Thursday 8 December 2016

Nice to see you: Brucie is knighted by the Queen

Published 12/10/2011 | 14:11

Sir Bruce Forsyth stands with his wife Wilnelia after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2011. The Strictly Come Dancing host's place as a leading TV presenter is recognised after years of campaigning by fans. See PA story ROYAL Investiture. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Sir Bruce Forsyth stands with his wife Wilnelia after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2011. The Strictly Come Dancing host's place as a leading TV presenter is recognised after years of campaigning by fans. See PA story ROYAL Investiture. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Bruce Forsyth described his joy at being knighted by the Queen today and vowed to keep on entertaining the country.

  • Go To

Bruce Forsyth described his joy at being knighted by the Queen today and vowed to keep on entertaining the country.



The veteran performer received the honour at Buckingham Palace after years of campaigning by fans.



Strictly Come Dancing host Sir Bruce was championed by a Facebook campaign, newspapers and even a parliamentary Early Day Motion, signed by 73 MPs, before the accolade was announced in the Queen's Birthday Honours.



The 83-year-old entertainer looked ecstatic after the ceremony and said: "It's absolutely wonderful to get the knighthood.



"It's been a thing that's been going on for a long time but it's not often one can say the press has been right behind you in my business - but they have been.



"Entertaining - it's been the only thing I've ever wanted to do and I've done it for many, many years. Who feels like quitting? I want to go on."



Earlier, in the palace's magnificent ballroom, the television star was called forward by his full name - Sir Bruce Forsyth-Johnson - and knelt on a velvet investiture stool to receive the accolade.



He was dubbed a knight by the Queen, who lightly touched him on the shoulder with a sword that belonged to her father, George VI.



The king used the ceremonial weapon when he was colonel of the Scots Guards while Duke of York, before being crowned.



As he emerged from the ballroom, Sir Bruce called out "Good luck" to honours recipients on their way to receive their awards.



One joked "We were impressed to see you get off your knees" and the entertainer replied: "That was an effort, I can tell you."



Bruce was watched by the investiture audience, who included his Puerto Rican-born wife Wilnelia, a former Miss World, their 24-year-old son Jonathan Joseph, known as JJ, and his daughters from previous marriages Charlotte, 34, and Laura, 48.







The veteran performer is one of the last of Britain's song and dance men who learned their craft from an early age appearing on variety bills and at musical halls across the country.



Sir Bruce's career has spanned almost 70 years - 53 of those in television - and has seen him become one of the country's leading light entertainers.



He has presented popular TV shows like The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and, most recently, the popular series Strictly Come Dancing.



The 83-year-old is famed for greeting television audiences with his well known catchphrase, "Nice to see you, to see you nice".



During the ceremony the television star shared a few words with the Queen.



Sir Bruce said: "She said thank you for entertaining the country for such a long time, she was very much on that wave length.



"But she was most intrigued about how long I'd been in showbusiness. I think she was a bit shocked when I said (almost) 70 years.



"She was asking how old I was when I started and I told her 14, during the war, when you could leave school at 14 and go and work helping the war effort.



"I went on the stage and was travelling up and down the country during the blitz travelling on trains and sleeping in the luggage racks."







The son of a garage owner, Sir Bruce grew up in Edmonton, north London, and left school at an early age.



He began his entertainment career as a precocious teenager, tap dancing his way around the country aged 14 and billed as "The Boy Bruce the Mighty Atom".



The performer honed his skills as a comic, singer, dancer and musician in music halls across the country and doggedly pursuing his dream of stardom.



However after years of performing with little success, in 1958 he was picked to compere Sunday Night at the London Palladium - one of television's biggest entertainment shows during the early 1960s.



Sir Bruce soon became a household name partly thanks to his brilliant hosting of the show's Beat the Clock competition.



As the contestants completed unusual tasks for prizes, the entertainer's irreverent comments and quips were a highlight. It was here he coined the first of his many catchphrases "I'm in charge" and "Can you come back next week?"



The star, who was awarded an OBE in 1998 and made a CBE seven years later, said: "This was beyond my wildest dreams, I knew I'd got the best job in television but I was in show business for 16 years before I got that job."



His next big hit was hosting the BBC's The Generation Game, the popular 1970s series that set the format for a plethora of programmes with Forsyth at the helm.



During the following decades he presented Play Your Cards Right, Bruce's Price is Right, Hollywood or Bust and You Bet!



Nearly every performance was studded with his catchphrases and most began with the greeting: "Nice to see you ...to see you nice!"



By the early 2000s, the work was beginning to dry up.



Forsyth made a surprise comeback hosting the satirical news quiz Have I Got News For You following the departure of Angus Deayton.



Then Forsyth foxtrotted his way back to huge success when he was announced as the face of the BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing.



Asked about his enduring appeal to the British public, he said: "I think the secret of my success is I've always done family shows. Strictly is a family show, it caters for the young right through to the very old.



"Every decade children have grown up with me from when I was 30 years of age, having done the family shows it's kept my popularity going.



"The stuff I do is middle of the road humour for family people, I don't do edgy stuff and swear.



"At the moment the show is still giving me a buzz and getting this knighthood has given me a buzz.



The entertainer has been married three times, first wife was dancer Penny Calvert, he then wed Anthea Redfern a co-host on The Generation Game, before walking down the aisle with Wilnelia.



The knighthood also recognises Sir Bruce's charity work, something the star does privately.



It emerged two years ago that during the 1990s Forsyth would secretly telephone breast cancer patient Gloria Park once a week for a chat during the last few years of her life.



He was asked to contact her by Marie Curie Cancer Care nurses who wanted to fulfil Mrs Park's greatest wish - to speak to the entertainer.





Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment