Ahead of the BBC’s look back at the best of Bruce Forsyth (Sir Bruce: a Celebration, Sunday 9.00pm BBC1), we dig into the Radio Times archive to find the TV legend’s most memorable moments caught on camera.
In 1964, Bruce starred in West End hit Little Me. “It was probably the best stage thing I ever did,” he told RT in 1996, “a wonderful vehicle for me, where I played several different characters”
With DJ Pete Murray outside the London Palladium in 1973, where Bruce fronted a “summer spectacular”
Didn’t she do well!
In 1975 with contestant Ruby Clegg in his hugely popular BBC1 show, Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game. The following year, he explained why audience participation is so popular: “Everyone likes to see ordinary people having a go… I like going out on a limb, not knowing what’s going to happen and then ad-libbing my way out of trouble.”
All right, my loves?
In rehearsals for Tonight at the London Palladium — ITV revived Bruce’s show in 2000. In 1976 he’d told RT that performing his one-man show there was “probably the happiest week of my life”
To meet you nice!
Tap dancing with Michael Parkinson in a 1978 BBC1 special
Song and dance man
In the star dressing room at the London Palladium in 1973, Bruce reflected on starting his career as a dancer — and how, as a child, he had worshipped Fred Astaire. “I had my own little ‘dancing school’ by the time I was 12, used to teach all the local kids, charge them a shilling a time.”
On The Generation Game (with contestant Harry Morris) in 1971, the year it began, Bruce was 50 and still the life and soul of the party. It was his first series for the BBC and he said he relished it — “because I can say what comes into my head and hope everyone’s in stitches. It’s an active show and I’m nothing if not active.”
Bruce Forsyth Meets Lulu for a BBC1 spring bank holiday special in 1974.
Back at the Beeb
In 1990, Bruce returned to The Generation Game, having left the show in 1977 to work in musicals and host Play Your Cards Right and You Bet! on ITV.
Bruce had another hit on his hands in 2004 with Strictly Come Dancing.
Comedian Paul Merton’s dream came true when he interviewed his idol for RT in 2006. Forsyth said the secret to his long career was that every generation had grown up with him. To explain the “surprise” appeal of Strictly Come Dancing, he said: “I thought kids would love it. They’ve got their PlayStations but they’ve probably never seen people dance like that. It’s proper family entertainment.”
In 1991 with Generation Game co-host Rosemarie Ford. Bruce told RT about his ideal Christmas: “It’s nice to have lunch in town then spend the afternoon at home with the feet up, watching telly.”
Wayne Sleep needed some support on The Bruce Forsyth Show, a one-off entertainment extravaganza that was shown at Christmas 1989 on BBC1. Other guests included Lesley Garrett, dancers Alison and Rebecca Marsh and Howards’ Way star Jan Harvey.
Sir Bruce: a Celebration is on Sunday 9.00pm BBC1