Bullseye (British game show)

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Bullseye
GenreGame show
Created byAndrew Wood
Norman Vaughan
Presented byJim Bowen
Dave Spikey
StarringTony Green
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series15
No. of episodes351 (inc. 10 Christmas specials)
Production
Production locationsATV Centre (1981–1990)[1]
Television House (1990–1995)[1]
The Leeds Studios (2006)
Running time30 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companiesATV (1981)
Central (1982–1995)
Granada Yorkshire (2006)
Original release
NetworkITV (1981–1995)
Challenge (2006)
Release28 September 1981 (1981-09-28) –
22 September 2006 (2006-09-22)
Related
One Hundred and Eighty

Bullseye is a British darts-themed television game show created by Andrew Wood and Norman Vaughan. The show features three pairs of contestants, each consisting of an amateur darts player and a quizzer, competing in darts games and quizzes to win cash and prizes.

The original series aired on the ITV network and was produced by ATV in 1981, then by Central from 1982 until 1995. Jim Bowen presented the show during its initial 14-year run.[2] A revival produced by Granada Yorkshire for the Challenge TV network, hosted by Dave Spikey, aired in 2006.

The show sported an animated mascot named Bully, an anthropomorphic large brown bull who wore a red and white striped shirt and blue trousers. Bullseye attracted audiences of up to 20 million viewers at its peak.[3]

History[edit]

Bullseye was created and owned by Andrew Wood (with comedian Norman Vaughan), who came up with the idea after research into aspects of game shows with mass appeal.[4] Programme associates on the show were Mickey Brennan and Roger Edwards.

The series was centred on darts. Three teams of contestants, each consisting of one amateur darts player and one trivia/quizzing expert, competed against one another to win cash and prizes. Available items ranged from major prizes such as new cars, caravans and luxury holidays to consolation prizes that included sets of darts, tankards/goblets (for male and female contestants respectively) and "Bendy Bully" rubber dolls of the show's mascot.

The show originally aired on Monday nights in September 1981 and was produced by ATV. In 1982, Bullseye was moved to Sunday afternoons, and a new co-host, Tony Green, a professional darts referee and commentator, was brought in to keep track of the scores; this helped to achieve around 17 million viewers.

Bullseye was moved from Sunday afternoons to Saturday afternoons from 1993 to 1995. A 15th series was planned in 1996, however this was cancelled after Andrew Wood deemed that various changes and additions that Carlton and the ITV network centre were pressing for to update and 'modernise' the show to be unsuitable for the series and he believed it would lose its appeal as a result.[4] At the end of its original run, Bullseye was still attracting audiences of up to 10 million viewers.[5] After an eleven-year hiatus, Bullseye was revived for a new series, which was recorded for the digital channel Challenge. It was produced by Granada at Yorkshire Television in the Leeds Studios, and was hosted by Dave Spikey. Tony Green also returned to the show as co-host, reprising his role from the original series.

On screen, the show evolved as follows:

The first three series had the players throwing (from the point of view of the viewers and the audience) towards the right for the first round and to the left for all subsequent rounds. From the fourth series, all three boards in use rotated on a single pillar, and all throws were to the audience's right. The first four series featured opening titles of Bully jumping out of a sign and walking into a pub to play darts; this was shortened from series 2 onwards, with new theme music and musical beds from series 4. The opening credits of series 1, much longer than the version used from series 2 onwards, although containing numerous elements of what would become the show's familiar theme, feature a noticeably different arrangement of the theme tune.

From series 5, the entire set was essentially inverted. The studio audience would now be seen in shot throughout the show, and the viewers would see all darts being thrown to the left. From the studio audience's point of view, everybody continued to throw to the right. Series 5 also saw Bully driving the team bus in the opening titles and ejecting himself from the driver's seat to ride a flying dart. These titles also featured cartoon depictions of Bowen at the front of the coach, and Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Dave Whitcombe, Keith Deller, Cliff Lazarenko, Bob Anderson, Jocky Wilson and Mike Gregory at the back.[6] This same title sequence was used for the revived series, but featuring depictions of presenter Dave Spikey at the front of the coach and professional darts players of the 2000s at the back.

