should you wish to pursue reading this post, then a word of advice. actually there are probably several words of advice which should be conveyed to you, look you see, but this is the most pressing. i suggest you stop reading now and go get yourself comfortable, perhaps with a cup of tea. and then continue reading. with some 17 pictures appearing in this post and my penchant for doing balanced text around them, this could be a lengthy read.
or, you know, you might get bored and switch off. i simply don't know.
and so then, yes, as the title pretty much says, more of a favourite subject of mine - Bullseye. the celebrated TV show what Jim Bowen hosted in the 80s and 90s, long before anyone thought to give him a call and asked if he fancied a crack at being Pope for a while as the German bloke they picked to do that turned out to fall short of expectations.
first and foremost, then, attribution. i am humbly indebted to a company called Challenge TV for broadcasting repeat episodes of Bullseye. and you are indebted too, albeit tacitly so, if you enjoy reading this and all the other posts i have done on this most magnificent show. in doing so, however, they have inadvertently - perhaps unwittingly - allowed many of the myths, mysteries and secrets of Bullseye to be known by the wider, general public.
these were matters kept secret in the sense of that one saying. which saying? that the best place to hide a rock is in a pile of rocks. as in, in plain sight but with no attention drawn. when Bullseye was first broadcast the low resolution and low definition of analogue, terrestrial broadcast television meant that the secrets were obscured. now we watch the show again on far higher definition, better quality television sets. now we can see things we may not have seen before.
like, for instance, the fact that amongst many, many secret celebrity contestants the show attracted, Limahl out of Kajagoogoo just maybe might have been but one.
it is most decidedly possible, i say in covering myself, indeed plausible, that the above contestant, being greeted by his eminence Jim Bowen, isn't actually Limahl out of Kajagoogoo. but, right, when you look at him in a glance sort of way, i would wager your first words of thought in your mind are "hey, that is Limahl out of Kajagoogoo, you know, him what did the song out of Never Ending Story which for some reason did indeed have a conclusion". am i spelling Kajagoogoo right? hope so.
some people might consider the fact that the contestant in question has a name badge on which reads "Ian" as being all the evidence that they need to say that it isn't Kajagoogoo. without faulting their lateral thinking, that's too obvious. for a start "Limahl out of Kajagoogoo" wouldn't fit on a badge, and it would distract from the Bully emblem. of course a celebrity guest on in secret isn't going to use their real name, and "Ian" is virtually an anagram of Limahl anyway. i suppose he could have gone on with a name badge reading "Nick Beggs" but the fans would not have forgiven such with ease.
as interesting as the above all is (i hope) it was far more common to find celebrity guests in the audience of Bullseye than to witness them as actual contestants. some rather impressive VIP guests graced the audience practically every week. we shall look at this in some detail later on, or we will if you elect to keep reading. in the mean time, though, look at the below and allow your attention to be drawn to the audience quasi cleverly blurred out in the image.
gasp you do as you realise you recognize who exactly that one lady is, but i shall not name her here as i might become a victim of state sponsored assassination for doing so. instead, then, concentrate on the slightly obscured gentleman with the big, bushy moustache. the moustache that looks more than a bit, as in identical, to the one a certain Freddie Mercury had......
it has been announced that the two members of Queen who keep Queen a going concern, that is Brian May (not the one what did the music for Mad Max 2) and Roger Taylor (not the one out of Duran Duran), are making a "biopic" film of Freddie Mercury. with some interest i shall watch it and see if they address a long standing rumour that i have made up. when writing and recording the album The Miracle i have an idea that the band wanted to do a song called Bullseye (Win A Speedboat). Jim Bowen, quite the regular on the rock circuit, stepped in and asked them not to, as it would reveal some of the secrets we will look at here (eventually, i promise, stick around). with the song already done and wishing not to disrespect or offend Jim Bowen, they simply changed a few of the words and released it under the name Khashoggi's Ship. they got away with it as whilst Khashoggi was fairly wealthy and celebrated, he was no Jim Bowen and did not live the Jim Bowen life.
and just who has lived the Jim Bowen life? Jim Bowen, that's who. a complete one off, and none of us are worthy enough to try and emulate all that he has done. so, you know, don't. unless you are James Whittaker, i suppose.
so what was the lure, the appeal and the magic which enticed so many famous people and celebrities on to Bullseye in one capacity or another? and we are talking proper celebrities here; people who had a genuine talent and worked hard to break into the public conscious. not like today, when all you have to do is look plastic, be a bit thick and be easily manipulated as a consequence and making a video of your sexual progressions certainly enables too.
