Bullseye (UK game show)

: "Not to be confused with an American game show of the same name with a different premise. See Bullseye (US game show) for details."Infobox Television
show_name = Bullseye

caption =
format = Game Show
runtime = 30mins (inc. comms)
presenter = Jim Bowen
(1981 - 1995)
Dave Spikey
starring = Tony Green
country = UK
network = ITV (28 September, 1981 - 8 July, 1995) Challenge (17 April, 2006 - 22 September, 2006)
first_aired = 28 September, 1981
last_aired = 22 September, 2006
num_episodes = 391
imdb_id =

"Bullseye" is a British television programme. It was first made by ATV and Central for ITV between 1981 and 1995, and hosted by Jim Bowen. In its prime, it was watched by around 15 million viewers on Sunday evenings, where it was shown from 1982 to early 1993. The first series (1981) was on Monday nights, and the last two series (1994 and 1995) were on Saturday evenings. After an eleven-year hiatus, a new series has been recorded for the satellite channel Challenge, produced by Granada.

Centred around darts, the show places three pairs of contestants (each team with one person to answer questions and one darts player) against one another to win prizes ranging from a new car, a speedboat, a caravan, or a luxury holiday, to the consolation prize of a set of darts, a tankard (silver goblet for lady contestants) and a 'Bendy Bully', a rubber model of the show's mascot.


Nearest To The Bull (started the game)

Before the main game, the three dart playing contestants would throw one dart each on a special board to determine the order of play. This happened in the green room before the show and was adjudicated by the production team

Category Round

In round 1, the darts players throw one dart at a board in which each segment represents a different category of question (such as Faces, Places, Sport, Showbiz, Affairs, History, Books, Words, Britain, Spelling). The first set of questions is worth £30 each, the next set (more difficult) is worth £50, and the final set (more difficult still) is worth £100. The cash prize for hitting the board varies depending on what part of the category board is hit; the easiest part of the board to hit wins £30, a slightly harder part wins £50, a narrow and difficult-to-reach part wins £100, and hitting the bullseye wins the maximum cash prize of £200 (£150 from 2006). If contestants hit a category which they have not chosen, they would win no money for the throw, and could only win money through answering the question if a question on the category had not already been asked. If a contestant hits a category which had already turned up on that programme, the host will say "The category's gone, so we can't ask the question" and carry on. Up to and including the 1987-88 series, the lowest-scoring couple would be eliminated at the end of the first round, but from the 1988-89 series onward, all three couples would stay in the game for the second round.

Pounds For Points

In round 2, the darts players throw three darts at a time at a traditional Matchplay dartboard, with the highest scoring team given the chance to convert the number of points scored to pounds by answering a general knowledge question. An incorrect answer causes the question to be passed in turn to the second-highest and lowest scoring teams. After three rounds of play the pair with the highest total winnings goes through to the next round. The other pairs receive a set of darts, a tankard (silver goblet for female contestants) a 'Bendy Bully' and the money that they had won from the 2 rounds, which is counted during the commercial break.

Charity interlude

Immediately at the start of part 2, a professional darts player or other celebrity throws nine darts, with the score converted to money for the charity of the final contestant's choice. A score over 301 was doubled. At the end of the series (from the 1985-86 series onward) the dart player who got the highest score in the series received a 'Bronze Bully' trophy. In the earlier years of the show (up to and including the 1984-85 series) the celebrity player was given a 60 head-start; between then and 1995, the charity segment was exclusive to professional dart players. Celebrities who performed particularly badly (as when an obviously worse-for-wear George Best missed the board) would usually offer to 'add some of their own money'.