A new set was introduced in the 11th series, with Bowen – who since the second series had opened the show by coming through the audience – now making his entrance through the opening that would then drop a panel behind which the star prize would be hidden. Once the show moved to Saturday afternoons, the opening titles consisted of Bully jumping out of the logo at the back of the studio and charging about to cause chaos on the set, introduced in the 13th series.

For Comic Relief in March 1993, a special crossover between Bullseye and the BBC's snooker-based game show Big Break (the creation of which had been partly influenced by Bullseye) was planned, with guest comedians as contestants, and with Bowen and Big Break host Jim Davidson, along with scorers Tony Green and Big Break's John Virgo, effectively taking their counterpart's role within the game for humorous effect. Bowen and Davidson were both very enthusiastic about the idea; however the proposal never came to fruition, reportedly after ITV wanted the rights to repeat broadcasts as a self-contained programme, to which the BBC declined.

Bowen once described Bullseye as "the second-best darts-based game-show on television". There were no others at the time.[7]

John Cooper appearance[edit]

In 1989, John Cooper appeared on the show. He was later convicted of multiple burglaries, armed robberies, and, in 2011, following advances in forensic science, two double murders, one rape, and another sexual assault. Footage of his appearance on the show was later used by the prosecution to match him to witness reports at the time.[8]

Rounds[edit]

Bully's Category Board[edit]

A dartboard divided into 10 sectors was used, each representing a different category and further subdivided into outer, middle and inner areas. Three rounds were played, with every team receiving one turn in each. On a team's turn, the darts player threw one dart and attempted to hit either the bullseye or a category chosen by their partner. Doing so awarded a cash bonus to the team and allowed the partner to answer a question in the chosen category. However, if the dart hit a different category that was still in play, no bonus was awarded and the partner had to answer a question in that category instead. Hitting a category that was out of play or failing to hit the board at all forfeited the team's turn. Questions were worth £30 each in Round 1, £50 in Round 2, and £100 in Round 3. The values on the board (working inward from the edge) were £30, £50, and £100; the bullseye awarded £200 and was always in play. Categories were removed from play after one question had been asked.

In the first series, the board values were £20, £10, and £30, working inward from the edge. The result of each throw determined the category and value of the question to be asked; no bonus was awarded for hitting the bullseye or the category chosen by the non-darts player. A bullseye allowed that contestant to select any question value and awarded £50 for a correct answer.

Starting in series 3, if the contestant in control missed the question, the first opponent to buzz-in could answer and attempt to steal the money. In early series, the opponents could silently buzz-in during the question and/or while the contestant was thinking, but were only asked for a response if the contestant missed. Later, they could only buzz-in after a miss, triggering an audible signal. If neither opponent buzzed-in, or if the first to do so also missed, the host gave the correct answer and the game continued.

For the first seven series, the lowest-scoring team was eliminated from the game after the third round. In the event of a tie for low score, the darts players for the tied teams each threw three darts at a standard matchplay board and the high scorer's team advanced. From series 8 on, all three teams continued to the next portion of the game.

Categories used during this round, in alphabetical order:

  • Affairs (Series 2–14)
  • Art (Series 1)
  • Bible (Series 1)
  • Books
  • Britain (Series 2–15)
  • Faces (Series 5–15)
  • Food (Series 1–3)
  • History
  • Myths (Series 1)
  • Places (Series 1–14)
  • Pot Luck (Series 4)
  • Science (Series 15)
  • Showbiz
  • Spelling
  • Sport
  • Words (Series 2–15)
  • World (Series 15)

Pounds for Points[edit]

Each darts player threw three darts at a standard matchplay board, and the one who achieved the highest score won control of a question for their partner. Starting in series 2, an incorrect response passed the question to the team with the second-highest score, then the third if necessary; the first team to respond correctly won £1 per point scored by their darts player. After three questions, the team with the highest cash total from the first two rounds went through to play Bully's Prize Board. All three teams received their accumulated cash totals, as well as show-themed souvenirs that included darts, pens, key rings, patches, tankards (or goblets for female contestants), and "Bendy Bully" rubber dolls in the likeness of the show's mascot.

