How a Norfolk man helped put Jim Bowen in touch with Bullseye producer


PICTURE OF DAVID CLAYTON, JIM BOWEN, AND BRIAN RUSSELL. Photo: Julian Nicholls - Credit: © Eastern Counties Newspapers

BBC Radio Norfolk's former editor has revealed how his 'nagging' put comedian Jim Bowen in touch with the producer of Bullseye.

David Clayton recalled the story as he paid tribute to the late broadcaster, whose death was announced on Wednesday.

The TV star, who was best-known for hosting the darts-based game show, was aged 80.

Mr Clayton said the show's producer had contacted him in the 1970s on the day Mr Bowen was travelling to Norwich to perform.

'This was long before mobile phones,' Mr Clayton said. 'We would get messages to our agency phone saying can you get him to ring the TV producer.

'But Jim was in Norwich to have a bit of fun and see his mates for a drink, and I don't think he wanted to be bothered with it at the time.

'But this guy kept ringing.

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'I remember dialling the number and putting the phone in Jim's hand and saying 'you have to talk this man'.'

The call was from the producers of Bullseye, which Mr Bowen went on to host. The show aired for 15 years and was watched by more than 12 million viewers.

Mr Clayton, 65, said it would be 'stretching' it to say he played a part in helping Mr Bowen get the role. Instead he said: 'I merely nagged him to make the call back.'

He said the former comedian used to stay at his mum's house on Gordon Avenue in Thorpe St Andrew when he was performing in Norwich in the 1970s.

At that time, Mr Bowen would visit the city to perform at The Talk on Oak Street.

'He was a live wire,' Mr Clayton said. 'And he was one of the funniest comedians I have ever seen.

'He would turn up for three days in Norwich and was the life and soul of the party.'

Mr Clayton, who co-owned the Norwich Artistes entertainment agency with Brian Russell at the time, said: 'My mum used to put him up in our spare room.

'She would always try and get him to eat his tea, but Jim was always on his feet darting around.'

'I thought Jim was great and I'm sad that he has gone.'