Bully's Prize Board

In this round the final pair is faced with a large prizeboard containing black and smaller red segments. They throw 9 darts (3 for the non-dart player and 6 for the dart player) and win a prize for each red segment they hit (however, if they hit an already-hit red segment again, the prize is lost - hence the catchphrase "Keep out of the black, and in the red; there's nothing in this game for two in a bed"). However, in special charity episodes, contestant did win the prize twice. The bullseye represented 'Bully's special prize'. The prizeboard has become the butt of jokes since the programme's original demise because of the perceived poor quality of prizes on offer, but it should be pointed out that, for most of the programme's original run, prize values were restricted by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Although some prizes (such as a remote-controlled toy cat) 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 recent episode, Bully's Special Prize was a fully-functional Bullseye Fruit Machine, quite possibly the most valuable prize in the show's history not to be the Mystery Star Prize- It should come to little surprise that the contestants promptly lost it after doing badly in the final round.

During Series 1, the black segments were green.

Bully's Star Prize Gamble

Having completed Bully's Prize Board, the winning pair is presented with the option of whether to gamble their winnings from the prize board for the mystery star prize hidden behind a screen in the studio. From the 1991-92 series onward, they also have to gamble the money they had won earlier in the show (it was at this point that the phrase "all you'll win is your BFH - Bus Fare Home" came about). If they gamble, they then had six darts (three for each member of the team) to score 101 or more on a standard matchplay dartboard. Contestants who failed to reach 101 were then invited to "have a look what you would have won", by Jim.

If the couple who took part in Bully's Prize Board refuses to gamble (inevitably ducking out claiming that they'd already had a "smashing day, Jim" and would like "to give the others a chance"), the second-place couple from the second round is asked to gamble their money. If the second couple decline, the third couple is asked. On the rare occasions that no couple takes up the gamble the star prize is revealed and the show ends. The star prize is usually a holiday (especially in later series), a car, a caravan or a speedboat. Sometimes less lavish star prizes (fitted kitchens and the like) were given away so as to fit within the IBA's prize limits. If in the rare case, both the second and third place contestants had tied on equal points (prior to the 1987-1988 series), then they would have to play a round. The winning couple would have the first chance to gamble.

On the show, it is never made clear if the two winning contestants have to share the star prize or if they get one each. The issue of the star prize being completely inappropriate is never broached either - prizes like speedboats are unlikely to be useful for contestants living in blocks of flats in Wolverhampton.Although Jim Bowen did on some occasions utter phrases such as"And you live by the sea - that's good ...so you can use it" when he could put a positive spin on the situation.


In more recent years, people have started to remember Bullseye again, and its popularity has risen. Bullseye was one of several game shows to be released as an interactive DVD game for Christmas 2005, although the game did not feature the voice of Jim Bowen, and 'Bully' was redesigned. A Bullseye boardgame was made around the same time. [http://www.bullseyeonline.net/Bully's%20%20Gifts/Bully's%20%20Gifts.htm]

A 'Classic Bullseye' DVD Game was released the following year, which featured the Voice of both Jim Bowen & Tony Green & also classic footage from the show. A second edition of the board game was also released.

In 2005 it was announced that programme creator Andrew Wood had signed a contract with Granada Media for Granada to produce a 1 hour long celebrity special 'Bullseye' show to be hosted by Ant & Dec.

This 'Bullseye' special was part of "Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon", in turn part of ITV’s 50th anniversary birthday celebrations and was aired on ITV on 22 October 2005.

Andrew Wood signed an exclusive option Agreement with Granada Media. This exclusive option is for 6 months at the end of which Granada Media can extend the option period for a further 6 months.

Granada had decided during this period that a new series of Bullseye would be produced early next year. On January 25 2006, it was announced that Challenge won the rights to show the new series. [http://www.bullseyeonline.net/newBullseye_pressrelease.htm]

Jim Bowen was not asked back to present the show, possibly due to allegedly racist comments [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/entertainment/tv_and_radio/2307607.stm] that he had made earlier in 2002 on a local BBC radio show he was presenting. Following these comments 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 hiccoughs 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." It was announced on 2006-03-14 that comedian Dave Spikey would present the show, despite tabloid rumours that it would be presented by Ant and Dec or Peter Kay. Bully was also redesigned for the new series.

Bullseye returned to the UK on Challenge at 22:00 on 17 April 2006. The show maintained the style of prizes from the original — none of the cash prizes have increased in value since the first show. 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, who had remained from the original Bullseye, 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..." then joking around about some of the more "naff" prizes on the show.

