's autobiography, Old Stoneface published by John Blake in 2005.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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