Game Show Memories – a tribute to Bruce Forsyth.

After I had competed reviewing all the game shows that I wanted to on this blog, I planned to take a look back some of my favourite hosts too and some their best shows. I decided that I might as well do this one now as we still come to terms with the fact that we are now living in a post-Brucie world. Here’s a quick look at ten memorable shows which featured the great talent of Bruce Forsyth throughout his long career.

The Generation Game. (BBC1, 1971-1977, 1990-1994) One of the best shows that Bruce ever hosted, he was the original host, before he came back in the early-90s to host the era that I remember. Just about all of his famous catchphrases were in use and I remember really enjoying this entertaining show. vlcsnap-00289Bruce’s Big Night. (ITV, 1978) This is a curious one. After leaving the BBC, Bruce went to ITV and was given his own big-budget Saturday night ITV entertainment show. Despite lots of things being tried it wasn’t a big success.

Play Your Cards Right. (ITV, 1980-1987, 1994-1999, 2002-2003) Another one of Bruce’s classics which he ended up hosting three versions of. Again, I remember the 90s version which was always great to play along with and this show is definitely up there with Bruce’s best. vlcsnap-01396

You Bet(ITV, 1988-1990) Although Matthew Kelly is the best-known host of this show, Bruce hosted the first three series, where people tried to complete extraordinary challenges. Bruce would also begin every show with “the You Bet! rap”, hopefully he didn’t realise that as a single. You Bet 10

Takeover Bid. (BBC1, 1990-1991) This was a rather short-lived game show that I haven’t got round to reviewing yet but it was much inferior to The Generation Game. If the highlight of the show is when Bruce comes on at the start and tries to throw a hat and cane on to a hatstand then the actual game might not be so great. Takeover Bid 4

Bruce’s Guest Night. (BBC1, 1992-1993) This was an entertainment show where Bruce would interview various guests such as comedians and musicians.

Bruce’s Price Is Right. (ITV, 1995-2001) Another game show revival. Bruce replaced Leslie Crowther as the host of this classic show where a lot of big prizes were won. vlcsnap-01496Tonight At The London Palladium. (ITV, 2000) Viewers are always saying that they should bring back variety to TV, so who better to do it than the man who hit the big time hosting a show at the Palladium in the late-50s? Lots of variety acts joined Bruce, and he even revived his famous Beat The Clock game. Also around this time on ITV Bruce starred in an edition of the An Audience With series, and also took part in a special show celebrating his 70th birthday.

Didn’t They Do Well. (BBC1, 2004) This was a short-lived game show that I don’t remember seeing much of myself unfortunately, but it seems an interesting idea. I’d sooner watch this than that bloomin’ dancing show he started hosting around the same time!

Bruce’s Hall Of Fame. (BBC1, 2014) Bruce hosts another show at the Palladium where he looks back over his career and is joined on stage by various guests. This one is interesting because not only were my parents in the audience for this and they had a great time in his company, but it also turned out to be just about the final show that he ever did.

Beyond these shows, Brucie made a huge amount of TV appearances, and he also appeared on stage, in films, and in various adverts in a career that spanned decades. TV will never really be the same without him. He really was a terrific presenter and a real star, thanks for the great memories.

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Game Show Memories – The Generation Game.

The Generation Game (BBC1, 1971-1982, 1990-2002)

There were four eras of The Generation Game, although I’m not old enough to remember the first two. The first era was hosted by Bruce Forsyth, and then in 1978 he was replaced for the second era by Larry Grayson, who hopefully would remember his glasses. For the third era, the very popular show returned to the screen in 1990 after an eight-year absence, and Brucie made a triumphant return as host, and it was always nice to see him. vlcsnap-00289

Two teams of two took part, made of people from a different generation in their family, and Bruce always enjoyed talking to them. They were then challenged to do various things, as demonstrated at first by an expert, although it would become clear rather quickly that some of the contestants didn’t have much skill in what they were being tested on. The contestants also didn’t know what the games would be in advance. After they are done, the expert then comes back on and rates how well they did with a score out of ten. Two games are played, and the team with the highest score goes through to the final, and the losers take away some consolation prizes. vlcsnap-00290

This is then done again with two more teams, with again the winning team going through after the scores are announced when Bruce asks his assistant “what’s on the board, Miss Ford?”. The two remaining teams then take part in the final, and this is usually a spectacular piece such as having to take part in a dance routine or even a pantomime. Again, the highest-scoring team progresses, and they now have the chance to play for some prizes. vlcsnap-00296

This time the remaining team would watch a conveyor belt which had various prizes go along on it, and then they had 40 seconds (20 seconds each) to remember as many of the prizes as they could, winning each one that they said. Ooh, didn’t they do well! At the end, all the prizes they won were revealed, and there were also a couple of Brucie bonuses on offer such as a holiday. vlcsnap-00297

This era of the show was for me really enjoyable, and it provided terrific Friday and Saturday night entertainment very regularly throughout the early-90s, The Generation Game is definitely Bruce at his best. After Bruce left the show for a second time, in 1995 Jim Davidson became the new host. In his first series, there was a change where the studio audience would now vote on how well they thought the teams did and that would determine their score, although I think they soon changed it back. The conveyor belt round was also changed so that if a team could recall 15 of the 20 prizes shown in time, they won the lot. vlcsnap-00298

In the later series though, The Generation Game became increasingly silly, and the actual games seemed to take second place to various pranks and sketches that would take place as if they were trying to fill the gap that was left by the ending of Noel’s House Party. However, all of this fizzled out by 2002, by which point the show had started to look a little old-fashioned unfortunately, and it came to an end, although there have been a few one-off specials and retrospectives since, and the show is still held in high regard as entertaining fun.