Additional Information

The show is co-hosted by professional darts commentator Tony Green.

The show is nearly unique in having two different closing theme tunes — an upbeat tune played when the contestants win the star prize, and a tune in a minor key played when they lose or nobody takes the gamble.

Jim Bowen once described Bullseye as "the second-best darts-based game show on television". There are no others.

From 1981-1989 the show was recorded at ATV / Central House in Broad Street Birmingham and from 1990-1995 the show moved to The Television House the home of Central Independent Television Nottingham.

Programme Associates on the show were Mickey Brennan and Roger Edwards.

The revival of Bullseye is now recorded at Yorkshire Television studios in Leeds West Yorkshire.

The theme music for the show was written by John Patrick, a successful musician who has written a number of theme tunes for commercial television shows.

A New Broadband version of "Bullseye" (As well as other British game shows past and present) can be played at the website wedigtv.com either for fun or for money. This game uses a unique combination of old footage and "Virtual" players to play the game. Some differences in this game include the lack of the Charity round and that no gambling is required for the Star Prize Bonus, as all points earned are cumulative.

Revival series presenter Dave Spikey, had also appeared as a contestant on the show in the 80's versions.

Bullseye was repeated on Granada Plus from 2000 until the channel closed in 2004 and Bullseye moved to Challenge TV.


The repetitive, ordered nature of the show's format tended to result in the dialogue being practically the same from week to week - only the contestants' names would change. This resulted in an extraordinary number of Bullseye 'catchphrases' seeping into the public consciousness in a short space of time and becoming a central part of its charm.

*"It's a Bullseye, and here's your host Jim Bowen"
*"It's a Bullseye, and here's your host Dave Spikey"
*"Keep out of the black and in the red - nothing in this game for two in a bed"
*"You can't beat a bit o' Bully!"
*"See you back on the oche in a couple of throws"
*"It'll take me two minutes to count it out"
*"It's pounds for points"
*"Let's just check that wi' Bully." (On checking whether the contestant had correctly answered a spelling question. This involved the 'Bully' character moving along the bottom of the screen revealing the correct spelling of the word in question whilst reading a dictionary. Jim Bowen would rather awkwardly point to each letter in time with Bully movements.)
*"It's the wrong answer, and there's a light on"
*"Let's have a look at what you could have have won."
*"You've got the time it takes the board to revolve to tell us what you would like to do
*"I'm afraid you've been 'Bully'd' out" (The Bully character's 'Moooo' signified that the contestant had run out of time to answer a question). (That is when Bully appeared on your television screen going 'Mooooooo' with smoke coming out of his mouth)
*"One hundred and one or more... for tonight's star prize... six darts... take your time... off you go boys"
*"Just settle in boys, take your time and listen to Tony"
*"Super! Smashing! Great!" although Bowen denies ever saying this, and it is almost certainly a misquote, probably popularised by Spitting Image. In reality, Bowen would frequently use these words in isolation, but never in succession; infamously, he once replied 'smashing' after a contestant told him they had recently become unemployed. The mythical "catchphrase" was famously used in a UK poster advertising campaign for Skol Lager in 1993 and 1994.
*"All for the throw of a dart."
*"You get your BFH.....Bus fare home!" (1991 to 1995 only)
*"You've hit 'words', and the category's gone"
*"Let's see what Bully's prize board has for you tonight"
*"Innnnn ONE, Innnnn TWO, Innnnn THREE, Innnnn FOUR, Innnnn FIVE, Innnnn SIX, Innnnn SEVEN, Innnnn EIGHT, and Bully's special priiiiize..."
*"That's Red, It's number..."
*"Red, Number..."
*"And Red again, number..."
*"I want you to consider a gamble, the money you've won, that's safe, your charity money's safe too, it's these prizes. Would you like to gamble your prizes, for tonight's star prize, which is hiding behind Bully?"
*"You have the time it takes for the board to revolve, to let us know what you want to do"
*"We've had a lovely day Jim. I think we'll give someone else a chance." (Often said by contestants who had done well on the prize board - and did not wish to gamble).
*"And that's the bullseye"
*"This is what you could have won"
*"Oh Dear, never mind. Come and have a look at what you would have won."
*"Showbiz we'd like (the contestant would then inevitably miss the showbiz category. "
*"Wake up to a nice hot cuppa with this Goblin tea's maid!"
*"For that little tyke!, It's a BMX bike!!!"
*"From TVS (etc.), we've got a lovely couple" (instead of introducing contestants as, for example, person A from town Y, in the programme's early years they were always person A from ITV region Y, which was unusual. This habit had largely ceased by the fifth series in 1985-86 and had disappeared entirely by the sixth series in 1986-87.)
*"The ones which are lit, are the ones you can hit." - used by Dave Spikey
*"If you don't make it, well, you've had a good day out, but you're goin' home with nowt." (used by Dave Spikey in reference to contestants who choose to gamble)
*"You risked it, You missed it." (Used by Dave Spikey when contestants lose the gamble)
*"Aw not another speedboat! (In the speedboat series)
*"Lovely couple from the Tyne-Tees area". Despite Bowen's school teacher background, he seemed incapable of standard geographical terminology and constantly referred to contestants' origins by their ITV region.

