Tributes have been pouring in for the entertainment great Sir Bruce Forsyth after he passed away at the age of 89 on Friday afternoon. Forsyth's career spanned a staggering 75 years and was truly an all-round specialist in entertainment.

Singer, dancer, gameshow presenter, comedian, and entertainment host, Bruce did it all and had a succession of amazing moments on our TV screens. He captured the imagination of all kinds of family members and spanned several generations. He set the standard for any budding entertainment presenter and his catchphrases such as "Nice to see you, to see you nice!" became part of everyday life.

From "The Generation Game" and "Play Your Cards Right" to "The Price is Right" and more recently, "Strictly Come Dancing," Sir Bruce Forsyth pulled us in to watch his shows time and again. He was the superstar and the king of Saturday Nights.

I pay tribute to quite possibly, the greatest all-round entertainment icon there ever has been on our screens.

Early success at the Palladium

Born in Middlesex in 1928, Sir Bruce Forsyth had talent and entertainment in his DNA from a very early age. He trained in dance school and made his television debut at just 12 years old, appearing on the 1939 BBC talent show "Come and Be Televised."

It was after the Second World War though when he really started to make his breakthrough.

In 1958, he landed the role of host presenter for "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" and was the main host of an all-round entertainment show full of comedy, singing, circus and dance acts. This came at a time where UK households had the choice of just two TV stations. It meant choice was limited in terms of watching habits.

However, Sir Bruce would draw an audience in and it would remain throughout his life on-screen.

He continued the show until 1964 and it was an early success. Anyone who thought that would be the peak of his career would be hugely mistaken. His next show would turn out to be his biggest triumph.

It's the Generation Game

In 1971, the BBC decided to start a new entertainment programme for Saturday evenings called "The Generation Game." Sir Bruce Forsyth was the perfect host for this kind of programme after his "London Palladium success." It earned the BBC huge Saturday evening viewing figures and confirmed Sir Bruce's legacy as a master of stage and screen.

He demonstrated his all-round talents in the programme by singing the famous theme tune "Life is the Name of the Game," a song he also wrote. "The Generation Game" was when Sir Bruce would show off his famous "The Thinker" pose for the first time. It was reminiscent of a strong-man attitude you'd see at the circus and you would see him show this off in a silhouette pose as soon the opening titles finished.

After seven fantastic years, Forsyth decided to leave "The Generation Game" behind and made the switch to the BBC's broadcasting rivals ITV, who had been flagging badly without a reputable name for a Saturday Night. Forsyth would host "Bruce Forsyth's Big Night" but this was not the success anyone hoped for and was cancelled after just one series.

After this brief disappointment though, Bruce was never put down and he would continue with ITV for the next decade, starting with another gameshow that could count on excellent card playing.

Play Your Cards Right

Bruce Forsyth's "Play Your Cards Right" began on ITV in 1980 and was the UK equivalent to the U.S. version, "Card Sharks." This was where two teams played against each other with a set of playing cards and had to forecast if the next card in their deck was higher or lower than the card just turned over.

It was simple, it was effective and it worked very well, even if it lacked the all-round entertainment of "The Generation Game." "Play Your Cards Right" ran for seven years in its initial run before returning for an even more successful stint from 1994 to 1999 in a Friday evening slot.

Alongside this, Bruce would also begin "You Bet!" although this would have much greater success under his successor Matthew Kelly. He also attempted to crack America by hosting "Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak" for ABC in 1986. It ran for 65 episodes but the American audience didn't warm to Forsyth's comic humour as much as the British did. If that was the main regret of his fantastic career as it was not quite getting the appreciation and warmth of the UK market.

Nevertheless, America's loss was Britain's gain and for every show that didn't quite work out, there were other glowing successes.

Channel hopping

Realising they were losing out without him, the BBC managed to tempt Sir Bruce back to them in 1990 for a more modern revival of "The Generation Game." Again it did well but was up against fiercer competition in the form of "Blind Date," "Gladiators" and "Family Fortunes" on ITV.

Bruce did another four years before finally retiring from the programme in 1994.

He returned to ITV that year for the second run of "Play Your Cards Right" and in 1995, hosted a revival of a 1980s classic, "Bruce's Price is Right." Both these shows often got transmitted on a Friday night and these types of programmes were a funny, witty and enjoyable way to start a family weekend. "The Price is Right" introduced us to more helpers, more gags and more catchphrases like 'Let's meet the stars of our show, whoever you are' and 'We'll see you for the Showcase Showdown and that goes for you too!'

Sadly though, he fell out with ITV director of programming David Liddiment, over the constant movement of his programmes.

"Play Your Cards Right" was dropped without warning in June 1999 and "Bruce's Price is Right" started to be bumped around the schedules, even being shown on a 5.20pm Saturday evening slot which trimmed its viewing figures by 50 percent. Forsyth confirmed he wouldn't work for ITV again whilst Liddiment was in charge and this led to his departure from the network in 2001. It looked like his wonderful television career was at an end.

From the news to Strictly

In 2003, he came back to the BBC and our screens by hosting an episode of the flagship topical news show "Have I Got News For You?" Forsyth cleverly used elements from his gameshows on the episode which left regulars Paul Merton and Ian Hislop confused, bemused and slightly staggered.

However, his appearance was a massive hit and is still considered as one of the best guest hosts the show has had since Angus Deayton was sacked as regular host 15 years ago.

A year later and sensing fondness still for his entertainment appeal, the BBC asked Sir Bruce to co-host their new Saturday night hit "Strictly Come Dancing." He would front the programme alongside Tess Daly from 2004 until the end of the 2013 series. As audience figures rose, Bruce's appeal and legendary status was well-known to the celebrities, judges and professional dancers on the show. As "The X-Factor" started to lose its way, "Strictly" began to overtake it as the number one family programme to watch on a Saturday evening and part of it was down to Bruce's humour, charm and appeal to the British public which had been evident for nearly six decades.

He stepped down from "Strictly" duty in 2014, handing over the reins to Claudia Winkleman.

His work was widely recognised with a clutch of awards over the years including a BAFTA Fellowship in 2008, a National Television Award Special Recognition in 2011 and after much campaigning, a well-deserved knighthood in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours.

In 2013, he broke another record, becoming the oldest performer to ever play at the Glastonbury Festival which once again demonstrated his appeal to all generations of life.


As his health worsened, we began to see less of Sir Bruce Forsyth in the public spectrum. His last appearance came in the "Strictly Children in Need Special" in 2015. This year, he was hospitalised with a chest infection in February and spent time in intensive care before making a recovery.

After struggling with further health issues, Sir Bruce Forsyth passed away on Friday 18th August, at his home on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey, surrounded by his wife of 34 years, Wilnelia and his six children.

Sir Bruce Forsyth wasn't just an entertainment legend. He was an entertainment colossus. His legacy will be one of laughter, joy, and fun. He knew how to entertain an audience and he knew how to put a huge smile on many faces in living rooms throughout the United Kingdom. A perfect all-rounder and a comic genius - it is fair to say that we will never see the likes of him again in television and showbiz.