Yesterday I learned of the death of a true legend, Sir Bruce Forsyth. One report giving a brief overview of his life, particularly in the area of entertainment, reads: “Veteran entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth had a career spanning eight decades, in which he went from struggling variety performer to Saturday night TV stardom. On the way, he became one of the most recognisable entertainers in the business, driven by what appeared to be inexhaustible energy. He became synonymous with the plethora of game shows that seemed to dominate television light entertainment in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, although he often felt he had become typecast as the genial quizmaster. And at an age when most performers would have put their feet up, his career enjoyed a huge revival with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson was born in Edmonton, north London, on 22 February 1928. His father owned a local garage and both his parents were Salvation Army members who sang and played music at home”.
Social and other media is awash with tributes, so here is my own modest contribution. I have been aware of Brucie from my early childhood, given he was a regular feature on the TV screens. He is one celebrity that made an important impact even though for a long period his rather in your face style I found somewhat irritating. But he is one person who grew upon me as I came to recognise he was very good at what he did and brought cheer into the lives of many. The three TV shows I remember most are: “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” (in my early years), “the Generation Game” (in my middle years) and Strictly Come Dancing (in my later years, up to only a few years ago when well into the eighties and still going strong he decided to call it a day). In all these shows he was the presenter and was a commanding presence who controlled things nicely and was a master of his craft. He made people feel at ease, even when he made cryptic comments at their expense. He was largely responsible for making each show the resounding success each was to become, attracting huge followings. I remember watching all those shows, sometimes regularly and over the course of a lifetime, and the latest, “Strictly”, became my unlikely favorite.
The word “unique” is often overused but not I feel in the case of Sir Bruce. His was an incredible talent and he was extremely versatile. Besides being a superb host, he was very funny and could act, sing, dance and play the piano, and it was to a good standard too. He was a master of memorable one liners. I can still picture him saying “I’m in charge”, “good game, good game”, “didn’t he do well” or “you are my favorite”. There are still one or two friends, that when we meet we take off Brucie when greeting each other with “nice to see you” followed by “to see you nice”. He represented the best in family entertainment. He struck me as a decent sort off screen, and this is confirmed by many who paid tribute to him, although I suspect he was no saint. But it is his contribution to his various shows that he will be remembered most, for he was the star. He could rightly be described as a national treasure, who now will be sadly missed.
Thanks for brightening up our lives and RIP Sir Bruce.