It was a strange experience watching the BBC’s tribute to an 80 year old Bruce Forsyth this evening.
The programme was a kind of one-off variety show version of This is Your Life, complete with singing, dancing, and cake-decorating contests.
(Unfortunately Vernon Kay made an appearance)
Self-indulgent it might have been, but it was nice to see the life of a national treasure celebrated while he’s alive, rather than in a glowing obituary that he’ll never get to see.
My personal favourite Brucie moment is his small role in the vastly underrated Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Still, what was brought home was that Bruce Forsyth’s era of personalities who entertain a nation of millions for decades, is nearing its end. And that’s no bad thing – yes, tens of millions of people tuned in to Sunday Night at the Palladium, but that’s because there was literally nothing else on TV.
So yes, celebrate Brucie’s life in entertainment, but ditch the rose-tinted spectacles and be glad that we can watch vintage episodes of Play Your Cards Right, or chose to watch the latest series of Curb Your Enthusiasm on cable TV, or download a classic Louis Theroux doco.
An open question is that of the future fate of the all-round singing, dancing entertainer in the Brucie mould. Is there a space for the next Brucie on youtube? Or are we in an era of niche entertainers?