Bruce’s Guest Night (BBC1, 1992-1993)
Recently, as part of my Game Show Stars series, I looked back at the career of Bruce Forsyth, because he simply had to be included, such was his stature in that area. He also did a few things on TV beyond game shows, and this is one that I do remember. Bruce’s Guest Night was a part-chat show, part-comedy show, where he would be joined by a variety of famous people. Because remember, he’s an entertainer. And cue the orchestra!
Guests included comedians and singers, seemingly always his showbiz mates including Ronnie Corbett and Harry Secombe, who he had probably known since his days down the Palladium, plus people who were currently on the chart (usually Cliff Richard, who was another frequent guest), or on stage in a musical. And any show that lets Shakespear’s Sister perform their new single can’t have been a total waste!
As well as interviewing them, he might do something a little different too, such as doing a song or a dance with them, letting the studio audience ask a question or two, and there would be plenty of surprises along the way. The element of not knowing what might come next was a fun one. And if all else failed, Bruce would get out his piano. I also remember that the show also had a rather downbeat theme, that sounded rather out of place on something like this.
The first series of Bruce’s Guest Night was an hour long, and shown at the weekend. I don’t know if he then had a heated meeting with a BBC bigwig where he shouted “give me a second series!”, but it seems that there was some dithering about whether this should happen, and eventually there was indeed another series, but this was cut to half-an-hour and shown on Mondays, which seemed all wrong for this format.
Then after this, Bruce went back to the more familiar world of guaranteed hit The Generation Game, and not long after he departed for ITV. It was good seeing him try something a little different, even if this isn’t considered to be the peak of his long career, but I am surprised that there is no Wikipedia entry, because it definitely happened.