Jim Bowen: Comedian and former Bullseye host dies at 80

From BBC - March 14, 2018

Broadcaster and comedian Jim Bowen, best known for hosting darts-based game show Bullseye in the 1980s and '90s, has died at the age of 80.

His wife Phyllis confirmed the news to BBC Radio Lancashire.

The former deputy headmaster, who lived in North Lancashire, began his career as a stand-up comedian on the club circuit in the 1960s.

He became a household name when he began presenting Bullseye in 1981. The Sunday tea time show ran for 14 years.

It attracted 17.5 million viewers at its peak and involved three pairs of contestants - with a "thrower", who would throw the darts, and a "knower", who would answer general knowledge questions.

Bowen became known for catchphrases including "Super, smashing, great", "You ca not beat a bit of Bully!" and "Let's look at what you could have won".

Another favourite phrase - "keep out of the black and in to the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed" - referred to the segments of the darts board that the players had to hit.

His warm-hearted and quick-witted rapport with the contestants was a big part of the show's appeal.

Bowen became Bullseye host after appearing on ITV show The Comedians, alongside the likes of Frank Carson, Russ Abbott and Bernard Manning.

He also had a number of TV acting roles, including in Muck and Brass, Jonathan Creek, The Grimleys, and as Hoss Cartwright in the second series of Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights.

Bowen started out as a teacher but was inspired to take up comedy after watching Ken Dodd perform two shows - lasting a total of seven hours - one night in Blackpool.


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