it's because of, rather than despite, the fact that celebrities were proper and revered back then that Bullseye was so popular among the elite of society. their exuberant and extravagant life of splendour pretty much precluded them from what we might consider "normality". as Bullseye was considered the champion of the common man, in the universal sense of mankind, it was a natural lure. what better way to meet the people who had made them so celebrated than via the forum of their show?
there's a wonderful story about Grace Jones which personifies this. no, so far as i am aware Grace was not a part of the Bullseye alumni, but i cannot state as fact that she never sneaked in to the audience. anyway, the story (more of an urban legend) is that she can often be found in corner shops around London and so forth, purchasing cigarettes or whatever else you may buy from such establishments. if she is approached by a member of the public - and admirer perhaps - and asked if she is indeed Grace Jones, apparently she laughs and says "my dear, if i was Grace Jones would i really be in a shop like this?". that is enough to distract.
David Bowie (see above for whether or not he may have been in the Bullseye set at some stage) did something similar. although usually quite open to approaches, when he wanted some quiet time he would walk around with a Greek or Italian newspaper very visible. psychologically this did the trick and made people second guess themselves as to whether or not it was really him. by the time they had decided to ask anyway, he was already off on his travels.
it is absolutely not for me to say whether or not any famous people you believe you can see in the above picture are really who you think they are. let your imagination, your aspiration and your wish to see who that you would want to see be in the picture take total control of the matter.
one of the most compelling theories, and again i have pretty much just made this up, about gameshows is that they are "rigged" or otherwise "fixed". such conspiracies surround things like lotteries and any other such form of contest or game of chance where you may win coins of money. what if they are, but not how you think? perhaps these prizes are set to reward those who have, in a covert and tacit way, served society. maybe all contestants, all lottery winners, etc, are being rewarded in a subtle yet public way for being police informants, assisting governments with subtle matters in a discreet or even discrete way, or have simply pleased a member of the nobility or royalty with their actions.
a factor supporting the above is that game show prizes, quite like cash, tend to be tax free affairs. they also have a built in audit trail, albeit a seminal one. worth thinking about, perhaps, and it would certainly explain why i have not won the lottery as such as of yet.
the above does indeed show he who may or may not be Limahl out of Kajagoogoo (and i am comfortable that i am spelling both of those reasonably right) showing off his skill and prowess at the darts. quite an impressive aim he had, to be sure. but he, with his ostensible partner in the episode, did not do so well as to finish first and triumph towards the penultimate round, Bully's Prize Dartboard. as enthusiasts of the show will know, this does not mean he is excluded entire from the final round proper......
another word on his excellency, if you so wish the Bullseye See, Jim Bowen. exactly how did he feel about the show he is indelibly associated with being such a lure, perhaps irresistible magnet, for the celebrated, revered and famous for society? no one knows for sure as i believe he has not been directly asked. in part, though, you would feel that he shoulders some of the responsibility, if not burden, for this. the calm, reassuring nature of his presence in this world is, by and large, a factor in the attraction. people of all walks of life wanted to be near Jim Bowen because to do so made you feel more at peace and very much at comfort in this world.
not that Jim Bowen was allowed to carry the weight of this alone. a near ever present on Bullseye with him was Tony Green. ostensibly he was there to score the darts when it became clear, early on, that Jim Bowen was not adapted for speed in doing such himself. his soothing voice and calm ways steadied the nerves of contestants, and was equally as pleasant a thing to experience as the ways of Jim Bowen.
there is another important service which Tony Green brought to Bullseye, but we shall address that a bit later on. i do, in this regard, hope that the myths, mysteries and secrets revealed so far are keeping you interested enough to keep reading.
in something of an ostensible nature the above depicts his grace Jim Bowen bidding farewell to he who might be Limahl off of Kajagoogoo and his partner. although French seldom played a particularly strong part or had any relevance to Bullseye, which in many respects shows how the show reflected the reality of the era, au revoir may well be the best way to describe the above exchange. not being the contestants that made it to Bully's Prize Dartboard did not automatically mean your presence on the show was concluded.
that said, at this stage of proceedings in an episode - that is, when a set of contestants are to exit stage left on a temporary or permanent basis - something important happens. they are presented with, well, a presentation i suppose.
you can get a glimpse of the presentation, or presented items, above, but in the below it is somewhat more clearer. a more better look, if you so wish to see.
quite, there is a case to say that someone like me need say no more on the prizes all contestants on Bullseye were able to walk away with, for on an ostensible level they have been well covered and are particularly well known of. but just maybe there is more to them than meets a superficial eye.
just what if the tankard, the goblet and the somewhat sacramental sculpture of Bully were all far more symbolic than assumed in the 80s? perhaps in ceremonially awarding these - quite publicly, let us not forget - Jim Bowen was welcoming the recipients in an ordaining way to a select sect within society. once accepted the recipient was now ipso facto a member of a part of society that, like a rock within a pile of rocks, operated under very different laws and customs what would apply to the likes of you and i.
