The University of Chester has paid tribute to comedian and broadcaster Jim Bowen who has passed away at the age of 80.
The former Bullseye host who died today (Wednesday, March 14) following a battle with ill health, spent time in Chester back in the late 1950s, starting at Chester College where he completed his teacher training.
After taking part in National Service, Jim began his studies at the college in 1957 to attain his Teacher Training Certificate, and as a talented musician, he played the trumpet in the college jazz band The Chester All Stars, attending local dances alongside his studies.
Today the university said they were 'saddened' to hear he had passed away and paid tribute to all he had achieved in his life.
In 1959, after completing his studies in Chester, Jim returned to Lancashire to become a PE teacher, marrying Phyllis with whom he had two children.
Within a year, he was head of PE at Caton Primary School in Lancashire, and subsequently became deputy head.
A self-confessed disciplinarian, who was known to pride himself on high standards, Jim soon began to expand his teaching skills, adding dance and drama to his CV and joining a local dramatic society and working part-time as a stand-up comedian in the 1960s.
He spent time at the famous Rudolph Laban School of Dance, in London, at a time when combining educational drama with English was highly sought after, but his first real steps into showbusiness came a few years later when he made his first TV appearance on Granada TV’s The Comedians.
This was followed by other TV opportunities and appearances on cruise ships like the QE2, where initially he played trumpet with the Hot Rhythm Orchestra, and later with the Fred Olsen cruise ships where he performed his ‘Evening with Jim Bowen’ act.
But it wasn't until the early 1980s that Jim achieved cult status in the UK as a presenter on ITV’s Bullseye from 1981 until 1995, quickly becoming a household name.
He continued to make TV appearances after this, on the BBC’s The Weakest Link: Celebrity Edition four times, winning twice, and also joined his close friend, Peter Kay for a memorable episode of Phoenix Nights.
In his later years he worked for BBC Radio Lancashire, performed at The Edinburgh Festival and toured venues across the country giving an insight into his career with amusing anecdotes.