You Can't Beat A Bit Of Bully: Celebrating The Contestants of Bullseye

Bullseye is a British game show classic. But darts aside, the real highlight was the contestants themselves.
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Bullseye is a British game show classic. But darts aside, the real highlight was the contestants themselves.

Jim Bowen was right. You really can’t beat a bit of Bully.

At least that’s what I’ve found to be the case, because since ‘Challenge’ started repeating this most hallowed of TV series’, I’ve been having myself a tremendous amount of fun capturing the best part of the show – the contestants.

Always badly dressed, always badly coiffed, they’re a shining reminder of the peculiar age that was the 1980s.

Of course we didn’t all look like that – the human race would have in all probability died out. No, for some reason, Bullseye attracted a very specific type of 1980s breed.

The hair had to be either big or a weird shape, ideally both; beards were to be worn in the style of serial killers; moustaches in the style of porn stars; and the glasses had to be BIG. I’m talking almost touching the jowls big, with lenses that magnified the eyes to frightening proportions.

As for the fashion; all bets were off.

Shell suits, matching darts shirts, glittery waistcoats - you never knew what your eyes would be assaulted with from one show to the next. One thing was for sure though; on the rare occasion that a lady contestant would turn up – much to Jim’s delight – you’d be treated to a garish blouse that could give you a migraine on sight.

The picture entitled ‘The Fun Twins’ for example was taken after they had won a load of goodies. They were just too terrified of being on TV to smile.

Something that can’t be captured in the pictures however is the other peculiar charm of these people. Always shy, they would often mumble incoherently through Jim’s interview with them at the top of the show. Whispering nervous, mono syllabic answers to his overbearing questions, laughing nervously at his awful jokes, and becoming frozen to the spot whenever they were addressed at any point throughout the show.

They wouldn’t even loosen up if they got to Bully’s Prize Board and had the chance to win a wind surfer for which they had no actual use (God knows why anyone ever gambled). The picture entitled ‘The Fun Twins’ for example was taken after they had won a load of goodies. They were just too terrified of being on TV to smile.

Unlike people who go on television nowadays, they were not there to have their five minutes, to show off, get famous or be seen by the nation; they were to play darts, answer piss easy general knowledge questions - and God willing, win a colour TV.

And so it is with absolute affection that I put together this Bullseye Tumblr. I hope you like it.

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