Initially, if two or more darts players achieved the same total, a re-throw was held and the high scorer won control of the question, for the value of the original throw. Later, the re-throw was eliminated and the question was played on the buzzer by the tied partners.

During the first series, the partner of the highest-scoring darts player in each round could choose to answer a question worth £25, £50, or £101. In the event of a tie, the darts players each threw one dart at a board divided into concentric circles, and the one who hit closer to the centre won control of the question. The team who won the most money in this round alone went through to Bully's Prize Board.

Charity interlude[edit]

At the beginning of part two, a professional darts player (or occasionally a celebrity during the first four series and the 2006 revival) would throw nine darts at the matchplay board. The show donated £1 per point scored to a charity of the winning team's choice, or £2 per point if the total was 301 or higher. Celebrity players often performed badly and would contribute some of their own money to the donation.

One episode of series four originally broadcast on 3 December 1984, featured comedienne Carol Lee Scott as the celebrity guest darts thrower.[9] Bowen and Scott had known each other for many years prior after both having appeared on the same bill at various working clubs. However, as mentioned in Bowen's 1998 biography From a Bundle of Rags: Autobiography of Jim Bowen,[10] the pair had a backstage exchange after filming of the episode, with Bowen commenting on Scott's performance which led to the pair trading several offhand comments, after which they refused to ever speak again.

Bronze Bully Trophy[edit]

During series 5 through 13 (1985 to 1994), the professional who recorded the highest score in the charity interlude over the course of an individual series won a Bronze Bully Trophy. The winners:

Bully's Prize Board[edit]

The team with the highest cash total from both rounds (or from Pounds for Points only in series 1) faced a board divided into eight pairs of alternating narrow red and wide black sectors, with a bullseye at the centre. The red sectors were numbered 1 through 8, each corresponding to a different prize, and the bullseye represented a larger item, "Bully's Special Prize." The team threw nine darts, the first and last three by the darts player and the middle three by their partner, and won the prizes for all red sectors they hit. Black sectors awarded nothing, and hitting the same red sector twice forfeited that prize—hence the show's catchphrase, "Keep out of the black and in the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed." A third hit to the same sector awarded the prize once again.

For most of the programme's original run, prize values were restricted by the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which may explain the perceived poor quality of prizes on offer. Although some prizes (such as a remote-controlled toy car or legendary "TV with wired remote control") were laughed at by the studio audience even then, smaller prizes were taken for granted at the time, and they seemed relatively lavish compared to those on offer in BBC game shows such as Blankety Blank. In a 2006 episode, Bully's Special Prize was a fully functional show-themed Fruit Machine.

Bully's Star Prize Gamble[edit]

After throwing their nine darts at Bully's Prize Board, the winning team had to decide whether to risk their prizes for a chance at "Bully's Star Prize," a large mystery prize hidden behind a screen in the studio. For the first ten series, the money they had won for themselves was not at risk; beginning with series 11, they had to put up both their money and prizes in order to play. (The team's souvenirs and the money won by the professional for their charity were never at risk.) If they chose to try for the Star Prize, they were given six darts (three per person; non-darts player throwing first) to score 101 or more on a standard matchplay dartboard. If they succeeded, they received the Star Prize and kept their previous winnings; if not, they lost all cash/prizes they had risked. When money was at stake during Bowen's tenure as host, he would tell the team that they would receive nothing except their "BFH" (bus fare home) if they lost.

If the winning team declined to play, the second-place team had the option to risk their money and try to win the prize; if this pair also declined, the third-place team was given the same choice. The actual prize was only revealed after a team had played the round, win or lose, or if all three teams chose not to play.

