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.


Game Show Memories – You Bet!

You Bet! (ITV, 1988-1997)

The spectacular stunts and dares show which was based on a German format and ran for many years in a weekend slot. The idea was that a contestant would claim that they could complete a challenge, and some of these were very ambitious. For example, they would claim to be able to identify a song by a group from hearing just a few seconds of it, or even from simply looking at the grooves on a vinyl copy. They had practiced a lot but would they be able to succeed on the night in the studio? vlcsnap-00659

There were also lots of sporting challenges that would have to be achieved against the clock and on one occasion the entire show was presented on location. There were some very close finishes and it was always exciting seeing people try to complete their challenge. Everybody who succeeded on the show won a special trophy, and if they failed they received a consolation scroll instead. vlcsnap-00662

Every week a panel of celebrities would take part and say whether they thought that the challenge would be successfully completed or not. 100 studio audience members would then vote on what they thought the outcome would be and then points would be scored by who guessed correctly. Then at the end the highest-scoring celebrity would be declared the winner and all the points would be added together and turned into a money amount to be given to a charity of their choice. vlcsnap-00664

The first few series were hosted by Bruce Forsyth, and he would always begin the show by doing a rap and we all had to join in. After he left and he took his catchphrases with him, Matthew Kelly took over in 1991. Just like with Stars In Their Eyes, although he was the second person to host the show he would become the most associated with it. Every week Matthew as well as the panellists would back a challenge, but if it failed, he would have to do a forfeit. Some of these were very amusing such as having to do tightrope walking and Matthew must have been rather embarrassed by some of them but he was always, er, game for a laugh. vlcsnap-00663

One of the great facts about the show is that comedy duo Armstrong and Miller competed in a challenge before they were famous in 1995 and they were successful! Darren Day became the final host in 1996 and it was yet another of those shows that promised to be “bigger and better” with various format changes in every returning series but unfortunately by that point You Bet! wasn’t as popular as it used to be and after almost a decade the show ended in 1997. It has been repeated on Challenge in more recent years and was definitely one of the best Saturday night entertainment shows of its era though.