FORMER boxing champion Frank Bruno and a number of darts stars have led tributes to Jim Bowen following the death of the former Bullseye presenter.
The TV star – who presented the darts-based game show in the 1980s and 1990s – is to be remembered by Challenge TV on Saturday as the channel announced it would be broadcasting 24 hours of Bullseye as a tribute.
The station also said they would re-run a documentary on the game show on Wednesday evening following the “terribly sad news”.
Ex-professional darts players Bobby George, Keith Deller and Eric Bristow were among those paying tribute on social media, with George thanking Bowen “for the great Bullseye days”, adding “we had so much fun”.
Jim Bowen RIP great comic we worked together many times had a lot of laughs together. Jim & Ken Dodd sad time for the entertainment industry pic.twitter.com/1tW1XRZvxn
— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) March 14, 2018
Deller tweeted: “So sad to hear the news of my friend Jim Bowen who passed away. I was very fortunate to go on Bullseye many times. It was great to be one of Jim’s guests on his This is your life.
“He always made you very welcomed and he made bullseye the great show it was. RIP Jim.”
Ex-heavyweight boxer Bruno tweeted: “Jim Bowen RIP great comic we worked together many times had a lot of laughs together. Jim & Ken Dodd sad time for the entertainment industry.”
Just heard the sad news about Jim Bowen. he was a lovely man. RIP
— Leigh Francis (@LeighFrancis) March 14, 2018
Darts player Kevin Painter posted “thanks for the memories Jim” while Bristow added: “I done every year of Bullseye and 10 xmas shows and had 15 days with him on the QE2 i played Darts in the afternoon and he played with his band at night, we had some late nights ha ha, Great memories #RIPJimBowen.”
The show’s Twitter account posted a message from creator Andrew Wood and his daughter Laura: “We are devastated to announce that our friend & Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen has passed away.”
“Our love and thoughts go out to Jim’s family. Thank you for all the memories Jim, you will be greatly missed.”
Paddy McGuinness, who starred alongside Bowen in Peter Kay sitcom Phoenix Nights, wrote on Twitter: “Man this week sucks! RIP Jim Bowen. It was a pleasure to spend the day with him while filming his scenes for Phoenix Nights.”
Very sorry to hear of the passing of Jim Bowen.A very funny man.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) March 14, 2018
John Clayton, Bowen’s editor at BBC Radio Lancashire – where he worked for three years from 1999 – also paid tribute.
He said: “Every day was a joy as he took our listeners on a radio adventure where no-one was ever quite sure about the destination, least of all Jim.
“Sketches, competitions, interviews and even ‘talent’ shows, Jim handled them all in his unique, irreverent and delightfully shambolic way, but his humanity and his love of life and the people of Lancashire always shone through.
“In an interview to mark his 80th birthday, Jim said that the years spent on the Happy Daft Farm were the best and happiest of his long career in entertainment and all of us at BBC Radio Lancashire were delighted and proud to share them with him. Our thoughts are with Phyllis, Pete and Sue.”