The king of U.K. game shows, Sir Bruce Forsyth, passed away earlier this afternoon aged eighty nine. According to a statement from his manager, Forysth died peacefully in his home with his wife and children by his side. He was a television pioneer.
It’s always sad when a prominent entertainer passes away. Bruce Forsyth probably had one of the biggest and busiest BBC careers up until November 2015. The past year and a bit, Forsyth has been in ill health and it’s almost as if this news was to be expected. Regardless of that, it’s a sad loss.
It was unfortunately no secret that Forsyth suffered from ill health in his later years. November 2015’s Children in Need marked his final television appearance. In that same year, he underwent keyhole surgery after suffering two aneurysms. Unfortunately he never truly recovered to the point of making it back to television.
In early 2016, it was revealed that Bruce was recovering well from life-saving surgery, delightful news to hear in such a horrible year. Five days after this announcement, he was rushed to hospital with a chest infection. By August last year, it was strongly implied that he would never perform again.
Who can really say they would have wanted to see that though? I’m not knocking his talent, because without a doubt he is the most talented British game show host of all time. What I mean is that nobody was really holding out for his return. We were just happy he was surviving, and in our minds we could remember him as that bubbly and welcoming host.
Without a doubt, the news of his passing is both unpleasantly unexpected and upsetting. He was a literal pioneer of television, the work he dedicated to the industry was stellar. He reached dominance in the 1960s, becoming a household name rather quickly after that.
Google his film career, the amount of work he put into television is truly phenomenal. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) was a film role that many will never forget. Unfortunately it was only one of his few, he never branched into films like he should have. Still, it’s not a problem, he was in his element on television and it’s why his career was such a prominent one.
A man of many talents
Bruce Forysth wasn’t just a performer on the television though, he was so much more than that. He was a theatre actor, musician and entertainer. He holds the Guinness Book’s Record for longest male television career of all time. Even more than that, he hosted some of Britain’s most well remembered game shows. His catchphrases are stuff of legend.
For me, Bruce Forsyth doesn’t resonate on a personal level, but it’s a shocking loss talent wise. There’s no denying that Bruce was possibly one of television’s most talented individuals. His final theatre show was a show he himself created, which ran from 2012 to 2015. It was a one man show entitled Bruce Forsyth Entertains. He most certainly did entertain.
Of course, it wasn’t all success for Bruce, and that’s to be expected of every person to be fair. His launch into America was a failure, and he stuck as the most familiar face of British television. That’s not to say he didn’t have some success in America, Bruce Forysth’s Hot Streak ran for 65 episodes.
Multiple celebrities have came out and given statements and tributes to the late entertainer. Current Strictly Come Dancing host, Claudia Winkelman Tweeted her thoughts.
“He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people… all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love….”
Many other entertainers and celebrities have taken the time out to send tributes to Forsyth. These include John Cleese, Michael Parkinson and BBC director general Tony Hall. They can be found below. Tony Hall gave a lengthy statement, so that will be underneath its own section.
“Really deflated to hear of Brucie’s death. Saw him at the Babbacombe Pavilion in 1958, just before he ‘made it’. I’ve adored him ever since.” – John Cleese.
“He was very canny – we only know about the shows he said yes to, what we don’t know are the hundreds of ideas he said, ‘That’s not for me.’ He had the smartness – that’s the sign of a great star.” – Michael Parkinson.
Tony Hall statement
“Sir Bruce was one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known.
“He has delighted millions of people and defined Saturday night television for decades, with shows like the ‘Generation Game’ and, most recently, ‘Strictly’. His warmth and his wit were legendary.
“I’ve never seen anyone quite like him when it comes to performing in front of a crowd. He had a remarkable chemistry with his audience – that’s what made him such an amazing professional and why he was so loved.
“He has been part of all of our lives, and we’ll miss him dearly.”
While he may best be remembered for his work on Strictly Come Dancing, he was so much more than that. He was a charismatic entertainer and without a doubt set the standard we expect today. Nobody could make a game like Play Your Cards Right so brilliant like Forsyth did.
Even those that have never seen any of his shows will have at least heard of him. He was a man void of controversy throughout his career, and let’s hope it stays that way. He’s a national treasure, and will always be just that. As one tribute stated, the Bruce we saw on television was the real life Bruce.
See, you didn’t need to have watched his shows to know how much of a talent he was. It’s the same case for the late Terry Wogan. Two charming individuals who stormed into their respective entertainment careers and gave us some excellent content. That’s all you can really ask for, Forsyth managed to give us that amazing content for longer than anyone could possibly imagine.