The "News of the World" [*] individual Darts Championship was the first organised darts competition, which first started in 1927 and was originally only a London competition. From 1936-39 the tournament expanded and individual regions held their own competitions. The competition then stopped during the second world war years before returning as the News of the World National Championships and it became one of the World's biggest darts tournaments.
The National Championships continuously ran from 1947-1990. In its last year a ladies competition was introduced which was won by Lynne Ormond. The Championship finals were played in various locations across London during this period including the famous Alexandra Palace where the PDC World Darts Championship is currently staged:
1948–49 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley, London
1950–58 Empress Hall, Earls Court, London
1959–62 Empire Pool (Wembley Arena), Wembley, London
1963–77 Alexandra Palace, London
1978–88 Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
1989–90 Docklands Arena, London
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The tournament was notoriously difficult to win. Each round consisted best of legs and was played from an 8ft (Hockey) Oche length not the 7ft 9 ¼” (2.37m) used as the standard today.
In 1986-7, Bobby George won the event without conceding a single leg during all rounds of the competition.
The latter stages News of the World Darts Championships was also broadcast by ITV and was a feature of ‘World of Sport’ 1972 to 1985, and again in 1987 and 1988. The 1986 event wasn't broadcast due to a technicians' strike.
There was a big slump in televised darts and the competition ended in 1990 but returned for the last time in 1996/7. The men's competition was won by Phil Taylor and the ladies by Linda Jones. It is still said to be one of the hardest competitions ever to have won.
The 1997 finals were held at Villa Park, Birmingham
* News of the World. UK national newspaper from 1843 - 2011
The newspaper ceased to exist as from 2011