Remembering Bruce Forsyth 1928-2017
Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson CBE (born 22 February 1928) wasan English television presenter and entertainer whose career spanned more than 75 years. In 2012, Guinness World Records recognised Forsyth as having the longest television career for a male entertainer Forsyth came to national attention from the mid-1950s through the ITV series Sunday Night at the London Palladium and following this he hosted several game shows, including The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right, The Price Is Right and You Bet!. He also co-presented Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 to 2013. Forsyth was known for his catchphrases, "Nice to see you, to see you nice" and "Didn't he (/she/they) do well?".
Bruce was no stranger to the world of panto and in 1957 he appeared in Puss in Boots in Southsea with Charlie Drake where most of his scenes were played infront of the tabs to act as a cover to keep the audience entertained whilst a new scene was set and he followed this up in 1958 when he took to the London Palladium Stage to star in Val Parnell's production of Sleeping Beauty alongside Charlie Drake, Bernard Bresslaw and Edmund Hockridge. Bruce was thrilled to be appearing in this prodution even though he was only give 4th billing. A year down the line and for the 1959 panto season Bruce he appeared alongside Norman Wisdom in Robinson Crusoe at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. In 1961 Forsyth appeared in panto in Manchester as Dick Whittington in 'Turn Again Whittington' a role he would later repeat at the Bristol Hippodrome the following year. Skip ahead to 1968 and it's panto time again for Bruce who this time finds himself starring in Aladdin alongside Tommy Trinder at the Wimbledon Theatre. 1969 saw Bruce head to Oxford for the panto season to appear in Babes in the Wood alongside Rikki Fulton and Yvonne Marsh. This was one of Bruce's least favourite panto roles and he spoke very openly about only really doing this one for the money. He described the script as being particularly week but just gritted his teeth and went through the motions for the 8 week run.
Ill health prevented Bruce from presenting the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2016 and at the time his wife, Wilnelia, gave an interview in which she confirmed Bruce had become quite frail and barely left their Surrey home anymore. He was not well enough to attend the funerals of his close friends Ronnie Corbett and Terry Wogan during the same year and following a fall at home it was discovered that he had a life threatening aneurysm. In late February 2017 he was admitted to hospital and remained in intensive care there for 5 days after developing a severe chest infection.
Bruce passed away aged 89 on 18th August 2017