2013 marks seventy years since the legend that is Sir Bruce Forsyth took his first tentative steps into the world of showbusiness as part of the musical act, ‘Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom’. He was just fourteen-years-old at the time and of course went on to become a regular fixture of family viewing, with much-loved and fondly-remembered appearances in variety and game shows, sitcoms and of course the odd dancing competition.
It is Bruce and his illustrious career which were celebrated in this one-off special, as the man himself was joined by host Miranda Hart and house band McFly for an evening of music and mirth.
Now I have to admit that I’ve never understood the appeal of Brucie’s humour and delivery of gags (and I know that I’m not alone there), so I found his attempts at jocularity as nauseating as ever, but other than that it was a jolly little romp through a showbiz legend’s life, interspersed with the odd dance routine, piano recital and singsong.
I was worried that When Miranda Met Bruce would force a pair of rose tinted specs onto its viewers and blatantly omit the…well shall we saw lower points of Bruce’s career. Thankfully, though, it wasn’t too sugary (although it did come dangerously close). For example, Big Night was touched upon, as was its lack of success. Of course, Big Night wasn’t a bad show – as Bruce himself rightly pointed out, it would probably be commissioned today – but its problem was that it was hyped-up too much, leading to disappointment, a critical mauling and low ratings. I suppose the modern day equivalent is 10 O’Clock Live.
That was the only low point of Bruce’s career that was discussed, however, as the focus was well and truly on celebrating his time in the nation’s living rooms. That celebration even gave him a chance to talk about his childhood, how his parents were very supportive of him wanting to become a dancer, and how he got his big break when he succeeded Tommy Trinder as compere of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Is it just me or did that really highlight how we need a show like Palladium right now? I suppose the closest things we have at the moment are Saturday Night Takeaway and The Royal Variety Performance, but I really am hard pushed to think of any more, and with the latter occurring just annually, there’s surely a gap in the market for a real variety vehicle (without the promise of £250,000 at the end of it) like Sunday Night at the London Palladium to be made? Actually, may I take this opportunity to suggest Saturday Night at the Sunderland Empire? I’m sure there’ll be a dynamic, enthusiastic young man from the region who’ll host it…
Ahem, moving on…
For fans of Bruce, a lot of the revelations in this show would have been nothing new really – it was basically a very much more light-hearted version of his interview on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories – but for young fans of Strictly who perhaps didn’t know as much about him, it will no doubt have been a very enjoyable way for them to gain a bit of background knowledge and insight. Plus, it doesn’t really matter who the interviewee was: Miranda Hart hosted it! Therefore it was automatically enjoyable, and they both appeared to have such chemistry. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Bruce will be Penny’s new squeeze, if and when Miranda comes back.
I tried to resist it, I really did.
Image credits: Thanks to BBC and Guy Levy, ©BBC
When Miranda Met Bruce is available on BBC iPlayer until Saturday 28th September
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