Bullseye host Jim Bowen dies aged 80

Jim Bowen Bullseye
When Jim Bowen presented Bullseye, it had a regular audience of more than 15 million viewers. Photo: ITV

Broadcaster, comedian and Bullseye host, Jim Bowen, has died at the age of 80.

Family friend John Pleus said Bowen died on Wednesday morning with his wife Phyllis by his side after several weeks in hospital.

The former deputy headmaster, who lived in North Lancashire, began his career as a stand-up comedian on the club circuit in the 1960s after being inspired to turn to comedy after watching Ken Dodd perform two shows – lasting a total of seven hours – one night in Blackpool.

After appearing on ITV show The Comedians, alongside the likes of Frank Carson, Russ Abbott and Bernard Manning, he became a household name when he began presenting the darts based quiz in 1981.

The Sunday tea-time show ran for 14 years and attracted 17.5 million viewers at its peak. Bullseye would pitch three pairs of contestants against each other. One would throw darts at a board and the other would answer the resulting general knowledge question.

Bowen became known for catchphrases he used on the show including “Super, smashing, great”, “You can’t beat a bit of Bully!” and “Let’s look at what you could have won”.

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

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.