Published On: Sun, Aug 20th, 2017

Bruce Forsyth: ‘I get edgy before a show. Then I do a hop and the other me takes over'


By the time he trod the boards of the London Palladium he had been touring for most of his life.

He was spotted by Val Parnell, creator of Sunday Night At The Palladium, at 30 years old. was originally booked for two weeks but stayed five years, by which time he was Britain’s highest-paid entertainer on £1,000 a week.

With a 30-piece orchestra, a theatre audience of 2,500 and millions watching at home, Bruce was the host of the biggest show on television.

Bruce Forsyth WENN/GETTY

Bruce Forsyth achieved success after 16 years of hard work

He was on top of the world; but in truth he found getting everything he had ever wanted all at once almost overwhelming.


I always get edgy before a show. I don’t like people coming up and talking to me. I like to get in my own little meditation

Sir Bruce Forsyth


Bruce firmly believed that if it hadn’t been for all those years of preparing, he would not have been able to cope with the demands of the Palladium.

The show saw him work with the biggest acts of the decade including the Beatles, at the start of their career, Bob Hope and Sammy Davis Jr.

In one episode, during the actors’ strike, Bruce performed the entire show with Norman Wisdom, to the amusement of the audience.

Bruce Forsyth and Sammy Davis JrEXPRESS

Bruce Forsyth and Sammy Davis Jr

Much of it was improvised, which reinforced his happy-go-lucky reputation and launched his journey towards becoming a national treasure.

The Palladium held a special place in Bruce’s heart for the rest of his life and he said of the theatre that made him a household name: “No theatre on this Earth has ever superseded the Palladium in my affections. It is just so special.”

In his heyday the entertainer commanded formidable viewing figures and was entrenched in the national consciousness.

With the entertainment industry at his feet, Bruce went on to host some of the most popular game shows of the 1970s and 1980s.

This included the wildly successful Generation Game, which he starred in from 1970 to 1977 and again in the early 1990s.

At its peak the Generation Game had 20 million viewers and his co-host Anthea Redfern went on to become his second wife. Anthea would wear a different dress every week and one week he said: “Anthea, you look amazing. That dress really is lovely. You must let the viewers see the back. Come on, give us a twirl!” which is how “Give us a twirl” became one of his best-known sayings.

By then he had already amassed a number of catchphrases, which he insisted were unplanned and unscripted. 

Bruce ForsythBBC

Bruce with The Generation Game’s Rosemary Ford

Bruce Forsyth and Tess DalyBBC

In 2004 Strictly Come Dancing was launched with Bruce and co-host Tess Daly

After the Generation Game Bruce defected to for the unsuccessful Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night, which was axed after one season.

He soon bounced back with Play Your Cards Right, which debuted in 1980. In 1986 he went to the United States to present Bruce Forsyth’s Hot Streak, and in the same year made Slinger’s Day for ITV, his only sitcom role.

In the 1990s Bruce was at the helm of a host of entertainment shows, including Takeover Bid and a revival of ITV’s The Price Is Right.

In 1995, a year after his final Generation Game appearance, he received a lifetime achievement award for variety at the British Comedy Awards and three years later was appointed OBE.

Sunday Night At The London Palladium was revived in 2000, fronted by Bruce. But his career hit turbulence and he left ITV, saying he could no longer work with the channel’s then-director of programmes David Liddiment after Play Your Cards Right was axed.

It took three years and a muchpraised turn at hosting Have I Got News For You before Sir Bruce’s career was back on track.

In 2004 he was made host of , the show that would introduce him to a new generation of viewers. The show, co-presented with Tess Daly, was a change of pace for the star and he later described it as his most difficult job, saying: “I found the role of presenter to be quite a lonely one. I didn’t even see much of my co-host Tess Daly.

Tess Daly and Claudia WinklemanBBC

Strictly Come Dancing presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

“We would have our opening joke, say good night and that was it.

“For a start, the audience sat miles away from where I stood so I couldn’t interact with them. Even the judges were really only in my peripheral vision and my time with them was limited.”

After years of speculation about his retirement, Sir Bruce finally announced his resignation in 2014.

It sparked an outcry from Strictly fans but Bruce felt it was time to leave. He simply wasn’t having fun any more but he insisted he had not retired from showbusiness.

The announcement was accompanied by tributes from many he worked with over the years, with BBC One controller Charlotte Moore saying: “Sir Bruce Forsyth is one of the great legends of our time and Strictly’s success is due in vast amounts to him.”

Although Bruce enjoyed his time on Strictly he said he did not regret leaving and felt happy that it was in “good hands” with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.

After 11 years as host he finally broke his silence over his favourite contestants.

He particularly noted Ann Widdecombe, in series eight, as being memorable for bringing so much fun to the show.

Anton Du Beke and Ann WiddecombeBBC

Bruce’s favourites Anton Du Beke and Ann Widdecombe made a surprise hit

He also found a friend in dancer Anton du Beke and said: “Of all the professional dancers, [Anton is] the one I know best. As we were looking through photos of the dancers who would feature in the first series, the moment I saw Anton I knew I would have fun with him.

“It was like looking in a mirror. In fact, there’s such a likeness between us that we’ve developed quite a running gag about whether we could be related. ‘How’s your mother?’ I liked to ask him, as if she and I once had a thing going.”

Several years after joining Strictly support began to grow from the public and Press for him to receive a knighthood but it wasn’t until 2011 that this would come true, an event he described as a relief after years of speculation.

Despite his success Bruce, later in his life, said he wished he had pushed for what he wanted from his career when he was young.

He would have liked to do more one-off specials like his show with his hero Sammy Davis Jr in 1980, which he believed was the best thing he had done. He was also shocked when he heard an early recording of himself singing with Nat King Cole, finding the moment when the US singer introduced him most emotional.

Bruce’s final years were marred by rumours of ill health.

In 2015 he was forced to pull out of the Strictly Christmas Special and last October, after a fall, scans showed he had two aneurysms that would have proved fatal if they had ruptured. He was also not well enough to attend the funerals of friends Ronnie Corbett and Sir Terry Wogan earlier in the year.

Sir Bruce ForsythGETTY

It was nice to have met him… to have met him, it was nice

, 59, said that at 88 he was having problems moving, although mentally he was in “incredible shape”.

Bruce was always a fighter and is quoted as saying: “I don’t want to grow old gracefully.” With a TV career almost as old as television itself he holds a unique place in the nation’s hearts.

His face has been a source of continuity in times of great change, while his image embodies those great British virtues of hard work and good humour.

With all of his years of experience Bruce still said he was always nervous before going on stage: “I always get edgy before a show. I don’t like people coming up and talking to me. I like to get in my own little meditation. I have a bit of a glazed look in the eye, wondering whether it’s going to be all right and thinking about what I’m going to do.

“Then I do a little hop before I walk on and the other me takes over.”

Sir Bruce was a consummate professional, a born entertainer and one of the last of a generation of multi-talented variety acts.

It was nice to have met him… to have met him, it was nice.


Celebrity Funny Gaming
Health Food-Recipes Books
Sports Lifestyle Music
Movies Business World
Fashion Top Stories Travel
Technology Education

buzzfix TODAY

Videos

Most Popular Posts