Bully's Star Prize was usually a holiday (especially in later series), a car, a caravan or a speedboat. Less lavish Star Prizes (fitted kitchens and the like) were sometimes given away in the early series, so as to fit within the IBA's prize limits at the time. In an episode from 1987, the Star Prize was a £2,000 fashion spree. After the prize limits were abolished in 1993, the Star Prize in Bowen's final two series would sometimes be "Bully's Treasure Chest," a cash award of £5,000.

From series 8 onwards, if the second- and third-place teams had the same total, both were asked if they wanted to gamble. If both said yes, the two darts players threw three darts each at the matchplay board and the higher score won the right to play for the Star Prize.

On the show, it was never made clear if the two winning contestants had to share the Star Prize or if they got one each.

On charity Christmas specials, in which celebrities and professional darts players teamed up to play for nominated charities, the winning team's accumulated cash total and prizes were not at risk. The cash would be doubled if they won Bully's Star Prize Gamble.

Guests[edit]

Series 1[edit]

# Name Date
1 Bobby George 28 September 1981[11]
2 Maureen Flowers 5 October 1981
3 Alan Evans 12 October 1981
4 Eric Bristow 19 October 1981[12]
5 Bill Lennard 26 October 1981[13]
6 Tony Brown 2 November 1981[14]
7 Ceri Morgan 9 November 1981[15]
8 Jocky Wilson 16 November 1981[16]
9 Dave Whitcombe 23 November 1981[17]
10 John Lowe 30 November 1981[18]
11 Linda Batten 7 December 1981[19]
12 Cliff Lazarenko 14 December 1981[20]
13 Tony Green 21 December 1981[21]

Series 2[edit]

# Name Date
1 Cliff Lazarenko 10 October 1982[22]
2 Tony Skuse 17 October 1982[23]
3 Eric Bristow 24 October 1982[24]
4 Maureen Flowers 31 October 1982[25]
5 Ceri Morgan 7 November 1982[26]
6 Linda Batten 14 November 1982[27]
7 Bill Lennard 21 November 1982[28]
8 Angus Ross 28 November 1982[29]
9 Tony Brown 5 December 1982[30]
10 Steve Brennan 12 December 1982[31]
11 Jocky Wilson 19 December 1982[32]
12 Dave Whitcombe 2 January 1983[33]
13 John Corfe 9 January 1983[34]
14 Alan Glazier 16 January 1983
15 Alan Evans 23 January 1983

Series 3[edit]

# Name Date
1 Jocky Wilson 27 November 1983
2 Linda Lewis 4 December 1983
3 Tony Brown 11 December 1983
4 Acker Bilk 8 January 1984
5 Bobby George 22 January 1984
6 Lance Percival 29 January 1984
7 Steve Brennan 5 February 1984
8 Nick Owen 12 February 1984
9 Bill Lennard 19 February 1984
10 Norman Vaughan 26 February 1984
11 Linda Batten 18 March 1984
12 Paul Lim 1 April 1984
13 Lionel Blair 8 April 1984
14 Mighty Atom 15 April 1984
15 John Lowe 22 April 1984
16 Steve Jones 29 April 1984
17 Ceri Morgan 6 May 1984
18 Ted Moult 13 May 1984
19 Dave Whitcombe 20 May 1984
20 Bob Champion 27 May 1984

Series 4[edit]

