Sir Bruce Forsyth, who launched his television career on ATV in the 1950s, is to celebrate seven decades of performing on stage and fifty-four on television with a BBC One special.
The channel is to air When Miranda Met Bruce, a one-off hour long special entertainment show. Filmed in BBC Television Centre’s Studio One, the same studio in which Strictly Come Dancing is filmed, Miranda Hart interviews the legend that is Sir Bruce Forsyth in her inimitable style.
“Featuring a mixture of archive material and special performances throughout the show, Miranda will delve under the skin of Sir Bruce to find out the key to his success and longevity in the challenging world of entertainment. The programme will be a glorious romp through Sir Bruce’s career celebrating the highs, the not so highs, and also the moments that not many people know about or have forgotten.” – BBC
The finale will be a once in a lifetime show-stopping performance featuring Miranda and the 85-year-old Sir Bruce, who is always pleased to see you, to see you pleased; to paraphrase his famous catchphrase.
When Miranda Met Bruce will be executive produced by Jo Sargent and produced by Chris Walley for BBC In-house Entertainment. It will broadcast on BBC One later in the year.
Back in 1962 this is how ATV Network summed up one of their biggest stars:
“In September 1958 Bruce had the novelty of being a new face to many thousands of people. True some may have seen the entertainer in one of the many provincial tours he has made, but as a television performer he was new to the viewer.”
The publicity release notes how quickly audiences ‘took’ to Brucie.
“However, just four years later it seems like Bruce has always been with us. Before hosting Sunday Night at the London Palladium his career had been one long round of hard work and heartbreak. While a teenager he took dancing lessons and by the time he left school aged 14 he was quite a seasoned entertainer. His first professional engagement turned out to be a huge flop – the touring variety show folded within its first few days. That was back in 1942.”
ATV’s publicity machine continues,
“However Bruce is tough in the tradition of the struggling artiste. In 1947 having toured with an accordion band – as singer and instrument player – he joined the RAF to do his National Service.”
Bruce became a television name as host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium, having first appeared on ATV talent series New Look in 1958, his popularity with ITV viewers lead to his own entertainment series throughout the sixties, before he switched to the BBC in the 1970s to front The Generation Game.
Television work came Bruce’s way quite by accident as he told ATV Network in 1962. “I deputised for Dickie Henderson as a compare of a television show from the Prince Of Wales Theatre in London. Later another show in which I was a guest was under running and I was asked to ‘fill in’. I took my chance with both hands. When I came off they told me I had done over nine minutes, the time usually allotted to the top star.”
Since those early telly shows Sir Bruce has gone on to host numerous series for both ITV and the BBC, including game shows Play Your Cards Right, The Price Is Right and a revived Generation Game. He’s currently co-host of Strictly Come Dancing alongside Tess Daly.
An ATV Icon on Brucie from 2010 can be seen here.