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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Comedian Bowen quits over race gaffe
Jim Bowen
Bowen is best known for hosting Bullseye
Entertainer Jim Bowen has resigned from his job on a BBC local radio station after making a racist remark on air.

The 65-year-old performer made the remark on his Radio Lancashire programme The Happy Daft Farm.

He referred to a female training officer as a "nig-nog" in his programme on Friday.

Bowen apologised on-air for the comment, but later resigned from the programme.

He told a local newspaper he expected to retire from showbusiness after the incident.


Sadly, when a 65-year-old is employed he brings with him a certain amount of baggage from his era

Jim Bowen
A BBC spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "Jim was called to a formal meeting by managers who sought reassurances from him that there would be no repetition of such language.

"Subsequently, however, Jim tendered his resignation and this has been accepted."

But a spokesman for Bowen's agents McLeod Holden told BBC News Online: "Jim left amicably. He was going anyway at Christmas."

Bowen, who honed his act in pubs and clubs in northern England during the 1960s and 1970s, rose to fame on ITV talent showcase The Comedians.

In 1981 he landed his best-known role, as the presenter of ITV's darts-themed quiz Bullseye, which ran for 12 years. His "super, smashing great" and "now look what you could have won..." catchphrases helped turn him into a cult figure.

More recently he returned to Lancashire to present the morning show on the local BBC radio station.

'Not clever'

He told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph that he expected the incident would end his career.

Asked if he would be retiring, he said: "Yes, although in this business you don't actually retire.

"What happens is that the phone stops ringing and sometimes little hiccups occur like this one.

"Basically you do as the business tells you."

He said: "No racial connotation was ever intended and, having said all that, I should have been sharp enough to correct the error.

"I almost immediately apologised for it as it was, to say the least, not clever."

He added: "Sadly, when a 65-year-old is employed he brings with him a certain amount of baggage from his era and sadly sometimes this doesn't sit well in 2002.

"The expression I used would identify with the youngsters who were last to be picked in a football team or perhaps weren't the sharpest knife in the box."

He added: "The BBC management have always treated me with respect and generosity and it just seems a pity that this one lapse in discipline has given the senior echelons a problem."


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