Super, smashing, great or bus fare home?
It was a near exact replica of the old Bullseye, with the smart sets perhaps trying a little too hard to look like they were still haunted by the slightly embittered ghost of Jim Bowen.
What was smashing about it?
• The questions were actually quite challenging. “What is the capital of Chile?” isn’t that difficult to anyone with a decent education, but is far more difficult than the mind-melting dross found on quiz shows where the primary compulsion is to coerce people only intelligent enough to act as screws in wardrobes into making £5 telephone calls to win a ‘dream holiday’ in Florida.
• Tony Green and his strained, soothing voice that sounds like a hurricane on its day off. “Just take your time” is one of the most evocative, friendly phrases on TV up there along with “And as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared”. And, true to form, as he tried to help one of the players with their aim he spoke over them just as they threw the dart.
• Dave Spikey was a genial host, although he did seem to be trembling a little on the first episode. Yes, his jokes were like those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park cracked out of hibernation after millennia away but they added to the familiar atmosphere.
• The reassuringly cheap sound effects when a contestant gets a question wrong.
• Dave asking umpteen-times world champion Phil Taylor what he’d been doing since his last appearance on Bullseye 11 years ago, as if all those world crowns were insignificant compared with this grand show.
• The classic gamble-or-not dilemma. On the first episode, the winning pair elected to take home their winnings so Dan and Matt were given a chance. It all looked doomed to failure until Dan hit treble 20 with his last dart and won them the prize of a luxury home entertainment system.
• As each episode is preceded by one from the old series, a significant improvement can be seen on the faces of the new contestants. In that they don’t have moustaches, or more pertinently they don’t have moustaches flecked red with the blood from a thousand pub car park fights.
• And on the old Bullseye, the promotional film for the ubiquitous trip to Florida was amateurish and shaky as though shot by terrorists mapping out the resort before they bombed it.
What reeked of the cattleyard?
• The audience seem to have been rooted to the same spot in the same studio since Bullseye last finished on ITV.
• The star prize was garnished by a blonde model perched on the stand as though the 90s had never happened.
• Despite inflation, in the first round the prizes still start at £30 and work their way up to £50 and then £100.
• Dave Spikey exclaiming “Bullseye!” at every juncture he can. This isn’t so much irritating in itself, it’s more that it evokes memories of Chris Evans at his sycophantic worst on TFI Friday when a big (usually American) guest would come on and he’d spend the first five minutes of the interview just shouting the star’s name to rapturous applause from his retinue of toadies who squeezed into the bar area like human lice.
• No longer do a pair of working class blokes from Wolverhampton win a speedboat.