Comedian and host of the long-running TV gameshow Bullseye Jim Bowen, who has died aged 80, claimed he was the fifth choice to host the long-running TV gameshow Bullseye, but the friendly northern comedian proved to be the perfect fit for the role. After a slow start in 1981, shuttling around the schedules, Bullseye’s unsophisticated mix of darts and trivia attracted early Sunday evening audiences of 17 million. For 14 years, accompanied by the show’s mascot, Bully, Bowen delivered the catchphrases: “Keep out of the black, and in the red; there’s nothing in this game for two in a bed” and “Have a look at what you would have won”. The ITV show brought its host a Rolls-Royce, a house in the country and enduring fame, thanks in part to a catchphrase – “Super, smashing, great” – that he claimed he never actually said. (Although, when one contestant explained that he was unemployed, Bowen did instinctively reply, “Smashing”.) At his 1980s peak, Bowen earned more than £500,000 a year from Bullseye and his standup bookings.
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