Jim Bowen

    Ant & Dec (2005 special)
    Dave Spikey (New Host)

    Announcer: Tony Green
    Super, smashing, great
    On Sunday evenings through the winter months, Bullseye stopped being a game-show and began to be an institution. Club comedian Jim Bowen's style and catchphrases such as "super, smashing, great" spawned a large number of mickey-takes (not to mention the odd notable out-take on It'll be Alright on the Night).

    Three pairs of contestants, an amateur dart player and a non-dart player, would compete in three rounds.
    What's the bet the taller one's the darts player?
    Take aim...
    In Round 1, the dart player would aim for one of ten segments on a specifically constructed board. Money was won depending on how close the dart came to hitting the bullseye - but only if the dart landed in the category nominated by the non-dart player. More money could be won by the non-dart player answering a question on the category associated with the segment. Once a category had gone, the dart player had to avoid it otherwise no money could be won in subsequent throws.
    Jim Bowen interviews the contestants. The Round 1 dartboard can be seen in the background.

    After each player had thrown one dart three times, the couple with the least amount of money retired. (This final rule was changed in later series so that two teams were eliminated at the end of Round 2 to give the lagging team a chance to catch up.) The consolation prize was a "bendy Bully", a toy version of the show's portly bovine mascot. Oh, and some darts and tankards.
    Jim Bowen doles out the consolation prizes

    In Round 2, a standard dart board was used. Each dart-player threw three darts. The highest scoring dart player would win the right for his partner to answer a question, the reward being the dart player's score in (British) pounds.
    What's Bully got in store tonight?
    After an interlude where a professional darts player tries to throw for money for a charity, the highest scoring team went through to Bully's Prize Board, another specially constructed dart board containing eight quite narrow red segments (which claimed prizes), quite large black segments (which did nothing) and a fairly large bullseye. Hitting a red segment corresponded with claiming one of eight prizes, and hitting the bullseye claimed Bully's Special Prize.
    Bully, the show's mascot, hangs onto a flying dart during the title sequence
    One jeopardy, which happened quite a lot more than you might think, occurred when a dart hit the same red segment or the bullseye twice. This caused the prize to be lost or, as the host infamously put it, "Keep out of the black and in to the red, There's nothing in this game for two in a bed".
    Are they going to gamble?
    Once the prizes had been won, the team had the option of gambling their prizes (and, in later series, all the money they had won in the earlier part of the show as well). To win the gamble, both members of the team had to throw three darts at a standard dart board, the non-dart player throwing first, with their combined score totalling 101 or more.
    Before the darts were thrown, it was de rigeur for announcer Tony Green (pictured) to say "Take yer time" more often than necessary. If they won the star prize they got to keep their money and prizes from Round 3 too.
    Announcer Tony Green (a professional darts commentator)

    For their time, the prizes on Bullseye were very generous. Speedboats, cars, holidays and caravans would feature regularly. But, if the contestants failed in the final gamble, they had to see the star prize regardless - "Look at what you could have won."
    "Never mind, boys, look at what you could have won. It was a speedboat. That would have come in handy in Wolverhampton, wouldn't it?"

    Key moments
    It was often painful to see the non-dart player score 97 with some jammy shots, only for the supposed "dart player" to try to hit 20 but hit 1 three times instead and thereby lose.

    "Stay out of the black and into the red, Nothing in this game for two in a bed."

    "Look at what you could have won."

    "And Bully's Special Priiiiize..."

    "Now the cash you won for charity earlier... that's safe."

    "Super, smashing, great." (somewhat apocryphal)

    "Iiiiiiin one..."

    "You win nothing but your BFH... Bus Fare Home"

    (into the ad break) "I've got £___ here and it'll take me two minutes to count out."

    "All for the throw of a dart"

    "You've got the time it takes for the board to revolve..."
    The first two programmes were so bad they were scrapped and never broadcast. This was especially expensive because a car had been won in one of them.

    By the end of its run, the show was getting 12,000 applications a year and there was a five year waiting list just to sit in the audience!

    A celebrity Christmas special in 1986 included Fatima Whitbread - javelins/darts, you see?