# Name Date
1 Jocky Wilson 2 September 1984
2 George Best 9 September 1984
3 Peter Locke 16 September 1984
4 Joe Brown 23 September 1984
5 Alan Glazier 30 September 1984
6 Gary Wilmot 7 October 1984
7 Mike Gregory 14 October 1984
8 Tessa Sanderson 21 October 1984
9 Dave Lee 28 October 1984
10 Faith Brown 4 November 1984
11 Alan Evans 11 November 1984
12 Pat Roach 18 November 1984
13 Steve Brennan 25 November 1984
14 Carol Lee Scott 2 December 1984
15 Anthony King 9 December 1984
16 Henry Cooper 16 December 1984
17 Tony Green 23 December 1984
Anne Aston
18 Cliff Lazarenko 31 December 1984
19 Jimmy Greaves 10 February 1985
20 Sharon Kemp 17 February 1985
21 Jimmy Cricket 24 February 1985
22 Terry O'Dea 3 March 1985
23 Lil Coombes 17 March 1985
24 Paul Henry 24 March 1985
25 Leighton Rees 31 March 1985
26 Sharon Davies 7 April 1985
27 Bobby George 14 April 1985
28 Kenny Lynch 21 April 1985

Series 5[edit]

# Name Date
1 Cliff Lazarenko 1 September 1985
2 Peter Masson 8 September 1985
3 Lil Coombes 15 September 1985
4 Gerry Haywood 22 September 1985
5 Bob Anderson 29 September 1985
6 Cathie Gibson-McCulloch 6 October 1985
7 Bobby George 13 October 1985
8 Sharon Kempe 20 October 1985
9 Cathie Gibson-McCulloch 27 October 1985
10 Bobby George 3 November 1985
11 Sharon Kempe 10 November 1985
12 John Cosnett 17 November 1985
13 Steve Brennan 24 November 1985
14 Eric Bristow 15 December 1985
15 Leighton Rees 26 January 1986
16 Ritchie Gardner 2 February 1986
17 Dave Lee 9 February 1986
18 Sandra Lee 9 March 1986
19 John Lowe 16 March 1986

Series 6[edit]

# Name Date
1 Rab McKenzie 31 August 1986
2 Keith Deller 7 September 1986
3 Lillian Barnett 14 September 1986
4 Jocky Wilson 21 September 1986
5 Dennis Hicklin 28 September 1986
6 Ritchie Gardner 5 October 1986
7 Sharon Kemp 12 October 1986
8 Terry O'Dea 19 October 1986
9 Leighton Rees 26 October 1986
10 Cathie McCulloch 2 November 1986
11 Malcolm Davies 9 November 1986
12 Lionel Smith 16 November 1986
13 Sonja Ralphs 23 November 1986
14 Kevin Kenny 30 November 1986
15 John Cosnett 7 December 1986
16 Linda Batten 14 December 1986
17 Cliff Lazarenko 21 December 1986
18 4 January 1987
19 11 January 1987
20 18 January 1987
21 25 January 1987
22 1 February 1987
23 8 February 1987

Series 7[edit]

# Name Date
1 Keith Deller 13 September 1987
2 Sonja Ralphs 20 September 1987
3 Dave Lee 27 September 1987
4 John Lowe 4 October 1987
5 Terry Collins 11 October 1987
6 Linda Batten 18 October 1987
7 Ritchie Gardner 1 November 1987
8 Peter Evison 15 November 1987
9 Maureen Flowers 22 November 1987
10 Eric Bristow 6 December 1987
11 Mike Gregory 13 December 1987
12 Jocky Wilson 3 January 1988
13 Cathie McCulloch 10 January 1988
14 Peter Locke 17 January 1988
15 Cliff Lazarenko 24 January 1988
16 Alan Evans 31 January 1988
17 Dave Whitcombe 7 February 1988
18 Bob Anderson 14 February 1988
19 Leighton Rees 21 February 1988
20 Chris Johns 28 February 1988
21 Bobby George 6 March 1988
22 Ronnie Sharp 13 March 1988
23 Ray Farrell 20 March 1988
24 Alan Glazier 27 March 1988
25 Sharon Kemp 3 April 1988
26 Lionel Smith 10 April 1988

Series 8[edit]

