Jim Bowen

Jim Bowen

Date of birth: 20-08-1937
Cheshire-born Jim Bowen came into comedy while working as a teacher in Lancashire, balancing gigs on the northern club circuit with his day job as deputy headmaster of Caton Primary School.

He got his break on Granada TV’s The Comedians, which showcased such comics in the Seventies, and its follow-up The Wheeltappers and Shunters’ Social Club.

Various TV guest appearances followed, but it was his 14-year stint as host of the darts quiz Bullseye, from 1981, which propelled him into the public consciousness. In 2005, he performed a solo show at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe about the show, called You Can't Beat A Bit of Bully, which he occasionally tours.

Other notable TV appearances include playing crooked accountant Charles Sprowle in ITV’s 1982 drama Muck and Brass, opposite Mel Smith; a guest appearance in Jonathan Creek opposite Alan Davies; and a cameo in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. He was also the face of Tetley Bitter, playing barman Alf in 14 TV ads which aired in the north of England.

In 1999 he started hosting a morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire, but had to quit in 2002 after calling a woman a 'nig-nog' on air. He claimed he meant it in terms of someone who 'wasn't the sharpest knife in the box’, but its racial connotations cost him his job.

Bowen's autobiography, From a Bundle oOf Rags, was published in 1992 ; and another book of memoirs Right Place, Right Time came out in 2002, and was updated five years later.

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