Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RIP Jim Bowen

More sad news as it has been announced that the northern comedian, actor and Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen has died at the age of 80.

Bowen was a Maths teacher and a deputy headmaster originally, but he was compelled to try comedy after watching Ken Dodd perform two nights in Blackpool in the 1960s, and there's a bitter irony to be had in the fact that Bowen died just two days after his inspiration and hero. The years spent on the stand up circuit in the pubs and working mens clubs paid off, as Bowen bagged a regular spot on Granada's stand up showcase The Comedians in the 1970s. This led directly to the show Bowen became synonymous with, Bullseye. Arriving on our screens in 1981 the partnership of darts ability and general knowledge quickly proved to be a winning formula and Bullseye became a Sunday teatime mainstay for 14 years, attracting up to 17.5 million viewers in its heyday, and providing Bowen with both a clutch of catchphrases ('You can't beat a bit of bully', 'let's have a look at what you could've won' and 'super, smashing, great' to name but a few) and household name status.

Away from Bullseye, Bowen had a sideline in acting, appearing in Victoria Wood's TV play Happy Since I Met You and the 1980s property development drama Muck and Brass, alongside Mel Smith. In later years he appeared in The Grimleys, Jonathan Creek and as bewigged Blackpool bar owner Hoss Cartwright in Peter Kay's sitcom Phoenix Nights. He was also the president of Morecambe Football Club.

Between 1999 and 2002 Bowen had his own morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire but an ill considered, on air racist remark let to his resignation. In recent years Bowen suffered a series of strokes. He died in hospital this morning with his wife Phyllis by his bedside.



  1. I remember a one-page interview with Jim in a Sunday supplement, in the fallow years some time after the end of Bullseye. Jim was trying the student circuit, and was asked how he responded to being barracked with calls of "super, smashing, great" all night. His reply (and I'm paraphrasing, but this is pretty close) was, "I say bollocks to them, then I get in my Rolls Royce and drive home." Has always made me smile.

  2. You get nothing in this game for two in a bed.