# Name Date
1 Ray Farrell 11 September 1988
2 Bill Lennard 18 September 1988
3 Deta Hedman 25 September 1988
4 Alan Warriner 2 October 1988
5 Ritchie Gardner 9 October 1988
6 Alan Glazier 16 October 1988
7 Bobby George 30 October 1988
8 Dave Whitcombe 6 November 1988
9 Peter Evison 13 November 1988
10 Bob Anderson 20 November 1988
11 Leighton Rees 27 November 1988
12 Ann Thomas 4 December 1988
13 Mike Gregory 11 December 1988
14 Chris Johns 18 December 1988
15 Eric Bristow 1 January 1989
16 Maureen Flowers 22 January 1989
17 Cliff Lazarenko 29 January 1989
18 Keith Deller 5 February 1989
19 Ronnie Sharp 12 February 1989
20 John Lowe 12 March 1989
21 Jocky Wilson 26 March 1989
22 Bert Vlaardingerbroek 2 April 1989
23 Mark Day 23 April 1989
24 Cathie McCulloch 30 April 1989

Series 9[edit]

# Name Date
1 Mike Gregory 29 October 1989
2 Mandy Solomons 5 November 1989
3 Ray Battye 19 November 1989
4 Ritchie Gardner 26 November 1989
5 Bob Anderson 3 December 1989
6 Paul Reynolds 10 December 1989
7 Alan Warriner 17 December 1989
8 Ronnie Sharp 31 December 1989
9 Peter Evison 7 January 1990
10 Cliff Lazarenko 14 January 1990
11 Eric Bristow 21 January 1990
12 Maureen Flowers 28 January 1990
13 Dave Lee 4 February 1990
14 Leighton Rees 11 February 1990
15 Alan Glazier 25 February 1990
16 Mark Day 11 March 1990
17 Bobby George 25 March 1990
18 Dave Whitcombe 1 April 1990
19 8 April 1990
20 John Lowe 15 April 1990
21 Ray Farrell 22 April 1990
22 Chris Johns 29 April 1990
23 Brian Cairns 6 May 1990
24 Jocky Wilson 13 May 1990
25 20 May 1990
26 27 May 1990

Series 10[edit]

# Name Date
1 Bobby George 2 September 1990
2 Ali Timmins 9 September 1990
3 Mike Gregory 16 September 1990
4 Bob Anderson 23 September 1990
5 Keith Deller 30 September 1990
6 Chris Whiting 7 October 1990
7 Ray Battye 14 October 1990
8 Mandy Solomons 21 October 1990
9 Phil Taylor 28 October 1990
10 Ritchie Gardner 4 November 1990
11 Jocky Wilson 11 November 1990
12 Maureen Flowers 18 November 1990
13 Eric Bristow 25 November 1990
14 Chris Johns 2 December 1990
15 Dave Whitcombe 9 December 1990
16 Peter Evison 16 December 1990
17 Denis Hickling 23 December 1990
18 Brian Cairns 30 December 1990
19 6 January 1991
20 Paul Lim 13 January 1991
21 Ray Farrell 20 January 1991
22 Cliff Lazarenko 27 January 1991
23 Deta Hedman 3 February 1991
24 John Lowe 10 February 1991
25 Leighton Rees 17 February 1991
26 Alan Warriner 24 February 1991
27 17 March 1991

Series 11[edit]

Series 12[edit]

# Name Date
1 Mandy Solomons 6 September 1992
2 Jamie Harvey 13 September 1992
3 Chris Johns 20 September 1992
4 Leanne Maddock 27 September 1992
5 Graham Miller 4 October 1992
6 Peter Evison 18 October 1992
7 Kevin Kenny 25 October 1992
8 Jocky Wilson 1 November 1992
9 Mike Gregory 8 November 1992
10 Richie Gardner 15 November 1992
11 Phil Taylor 22 November 1992
12 Jane Stubbs 29 November 1992
13 Eric Bristow 6 December 1992
14 13 December 1992
15 Dennis Priestley 20 December 1992
16 Keith Deller 3 January 1993
17 Rod Harrington 10 January 1993
18 Dave Whitcombe 17 January 1993
19 Leighton Rees 24 January 1993
20 Steve Beaton 31 January 1993
21 Antonio Ramos 7 February 1993
22 Jerry Hayward 14 February 1993
23 Phil Gilman 21 February 1993

