Series / Bullseye UK

The British Bullseye, with Jim Bowen, was based on pub darts (which had become very widely popular during the 1980s, with Bullseye quick to ride on the waves of that success) and was produced by Central Televisionnote  for ITV from 1981-95. Contestants answered knowledge questions and threw darts at a special dartboard. A revival on Challenge TV ran from April-September 2006 with Dave Spikey as host, in the wake of renewed interest after the show was lampooned by Peter Kay in his stand-up routine.

If the UK version of Gladiators was the most popular Game Show of the 1990s, then Bullseye was the most popular of the 1980s. In fact, it was still widely popular up till its demise, sitting proudly alongside the Gladiators when they were at their peak.

It pretty much became an institution in itself; it was infamous for usually offering a speedboat as the grand prize, which would be useful down Wolverhampton.

In the 2000s the original series was picked up for ReRuns by game show channel Challenge. In July 2015 Challenge aired an original one-hour documentary retrospective entitled You Can't Beat a Bit o' Bully, after the show's most famous Catch-Phrase..

Unrelated to both US game shows named Bullseye: an early 80s Barry-Enright produced series with Jim Lange as host, or one from Fox in 2015.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • All or Nothing: The final game. Contestants could gamble the prizes they'd won for a go at the Star Prize (if they were the first couple to be given the choice), or the winnings from the first two rounds (if they were the second or third). In later series, the first couple had to gamble any money won as well.
  • Booby Prize: Only featured in the first series made by ATV. Whilst they more than likely never existed, Jim would tell them they've won a booby prize if the contestant's dart ended up in the green spaces of the board. Among these booby prizes was a half-sucked acid drop, tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic, and a date with the Ayatollah.
  • Bonus Round: The players alternated throws at a special board numbered 1-8. Red spaces won prizes; black spaces not. The bullseye won "Bully's Special Prize", bigger than the other prizes but smaller than the Star Prize.
  • Home Game
  • Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: Had a notoriously cruel variation of this where, if the players failed to win the big prize, Jim Bowen would say "Let's see what you could've won!" and they would bring out the Star Prize, accompanied by a sad remix of the usual victory/credits music.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Tony Green, who doubled as the Scorer.
    • Game Show Host: Jim Bowen for the original run, Dave Spikey on the Challenge version.
    • Lovely Assistant: Subverted with "Bully's Boys"—stagehands who, starting in Series 4, would bring out the Star Prizes at the end of the show, whether they're won or lost. By the end of the show's run, if a car was the Star Prize, one of the boys would drive it out.
    • Studio Audience: By the end of the original run, there was a five-year waiting list just to see a taping!
  • Whammy / Zonk: The 1-point spaces which, due to using a real dartboard, were next to the 20s.

This show provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: In 1983, the show produced a "Christmas tape" featuring a foul-mouthed Bowen...for starters.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Iiiiiiiiiiin one!"
    • "And Bully's special priiiize..."
    • "You can't beat a bit o' Bully."
    • "Keep out of the black and in the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed."
    • From the 11th series onwards the contestants who took the gamble had to forfeit their money. In the case they lost, all they'd get is their 'BFH - Bus Fare Home'.
    • The revival added one for the first round: "The ones that are lit are the ones you can hit." Contestants that were tempted to take the gamble would also be reminded that if they go for it, "They've had a good day out, but they're going home with nowt!"
  • Christmas Episode: The show had a number of them over the years, mainly featuring celebrities teamed with dart players for charity.
  • Conspicuous CG: The intro sequence used early CGI effects that clashed noticeably with the conventional animation on Bully, although at the time it was pretty new and exciting.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first series (Produced by ATV, who were replaced by Central the following year) had a dart throwing contest to determine the order of the teams at the beginning of each episode (this would be done before the show in later series), lower pound values for the questions, no Pounds for Points in the second round (although the team with the higher score still answered the question), and no Tony Green (though Green did appear as a guest thrower in one episode). The set also had a bright green, red and grey color scheme, and the Prize Board featured booby prizes.
    • Tony Green was also off-camera during his first two years as official scorer.
  • Facepalm: Bully would do this if the contestants gambled and lost.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Here for a few delicious ones.
  • Lost Episode / Old Shame: The first two episodes were considered so bad, they were scrapped and never aired; one of those episodes gave away a car.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Occasionally Bowen would appear to interact with Bully and the other animated graphics— most noticeably for the spelling questions ("let's check it with Bully!") and the 90s version of the show's intro.