TV legend Bruce Forsyth was reported to have been 14 years old when he took to the stage for the very first time. The future ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ host made a name for himself as a dancer before breaking into television – where his witty one-liners, cheeky humour and notorious catchphrases became renowned. During his seven decade career he fronted a catalogue of popular shows including BBC’s ‘The Generation Game’ and ITV’s ‘Play Your Cards Right’. Bruce officially retired from showbiz in 2014 at the age of 86, after a spate of illnesses forced him to pull out of appearances on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. But prior to his withdrawal from the limelight, the beloved presenter made candid comments about why he never retired before.
Bruce Forsyth was a much beloved star among British audiences, his energetic style of presenting and light-hearted quips leading many to adore the presenter.
After his retirement, three years before he died in 2017, he was recognised by Guinness World Records for having the longest career of any male in television.
In his younger life, he made his stage debut at the age of 14 as ‘Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom’ at the Theatre Royal in Bilston, in the West Midlands.
In a touching interview at the time, he told the BBC that his reason for chasing fame was to become a star and also to “buy my mum a fur coat”.
His big break came in 1958 when he was invited to present ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ – but shortly before that time, his struggles nearly led him to give up on his TV dreams.
Inside the theatre he performed to a few hundred people but more than 10 million tuned-in to the TV broadcasts at home.
Bruce Forsyth was beloved by the nation up until his death in 2017
Bruce Forsyth spent more than seven decades on television, which he won a Guinness World Record for
The show was such a hit that Bruce claimed “the pubs would empty when it came on” and recalled calls to producers to allegedly ask “Can’t you start it later?”.
Part of the star’s undeniable success was attributable to his catch phrases including “Nice to see you, to see you nice”, “I’m in charge” and “All right, my loves?”.
His enduring appeal was recognised in 2011, when he was knighted for his service to television after a public appeal and a motion signed by 73 MPs.
Reflecting on his career two years later, shortly before his retirement, Bruce claimed his success was due to keeping variety in his act.
He told MailOnline: “There is singing, dancing, impressions, anecdotes. I involve the audience all the time; they are half my show.
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Bruce Forsyth officially retired from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2014, three years before his death
“I pretend to be annoyed when they laugh at the wrong places and I get them up on stage.
“Even accomplished comedians struggle to do an hour on stage, but I mix things up — about six minutes of stories then I’m on the piano, then I do a tap dance.”
The TV star confessed the touching reason why he never quit showbiz years before.
He said: “On stage I think I’m 35. Working takes over my whole body and I become a younger man — that’s why I won’t stop.”