Series 13[edit]

# Name Date
1 Mike Gregory 26 March 1994
2 Phil Taylor 2 April 1994
3 Ronnie Sharp 9 April 1994
4 Alan Warriner 16 April 1994
5 Scott Coleman 23 April 1994
6 Raymond Barneveld 30 April 1994
7 Kevin Kenny 7 May 1994
8 Steve Beaton 14 May 1994
9 Leanne Maddock 21 May 1994
10 Ronnie Baxter 28 May 1994
11 Graham Miller 4 June 1994
12 Kevin Painter 11 June 1994
13 Cliff Lazarenko 18 June 1994
14 Geoff Williams 25 June 1994
15 Eric Burden 2 July 1994
16 Bobby George 9 July 1994
17 Ian Carpenter 16 July 1994
18 Dennis Priestley 23 July 1994

Series 14[edit]

# Name Date
1 Rod Harrington 1 April 1995
2 Paul Williams 8 April 1995
3 Dave Lee 15 April 1995
4 Martin Adams 22 April 1995
5 29 April 1995
6 Martin Phillips 6 May 1995
7 David Richardson-Page 13 May 1995
8 Mandy Solomons 20 May 1995

Remakes[edit]

In 2005, it was announced that programme creator Andrew Wood had signed a contract with Granada Media for Granada to produce a one-hour long celebrity special Bullseye show to be hosted by Ant & Dec. This special was part of Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, in turn part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations, and was aired on ITV on 22 October 2005. Vernon Kay and Coronation Street star William Roache were the contestants, accompanied by professional darts players Eric Bristow and Andy Fordham, while Tony Green reprised his role as co-host.

Subsequently, Granada decided that a new series of Bullseye would be produced early the following year on Challenge and that the show was to be hosted by comedian Dave Spikey. Bully was also redesigned for the new series, albeit very similar to the Bully used in the original series.

The new series of Bullseye returned on Challenge in April 2006. The show maintained the style of prizes from the original, bar white goods; none of the cash prizes had increased in value since the second series in 1982, although the bullseye on the category board had decreased to £150 from the £200 of the original series. Some of the prizes from Bully's Prize Board were of more modern gameshow standard, such as a TFT television and an MP3 player. Dave Spikey and Tony Green commented on BBC Radio 1's Colin and Edith show on 19 April 2006: "...[Bullseye is] The only gameshow on the television in which the prizes get a round of applause...".

The revived series was strikingly similar to the original series. Whilst refreshed, the show maintained the original theme music and stings and used a remade version of the original's second title sequence, Bully driving the team bus. A cartoon version of Dave Spikey replaced Jim's in the titles. The Challenge revival ran for thirty episodes.

On 19 May 2007, another one-hour long celebrity special was aired on ITV, this time as part of Vernon Kay's Gameshow Marathon. This time the contestants were newsreader Andrea Catherwood, footballer Graeme Le Saux and another Coronation Street star, Michael Le Vell, paired with professional darts players Martin Adams, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld respectively. Once again, Tony Green reprised his co-host role. Jim Bowen did not appear on the Bullseye episode; instead, he appeared on the marathon's remake of The Golden Shot, acting as "Bowen the Bolt" (instead of "Bernie the Bolt"). At one point, he did make the comment to Kay, "Vernon, this is a bit like Bullseye used to be...throwing arrows for prizes!"

In March 2018, it was rumoured that Vernon Kay would front a reboot of Bullseye. However, he later denied that he was fronting the new reboot of Bullseye.[35] In June 2019 it was announced that Bullseye, as one of the country's five all-time favourite game shows, was to be "supersized and rebooted" in a new series, Alan Carr's Epic Gameshow for broadcast on 4 July 2020. Commissioned by ITV, the series was filmed at dock10 studios and presented by Alan Carr.[36]

Although not strictly a remake but more of a show influenced by the original, Welsh language TV channel S4C has a darts gameshow called Oci, Oci, Oci, which uses the concept of darts and questions to win prizes. Instead of in a studio, the show is at various social clubs and pubs each week. The show has two people who handle the questions and two playing darts.