External links

* [http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Bullseye "Bullseye"] at UKGameshows.com

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bullseye (U.S. game show) — Infobox television show name = Bullseye caption = Bullseye title logo. format = Game Show runtime = 30 Minutes creators = Jack Barry Dan Enright starring = Jim Lange host Jay Stewart Charlie O Donnell Announcers country = USA rating=TV G network …   Wikipedia

  • Twenty One (game show) — infobox television show name = Twenty One caption = Logo of the Maury Povich version format = Quiz Show runtime = 60 minutes country = USA starring = Jack Barry (1956 version) Monty Hall (temporary replacement; summer 1958) Jim Lange (1982… …   Wikipedia

  • Hot Potato (game show) — Infobox Television show name = Hot Potato caption = show name 2 = Celebrity Hot Potato genre = Game show creator = writer = Scott Wyant director = Richard S. Kline starring = Bill Cullen narrated = Charlie O Donnell theme music composer = Hal… …   Wikipedia

  • Blank Check (game show) — Infobox Television show name = Blank Check caption = format = Game Show runtime = 30 minutes (per episode) creator = Jack Barry starring = Art James as the host; Johnny Jacobs as the announcer country = USA network = NBC first aired = January 6,… …   Wikipedia

  • Gameshow Marathon (UK game show) — Infobox Television show name = Gameshow Marathon format = Game show picture format = 16:9 runtime = 60 to 90 minutes creator = presenter = Ant Dec (Series 1) Vernon Kay (Series 2) voices = Peter Dickson channel = ITV country = UK first aired = 17 …   Wikipedia

  • The Price Is Right (U.S. game show) — The Price Is Right Format Game show Created by Mark Goodson Bill Todman Directed b …   Wikipedia

  • The Price Is Right (UK game show) — Infobox Television show name = The Price Is Right (UK) caption = The Price Is Right (UK) Logo (1984 1988) format = Game Show picture format = 4:3 (1984 2000) 16:9 (2001 2007) runtime = 60mins (inc. adverts) (1984 1988) 30mins (inc. adverts) (1989 …   Wikipedia

  • The Price Is Right (Australian game show) — The Price Is Right was a television game show that has been produced in a number of different formats in Australia. Original format Two regional versions based on the original 1950s US format aired nearly concurrently: one on ATN 7 in Sydney,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of programs broadcast by Game Show Network — This is a list of television programs formerly or currently broadcast by GSN. * programs currently airing on GSN. 0 9 * $1.98 Beauty Show * 100 Winners * The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time A * Ace in the House * All About Faces * American… …   Wikipedia

  • Bullseye — A bullseye is the center of a target of concentric circles.Bullseye may also refer to:* ʘ, a phonetic symbol for bilabial click * Bullseye (CNBC), U.S. TV news program * Bullseye (Bull Terrier) the dog mascot of Target Corporation, which also… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.