this would certainly explain the staunch vetting of contestants on the show which presumably happened. i mean, yes, sure, you could purchase replica tankards and goblets (maybe in the latter, i did not search ebay for them) at the time and now, but they would not have been touched by Jim Bowen. as such the powers of separate laws and customs would not be applicable to the owner. it would be of unfortunate consequence for them to act as if they did should they be found to hold but a replica one.
at some point earlier i mentioned Tony Green, with a promise of returning to him. this is now.
numerous aspects of Tony Green tend to play on the mind of audiences. two of them shall be discussed now. the first of these is the most obvious. as illustrated in the two pictures we have seen here you rarely, if ever, saw him face on. one conspiracy theory about this is that it was because it was rare that the real Tony Green appeared; a stunt double was deployed for the dangerous bits like contestants throwing darts. many cite the evidence of this as being the body double used to complete Oliver Reed's scenes in Gladiator, and for that matter Brandon Lee's bits in The Crow.
the truth is quite different. at all times i really was Tony Green. don't think, however, in terms of him having his back to the camera; concentrate on where he was looking. sure, in part he was looking at the dartboard to score the game, but also he was keeping an eye on the audience. in a highly charitable and generous way, Tony Green observed the star studded, celebrity audience at all times to make sure they were at comfort and getting the very most from the Bullseye experience.
my favourite mystery of Bullseye relates to Tony Green's attire. fans will be quite far away from needing me to say that he had two styles of dress. for those not in the know, Tony (or rather Mr Green) was either wearing a very posh and dapper suit, or he was wearing more smart casual clothes, normally complemented by a Pringle of Scotland or Slazenger style golf jumper, as made popular by the late, great Seve Ballesteros.
absolutely nothing about what Tony Green wore was random. it was very deliberate. again, this is all hiding a rock within a pile of rocks. in episodes where Tony Green was wearing smart casual clothes it possibly meant that the audience contained just regular members of the elite of society, such as actors, actresses, singer, artists, sporting champions and the wealthy. if, however, Tony Green was in a suit, then there is every chance that it signified the audience contained members of the aristocracy, the nobility and, gasp, royalty.
what you are looking at above is one of several (nine) luxury prizes casually presented to winning participants in the penultimate round, which once again was Bully's Prize Dartboard. this was number 5 on Bully's Prize Dartboard, and please do not think for one moment that there was anything casual or random about behind which numbers the prizes were located. as we have seen, it may well have been that Limahl in disguise was a contestant on this episode. this luxury car stereo was (from what i remember) behind number 5. and guess what the highest chart position of Kajagoogoo's ostensible debut album, White Feathers, was in the UK? yes, 5. co-incidence? i think not.
luxury is indeed the key to the above. the prize looks, in the 21st century, to be a pretty rudimentary car stereo system off of the 80s, before the world all went CD and then DAB and "streaming" in cars. not so, not quite. this is a top of the range JVC cassette deck and radio, and is accompanied by Sahsio speakers. rather infamously the only cars in the 80s what where capable of handing the installation of a JVC deck with Sashio speakers were probably limousines, Bentleys, Rolls Royce and top end Mercedes Benz models. as in, this prize would only be of any practical use to the elite of society.
there is an awful lot of conjecture here for you to digest, if indeed you have read all of this so far and intend to read more. a pause could well be appropriate. now let us do this, but do so with another image of the audience for this particular episode. gasp, revel and admire in awe the astonishing number of famous, important and celebrated people gathered together to watch Bullseye, if you so choose to do so.
how come none of these theories, or if you like myths, mysteries and secrets, of Bullseye never came out in the 80s? well, the "internet" as we know it now did not exist then, at least not for the public. those welcomed to the fraternity depicted here have of course always had it, accessing it by very specially adapted Commodore 64 differentiation engines, probably. but also why would someone reveal this information then? should a ship be set ail on steady waters there can surely be no reason to rock it.
from a celebrity point of view - the exalted and the important - the lure of Jim Bowen then is what we all know it now, considering the elevated position he was put in recently. many knew his wisdom, guidance and compassionate advice would allow them to secure greatness. others rejected such, and they either went on to be no one of consequence or fell in disgrace, sometimes in the form of a custodial sentence. to be wise is to know when you need help and direction. Jim Bowen gave this to those that would seek it, freely and openly via the conduit of Bullseye.
am i close to exhausting all that i could possibly say on the subject of Bullseye in this post? very nearly. i would fancy that this takes longer to read than it would to simply watch the episode i have randomly used as an example, but anyway it's done now and here we are.
