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Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 13:05 GMT
You can't beat a bit a' bully!
By Chris Charles

Jim Bowen with Nancy Sorrell

As darts fever continues to grip the country, one man in particular is finding it super, smashing, great!

Comedian Jim Bowen, former host of cult TV quiz show Bullseye, has been watching both world tournaments with interest.

"It's difficult to keep in touch with all the players because they're out doing exhibitions all the time," he said. "But I always watch it on TV because the game was very good to me."

In its heyday, Bullseye averaged 10 million viewers - peaking at 19.8m on Boxing Day 1987 - and fans are clamouring to bring it back.

Jim for one would jump at the chance.

"If it came back now I think it would be great for darts and both of the ruling bodies. But we'd have to up the prizes!" he told BBC Sport.

"In the old days we had the speedboat. We always made sure whoever won it lived in the Midlands - because that was as far as you could get from the sea!"

My biggest contibution was 'There's your BFH'
Jim Bowen

And what about the catch-phrases?

"Every one was an accident," insisted Jim.

"At the end of the show I used to say: 'Look at what you could have won' if they didn't win the prize, but then how else can you say it?

"Their faces sometimes were unbelievable. Peter Kay the comic does 20 minutes on that in his shows.

"Bullseye director, Peter Harris, made up the phrase 'Stay out of the black and in the red, there's nothing in this game for two in a bed' and I suppose my biggest contibution was 'There's your BFH' - which of course meant bus fare home."

But what about 'Super, smashing great'?!

"Well I never actually said that," Jim insisted, disappointingly.

"It started when a contestant was standing next to me in the first series and I said to him: 'What do you do for a living?'

"He said: 'I've been unemployed nine months" and I said: 'Smashing'. He looked as if he wanted to kill me.

Here's what you could have won

"The next morning Terry Wogan was on the radio and said: 'Did you hear Jim Bowen? I counted 47 smashings in 24 minutes'!

"Then the impressionists got hold of it and added together the three words I used to say regularly - just to heighten my lack of intellect!"

Bowen's old sidekick, Tony Green, is currently commentating on the BDO tournament for the BBC, but still takes the Bullseye format on the road.

"Tony's a great bloke, but I don't go with him," said Jim - "although I did do a celebrity version of Bullseye with Ladbrokes recently.

"Phil Taylor was there, with TV presenter Helen Chamberlain and Nancy Sorrell from I'm A Celebrity.

"The star prize was one of the biggest Bullseye's ever had - a bottle of white wine from Mansfield."




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