10 facts you did not know about Bruce Forsyth
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about one of the best-known faces in the history of British broadcasting, Bruce Forsyth.
:: When Forsyth was first broadcast into homes up and down the land, Neville Chamberlain was behind the door of 10 Downing Street and Britain was entering into the Second World War. It was 1939 and he was taking his musical act on to the BBC as part of a talent show. Just under two decades later in 1958, the year of the first parking tickets and transatlantic airlines, he first hosted Sunday Night At The London Palladium.
:: But the entertainer’s ambitions were not always set as high as prime-time glory. He told one BBC interviewer early in his career: “I want to be famous and buy my mum a fur coat.”
:: Being a long-standing practitioner of variety performance, Forsyth was known for conquering many artistic disciplines in his career. He performed comedy, danced, played instruments ranging from the ukulele to the accordion and even sang on a few novelty records.
:: As a tap-dancing youngster, he dreamed of becoming a star of the calibre of Fred Astaire.
:: Although most fondly known by the moniker “Brucie”, Forsyth first appeared on stage under a different name – Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom. He first took to the stage in his early teens as a variety act.
:: He was drafted into the RAF aged 19 and was an advocate of conscription. He said his experiences during national service taught him “respect and discipline”.
:: Forsyth stayed sprightly well into his 80s and attributed his energy to having a young wife, Wilnelia, who was 30 years his junior. “We won’t talk about the age gap, that will make me feel tired. But she does keep me young,” he said in 2008.
:: The veteran entertainer long had an appetite for politics as well as entertainment and recorded the BBC’s political debating showcase Question Time every week.
:: Despite having experienced many shifts in viewers’ taste over the course of his career in television, Forsyth could never stand one thing – swearing. He told a magazine in 2004 that he thought bad language was “disgusting”.
:: He may be known as the king of light entertainment – but you should not have let him hear you say that. The former Strictly Come Dancing host told the BBC in 2008: “I don’t know why they call it light entertainment though. Were Morecambe and Wise light entertainment? The Two Ronnies? I think it was very heavy. It got millions and millions of viewers; it was heavy entertainment, giving the general public what they wanted. I’ve never liked the idea of light entertainment; I’ve never understood it and I never will.”