Merchandise[edit]

For the Christmas 2005 season, a Bullseye DVD game was released by board game manufacturer Upstarts. Although the game did not feature Bowen or Green, it did feature a redesigned Bully. A second DVD game titled "Classic Bullseye" was released by ITV DVD for the 2006 Christmas season, which featured both Bowen and the voice of Green, and also classic footage from the show. An updated version, "All New Bullseye", was released in 2007.

Several board games based on the show have also been released.

A video game adaption for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 was developed and published by Sabec, and released in June 2021.[37]

Transmissions[edit]

Series[edit]

Series Start date End date Episodes Presenter
1 28 September 1981[11] 21 December 1981[21] 13 Jim Bowen
2 10 October 1982[22] 23 January 1983 15
3 27 November 1983[38] 3 June 1984[39] 26[39]
4 2 September 1984[40] 21 April 1985[41] 29[41]
5 1 September 1985[42] 16 March 1986[43] 26[43]
6 31 August 1986[44] 8 March 1987 27
7 13 September 1987[45] 13 March 1988[46] 26[46]
8 18 September 1988[47] 30 April 1989[48] 26[48]
9 29 October 1989[49] 13 May 1990[50] 26[50]
10 2 September 1990[51] 17 March 1991[52] 26[52]
11 1 September 1991[53] 8 March 1992[54] 25[54]
12 6 September 1992[55] 28 February 1993[56] 25[56]
13 26 March 1994[57] 23 July 1994[58] 18[58]
14 1 April 1995[59] 8 July 1995 13
15 17 April 2006[60] 22 September 2006[61] 30[61] Dave Spikey

Christmas Specials[edit]

Date Guests
26 December 1982[62] Eric Bristow, Margo MacDonald, Cliff Lazarenko, Katharine Whitehorn, Maureen Flowers, Nigel Mansell
25 December 1983[63] Eric Bristow, Anne Diamond, Keith Deller, Kenneth Kendall, Judith Hann and Anne Aston
23 December 1984[64] Eric Bristow, Keith Deller, Jocky Wilson, Tommy Boyd, Margaret Harris, Kathy Staff, Rod Hull, Alvin Stardust and Vivienne Rooke
28 December 1986 Ray Alan, Lord Charles, Bob Anderson, Eric Bristow, Frank Carson, Sarah Greene, John Lowe and Fatima Whitbread
27 December 1987[65] Eric Bristow, Duggie Brown, Geoff Capes, Bob Carolgees, Cliff Lazarenko, Rustie Lee, Jan Leeming, Steve Nallon, Gerry Thomas and Jocky Wilson
25 December 1988[66] Marti Caine, Les Dennis, Roy Walker, Bob Holness, Jocky Wilson, Bob Anderson and Eric Bristow
24 December 1989[67] featuring emergency services teams of two firemen, two nurses and two ambulancemen alongside darts players Chrissy Johns, Cliff Lazarenko and Ronnie Sharp
23 December 1990[68] Bobby Davro, Bella Emberg, Paul Shane, Eric Bristow, Bob Anderson and Leighton Rees
22 December 1991[69] Frank Bruno, Linda Lusardi, John McCririck, Bob Anderson, Dennis Priestley and Phil Taylor
27 December 1992[70] Liza Goddard, Mandy Solomons, Mike Reid, Steve Wright, Phil Taylor and Norris McWhirter

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bentley, David (1 July 2013). "TV programmes made in Birmingham: Bullseye". Birmingham Live. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  2. ^ Education (22 October 2011). "Think Britain hasn't dumbed down? Just watch Bullseye". Telegraph. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen dies aged 80". ITV News. 14 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Bullseye TV Game Show – The History of Bullseye". Bullseye TV Gameshow.
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