Many people claimed the presenter would be ‘cancelled’ today after seeing an old tape from an episode of the quiz show Bullseye in which he made a joke about a woman’s weight.
From 1981 until 2006, the show’s format featured three pairs of players, each consisting of an amateur darts player and a quizzer, competing in darts and quizzes for cash and prizes.
During its initial 14-year run, Jim Bowen presented the original series, which broadcast on ITV.
The stand-up comedian and TV host didn’t mind making a few jokes at contestants’ expense, including one that has some asking whether his brand of humour is still appropriate today.
In the video, which has been circulating on social media after resurfacing, he asks the woman where she’s from before mocking her weight.
‘Tell us, you went on a sponsored slim, didn’t you?’ he said.
They’d cancel Bullseye in 2024! 🎯
— Best of British Comedy (@BestOfUKComedy) January 6, 2024
‘How much do you owe?’ he added.
Although Bowen appeared to garner a chuckle from the audience at the moment, he quickly apologised before making a joke about another participant.
‘That’s very unkind of me, that. I knew they were good sports – has to be, wearing a dress like that,’ he said while pointing at the other woman in a striped dress.
‘Lovely to have you both with us.’
Commenting on the clip, one person said the complaints line would be ‘red hot’ if this was said now.
‘Imagine this happening today. The switchboards would melt,’ Phil Rostron shared.
A user called Clive added: ‘These days he would have been cancelled for that comment.’
While someone joked about the ‘outcry’ that a similar statement would generate today, they and many others rallied behind the joke, labelling those who disagreed as’snowflakes’.
‘I remember this at the time and fell off the settee laughing… wouldn’t happen today there would be an uproar,’ Tim wrote.
However, one individual criticised the statement, calling it ‘public bullying’.
Meanwhile Tony Warne made a plea: ‘You can’t remake that show; it was unique, so bad but so good. Whoever is revamping it just don’t.’
However, just a few days ago, it was announced that discussions are underway to bring it back.
Following the tremendous interest in Luke Littler’s journey through the World Darts Championship, it is claimed he is to blame for the show’s prospective rebirth.
While no official discussions appear to have occurred, former Top Gear host Paddy McGuinness was touted as a possible host.
‘ITV is already in discussions to bring back Bullseye after this year’s final drew in the event’s highest viewership in history,’ an insider told The Sun.
‘It’s early days, but ITV thinks it could be hugely successful.’
After ITV cancelled the show, Challenge TV revived it in 2006, but it did not become successful.
After two seasons, it was chopped again, this time by comic Dave Spikey.