Private Project


UK Theatrical Release 20th Dec 2022 in Showcase Cinemas. UK Digital Release (all platforms) 2nd Jan 2003.

UK indi mock-doc that follows the misadventures of former professional darts player, 'Cocky' Rocky Goldfingers, as he comes out of jail after serving 16 years, determined to prove to the world that he did not murder of his former protege and team mate, Perry 'The Poison Arrow' Peters.

  • Simon Sprackling
    FunnyMan, Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson
  • Simon Sprackling
    FunnyMan, The Reeds
  • Simon Sprackling
    The Reeds
  • Geoff Bell
    Key Cast
    "Rocky Goldfingers"
    Kingsman, The Business, Greenstreet Hooligans
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 3, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    75,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Super 16mm/Arri Amira
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:

  • United States
Distribution Information
  • Carnaby International
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Simon Sprackling

Independent UK filmmaker. Simon's first film FunnyMan (1994) was theatrically released in the UK through Feature Film Co/Polygram, has sold around the world and become something of a cult film in its genre. The Reeds which Simon co-wrote and produced was theatrically released in the US in 2009 thru After Dark/Lionsgate and his film of the play Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson was also theatrically released in the UK in 2012. Simon has also made award winning shorts and documentaries. A happy outsider who has earned a reputation for making off-centre projects with surprisingly high production values on tiny budgets.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In 2002 I set out to make a rise-fall-and rise-again comic-book story about a strange and gifted boy, Perry 'The Poison Arrow' Peters who gets picked up and thrust into the world of professional darts by an audacious US sports impresario, whose thrilling new talent management team 'TopFlite Darts' is headed by the devious and unscrupulous 'Cocky' Rocky Goldfingers.

In 2003 having tracked around a variety of professional darts tournaments getting to know the administrators, I got the chance to shoot some scenes at the BDO World Darts Championship.

Realising the uniqueness of the offer (the broadcasters and sponsors were all in their final year of contract and were relaxed about us being there) - and despite not having raised a dime to make the film yet - I maxed out my credit cards and took a team of actors, dancers and a four camera crew to the Lakeside Country Club, to shoot all the tournament footage I could in four days, live in front of the Lakeside audience.

The BBC and the professional dart players all generously helped out and we got some amazing and authentic footage.

However, in the months after, raising the £1.5m to complete the film got very tricky. The box office failure of a similarly themed Crown Green Bowling film made investors at the time wary of minority sports films.

So with time marching on, I tried to turn the story into a TV series and was eventually commissioned to write a pilot for the BBC.

However, the piece was always more mini-series than it was a sitcom format (which was a more popular comedy format at that time) and when the commissioning editor was moved on the project was shelved.

By this stage the original actors were visibly older than the first material we'd shot and with no obvious way to back to the feature film route - it had to be canned.

We all moved on and did other things.

Fifteen years later, I met with Geoff Bell (who played Rocky Goldfingers) socially and we talked about that darts film we should have made and all that footage I still had sitting in cans in my cupboard.

We speculated about what we could ever do with it and hit on the idea of using it as documentary archive footage in a present day re-telling of the same story.

It occurred to me that if we could explain the (then) 15 year gap narratively then we could look back and re-explore the story in a mock-documentary format.

I contacted Ralf Little who played the Poison Arrow back in 2003 but he had moved on and wasn't interested in getting involved, so instead we had to work out a narrative devise that would naturally exclude him.

That is when we hit on the idea that Rocky had been accused of killing the Arrow back in 2003, gone to jail for 15 years and was now coming out to try to prove he was innocent. All we had to was write what happened next.

So, suddenly we had a way forward. But still no budget.

Pulling a few favours we started with two day shoot in a old prison building owned by Canterbury University.

Using their film students as our crew, we drafted in some actor friends of Geoff's and Ben Gardner Gray to play LJ Maitland, the Louis-Theroux-style documentary filmmaker, tracking Rocky's story, and we shot the opening scenes of the film.

In the three years that have followed we have had a number of additional challenges. First by my emergency liver transplant put a hole in 2019, then the pandemic wiped out 2020. However, whenever we were all safe and available we still went out to shoot however many scenes we could afford to shoot.

Finally, when we were nearing completion we showed what we had to John Henderson, the owner of a classic British Film library and asked him to help us complete it, especially in relation to financing the music licensing.

When he agreed we were able to complete the film, three years after we started the new mock-doc elements and twenty after I shot the first 16mm frames of the original.

So, 'Poison Arrows' has been a labour love, absolutely. A triumph of determination over adversity, undoubtedly. But whether it was all worthwhile is down to an audience, ultimately.

I hope your festival will feel the film we've made deserves one.

Simon Sprackling