MOST people who are old enough remember Bullseye - and even those who aren’t - will have seen the repeats which are still screened to this day.

But far fewer people had the privilege of taking part in the classic TV show, hosted by Cumbrian Jim Bowen, which combined quiz and darts to great effect.

Among the contestants in the early 1990s were Lynne and Ken Little, who lived at Haltwhistle at the time.

And they did well, winning their episode thus earning the right to decide whether they wanted to take Bully’s star gamble, and stand a chance of winning Bully’s star prize.

The pair had already bagged a host of prizes, however, including Bully’s special prize - a camcorder, in addition to a washing machine, a microscope and chemistry set, and an SLR camera.

Wisely, they decided not to gamble their haul, or the £423 they had won in prize money.

“I remember it all very well,” said Ken. “It was worth being on Bullseye for the experience. It really was a great day out and they really did look after us.”

The pair’s success should not have been a surprise. Ken was a top amateur darts player who had competed in the Gold League in London, while Lynn, with an impressive IQ, was a natural at general knowledge.

After applying for the show, Ken and Lynne headed for the Border TV studio in Nottingham where they successfully negotiated an audition, which involved Ken hitting the required number of bull and 25 scores, and Lynne answering sufficient questions correctly.

“We went back down there for the show itself,” said Ken. “They put us up in a hotel the night before and after.

“It was a full-on production studio. Behind the scenes there were dentists, doctors and hairdressers.

“The women spent a lot of time in the hairdressing and make-up department, but I was able to spend time practising my darts.”

Joining Ken and other Bullseye dart playing contestants, known as ‘throwers’, were professionals Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley and Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, who were there to throw for charity.

Taylor was the charity thrower for Ken and Lynne’s episode, and his efforts raised £200 for Haltwhistle War Memorial Hospital.

“They filmed two episodes in a day,” said Ken. “You had a run through and then the episode, so we were able to spend time with the day’s two professionals.”

Ken has fond memories of Bowen, and co-presenter Tony Green, a renowned darts scorer and commentator, whom Ken had previously met at tournaments.

“They we’re great,” said Ken. “As you can imagine, Jim was telling jokes all the time, behind the camera as well as on it.

“On one occasion, they stopped filming because he said something the floor manager wasn’t happy with, and Jim just replied ‘I only said that because things were going too well’”.

While the star prize is always a surprise, Ken said he had an inkling it was going to be the Bullseye classic - a speedboat.

After choosing not to gamble their prizes and money, the pair departed with their keepsake darts, bendy bullies, a tankard and a goblet.

Do Bullseye contestants really join Jim for a drink afterwards?

“They took us all to a Chinese restaurant afterwards,” said Ken. “It was a great occasion, and I’m still in touch with a couple of other contestants from Dumfries.”

Darts has been a way of life for Ken, who ran the Angel Inn pub at Alston for 14-and-a-half years, before retiring last October.

His shellsuit has gone down in Bullseye folklore, and even locally, a darts team once turned out at his pub in matching shellsuit attire.

“It’s all good fun,” he said. “That was the clothing of the time. I don’t have the shellsuit now, but the name Shellsuit Ken has stuck.

“While the prizes were good, they don’t last forever. I’ve still got my bendy bully, tankard and darts.

“I still play with the darts I used on the show, a set of 11 gram silver tungsten, which were specially made for me in Ipswich in 1973.”

Ken said his darting highlights included playing for the Portland Club team in Carlisle, which went four-and-a-half years undefeated.

He claimed he once had the chance to turn professional, but with a child on the way and the game not offering the levels of money as it does today, he chose to play safe with his management job at Homebase.

A short while after Ken and Lynne’s appearance on Bullseye, another Haltwhistle team, Alan and Maughan, starred.

Bullseye is now regularly repeated on Challenge. It’s understood other local contestants took part, including a pair from Gilsland.

What can you tell us about your memories of Bullseye?