When Jocky Wil­son went from dou­ble tops to Top of the Pops

Fifedart­sle­gend’s ap­pear­ance was a de­lib­er­ate joke

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - Graeme sTrachan gstra­chan@the­courier.co.uk

It was the mo­ment Fife’s world darts cham­pion took his place in pop folk­lore.

The gap-toothed Kirk­caldy-born darts leg­end’s smile was seen by mil­lions of mu­sic fans on the world’s long­est run­ning weekly mu­sic show.

On Septem­ber 30 1982 Dexy’s Mid­night Run­ners ap­peared on Top of the Pops to per­form Jackie Wil­son Said, a trib­ute to the soul leg­end writ­ten by Van Mor­ri­son.

Ap­pear­ing on the screen be­hind them, how­ever, was a gi­ant pic­ture of Jocky Wil­son, a de­lib­er­ate joke as re­quested by the band.

The per­for­mance 35 years ago has sub­se­quently achieved cult sta­tus and is still fondly re­mem­bered to­day as one of TV’s more sur­real mo­ments.

Wil­son was the reign­ing darts world cham­pion while Dexy’s were en­joy­ing great suc­cess and per­form­ing the fol­low up to Come On Eileen.

Lead singer Kevin Row­land re­called: “For a laugh, we told the pro­ducer to put a pic­ture of Jocky Wil­son up be­hind us.

“He said ‘but Kevin, peo­ple will think we made a mis­take.’ I told him only an id­iot would think that.”

The story of the “em­bar­rass­ing mix-up” be­came part of the TOTP nar­ra­tive to the ex­tent that, when Jocky Wil­son died in 2012, the in­ci­dent fea­tured promi­nently in his obit­u­ar­ies.

Dexy’s gui­tarist Billy Adams added: “We were per­ceived as such a se­ri­ous band few peo­ple ex­pected us to have a sense of hu­mour. Peo­ple would rather be­lieve it was a mis­take than think we might be hav­ing a laugh.”

A short, tubby man with very few teeth and a pas­sion for lager, Jocky Wil­son was one of Scot­land’s most un­likely sport­ing suc­cesses.

The two-time world cham­pion made his fi­nal tele­vised ap­pear­ance at the PDC’s World Match­play event, be­fore fi­nally re­tir­ing from the sport in 1996.

Leg­endary darts com­men­ta­tor Sid Wad­dell once said of Wil­son: “He’s go­ing like the Loch Ness Mon­ster with a fol­low­ing wind!”

The now-fa­mous “mis­take”, when Jackie Wil­son be­came Jocky Wil­son on Top of the Pops.

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