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Jim Bowen: Former Bullseye host and comedian dies at 80

Jim Bowen with Bullseye mascot BullyImage copyright
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Jim Bowen with Bullseye mascot Bully

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 confirmed the news to BBC Radio Lancashire.

The former deputy headmaster, who was from 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 20 million viewers at its peak and involved three pairs of contestants – with a “thrower”, who would throw the darts, and a the “knower”, who would answer general knowledge questions.

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Bullseye’s prizes included cars and speedboats

One of Bowen’s catchphrases – “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 other beloved phrases included “Super, smashing, great”, “You can’t beat a bit of Bully!” and “Let’s look at what you could have won.”

Bowen 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.

And he presented a live morning magazine programme on Radio Lancashire from 1999 to 2003.

In 2011, he said he had learned to “appreciate all the things in life” after suffering two strokes.

His agent Patsy Martin told the Press Association: “I will very sadly miss Jim. He was a very lovely, genuine man.”

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