above is the climax of Bullseye. this is where - in the first instance - the winners who played in the penultimate round get the chance to gamble the prizes they won off of Bully's Prize Dartboard against a special mystery prize. well, this fluctuated. sometimes it was just the prizes they won they gambled, in other instances they had to put the cash they won in rounds one and two down as a stake in the wager too. yes i do know why this changed from time to time, but i am sorry some secrets must remain such.
the contestants on Bully's Prize Dartboard were not compelled to take the final gamble. they had the time it took the dartboard to rotate, in accordance with decidedly Masonic rotation principles, to decide. during this time the audience were encouraged to shout out whether they believed the contestants should gamble or not. at face value this seemed like a bit of interaction or banter, but no this was not all. a rock hidden in a pile or rocks once more. whilst we heard what we assumed was a bus load of pensioners screaming, the contestants - and Jim Bowen - had special hearing attuned to one voice in the crowd alone. i cannot reveal their identity, but addressing them as your majesty would probably not be incorrect. they, and they alone determined whether the contestants should gamble, or defer to contestants previously and as it turns out temporarily eliminated.
as you can see in the above, in this instance the contestants that finished second were the ones to take on Bully's Prize Gamble. this is as was said from a key member of the audience. but we shall, again, get to this later.
much of Jim Bowen's charming and unassuming demeanour excluded people from seeing the obvious. this obvious is that he not quite flaunted but certainly did not hide away any of the elements explored in this post. look at the way he is stood in the above, for instance. is that someone of very significant importance he is partially obscuring from view?
the natural actions of Jim Bowen did not distract you and make you think of what he was doing. for a start, going on what episodes i can remember, never once did he wear the same shirt, suit and tie twice. at least not in the same combination. also, contestants were always paid in cash, counted out by Jim Bowen for all the world to see. other than the fact that, as highlighted earlier, cash being tax free, why did no one ever clock that Jim Bowen, in the 80s, had several thousands of pounds in his suit pocket at any given moment? it is right and proper that all what he done with Bullseye was so richly rewarded as to be able to walk around with such amounts.
Limahl, or in the interests of cover and accuracy "Ian", and his partner went on to take on Bully's Prize Gamble as the incumbent winners were instructed not to do so. the objective of this contest is to score 101 or more with 6 darts. to do so sees you win the special prize, to fail would be to forfeit the money won in cash. the cash that you had won had to be handed back to his excellency Jim Bowen prior to you being permitted to take the gamble.
and so in this instance it came to pass that Limahl / "Ian" and his partner were most triumphant in the challenge, scoring 101 with precision prior to all six darts being expelled at the board. there was, as ever, much merriment in this victory. being embraced in win by Jim Bowen was a significant blessing that not so many got to experience.
why was 101 selected as the target? again, another myth, mystery or secret. one who thinks 101 instantly thinks of George Orwell and the significance of the number 101 in his arguably most celebrated work, 1984. although i think Animal Farm is the one of most relevance to a modern audience.
the range of possible and potential prizes were hidden behind the screen. of the most popular was certainly the speedboat, which anyone who existed in the 80s and ever lived surely lived with the dream of one day being able to win. sometimes it was a car, or a complete kitchen set. controversially for the time in instances the prize was a holiday to a luxurious island, such as Kos, Australia or the Maldives. how were such holidays made possible? well, no one thought to ask either his eminence Jim Bowen or the great Tony Green if they so happened to own the islands where these holidays were to be held......
perhaps the most popular of special Bully prizes off of Bullseye that i did not mention was a caravan. and not just any caravan, but a luxury one. the type of which might have been thought of to use in the well intentioned, but ultimately ill fated and never realised highly controversial Bullseye Christmas Gangbang concept; something covered in part here.
any particular lure associated with the luxury caravan? plenty? people such as Limahl were forever on tour, doing concerts for the fans. hotels can be quite restrictive, and so a caravan would have been a most splendid and opulent way for a pop star to visit adoring and adulating fans across the land. members of the aristocracy and nobility were too noted for their fondness for caravans, as it allowed them a relatively easy means to visit and inspect the lands over which they ruled.
it would be prudent, i believe, for both you and i for me to cease sharing the secrets of Bullseye that i have thought of and indeed up as i have gone along right here. there can be no value in all being shared. should one know everything then, after all, there would be nothing else left to discover, explore or live for. we would all surely and truly weep like that most famous of Alexander; a leader who could in a sense be described as the Jim Bowen of his day.
leave things be i shall, then, with the expressed hope and wish that if not informative then perhaps this has entertained one or two of you for a little while. that was, perhaps is, my sole intention so far as all of this goes.
do of course be excellent to each other, and remember
you can't beat a bit of Bully.......................................