Since I started blogging back in 2011, I have written more posts about Sir Bruce Forsyth than anyone else. He’s been a constant in my life. My happiest memories are from when I was a child in Torquay, living above a sweetshop with my parents and two older brothers. It was the early 70s, a great decade to be a kid, and Brucie played a part in this. Every Saturday evening, we’d watch The Generation Game together as a family, along with over 20 million other Britons. It’s hard to explain to the next generation just how big a part he played in my generation and my parents’ generation. Seven decades of all round family entertainment, the likes of which we’ll never see again.
I was so sad to hear the news yesterday. My heart actually did stop beating for a few moments and I shed a tear or two. I thought of my lovely dad who I associate with those days, who died in 1978 when I was ten. Brucie has been a constant in my life which has known a fair bit of loss. But he lived a good life. A long life. With a close family and the love of a nation.
And I’ll always have my homage to him in the form of my first novel, The Generation Game. What else could I have called it?
So yes, I am v. excited to hear the news that Miranda Hart is in talks with the Beeb about hosting a new series of The Generation Game.
Why am I v. excited?
Several serendipitous reasons:
1. I loved The Generation Game as a child – so much so that my debut novel is called The Generation Game.
2. I love Sir Bruce Forsyth.
3. I love Miranda Hart.
4. Last year, Miranda interviewed Brucie, reminding us that 20 million viewers would tune into The Generation Game on a Saturday night.
4. The narrator in my novel is called Philippa (Smith). One of the best TV directors around right now is also called Philippa (Lowthorpe). She directed Call the Midwife, in which Miranda Hart played a midwife. (She also directed Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn which is being aired this week – apparently they are sorting out the sound issues for tonight’s episode.) Philippa (Lowthorpe) likes strong female characters. Philippa (Smith) has her faults, but she’s a survivor.
5. My novel is set in a sweetshop in Torquay (that part is true to life. We lived above a sweetshop from 1972-74 and our neighbour, Wink, loved Brucie and TGG). And – get this – Miranda Hart was born in Torquay.
6. I blogged ages ago about a school visit where I went to talk about being a writer (my old school). One of the questions I was asked was who would I like to play Philippa if TGG is ever made into a film/TV drama. I wasn’t sure until one of the students suggested Miranda Hart. Perfect!
So, please Miranda and Philippa … I am sending you both copies of my book which I would love you to read. Warm Sunday night viewing…?
It’s no secret that I love Sir Brucie, have done since I was four years old, living above a sweetshop in Torquay. Saturday nights. Fish and chips. The Generation Game. Happy times, sitting on my dad’s lap, watching a family programme.
I am happy that Sir Bruce has taken the decision to step down from hosting Strictly Come Dancing, pleased that he is managing his ‘retirement’ on his own terms. Just because he is in 86, doesn’t mean he should give up the love of his life: the stage. And he’ll be continuing to perform.
He comes from a generation of grafters and has a firm place in the entertainment elite of Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and co. But he’s still here; he’s still going. And I hope to see him in his one man show. I hope to catch him at the stage door and push into his hands a copy of my novel The Generation Game, a homage to all those old telly programmes that bring together the important people in our life, even if it’s just in front of the box. (And if you’ve ever watched Gogglebox, you’ll know watching TV with loved ones can be hugely social, educational, and affirming.)
I feel a huge amount of nostalgia that Brucie won’t be there on a Saturday night in my living room. The end of an era, the last of his type. Though I am sure there will still be surprises to come. Who would’ve thought his cameo hosting of Have I Got News For You in 2003 would regenerate his career and catapult him back onto our screens for another decade?
It’s been a memorable few days to say the least and yellow has been the joyful colour woven throughout.
Firstly, Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France, the first Brit ever to do this. Obviously yellow is always the colour associated with this race.
Then on Thursday I went to London with my family to attend my book launch. On the way there, struggling in a very tight yellow dress to match the bright yellow of my new book cover, we were caught up with the Olympic flame at Hyde Park and came within feet of it. We took cabs, walked, and got propelled along by the crowds and eventually made it to Great Windmill Street to the launch venue, kindly hosted by Red (yes, I know) Consultancy.
I was worried no one would turn up as they would be put off by the Olympic crush but gradually the room filled and I was so grateful to everyone who made the epic journey to come out, including one lovely friend who I hadn’t seen in over twenty years since our PGCE.
Red are based right opposite the Windmill Theatre which was the place where Sir Bruce Forsyth started his long career as a teenager. He was the inspiration for my first novel ‘The Generation Game’ which was launched from the same place almost exactly a year ago. And on the day of the launch of ‘This Holey Life’, Brucie carried the Olympic torch, representing the BBC.
Back in Devon yesterday, we watched the amazing opening ceremony, kicked off by Bradley Wiggins in his yellow jersey and watched on by Michelle Obama in a yellow dress. All these splashes of colour will stay with me for a very long time.
And finally: if you have an unpublished novel lurking about, do think about entering it for this year’s Luke Bitmead Bursary award. But don’t think about it for too long as the closing date is August 3rd. I wouldn’t have got to wear that yellow dress had I not entered two years ago.
Great excitement in the Duffy household as Sir Brucie is finally knighted. For those of you out there who don’t know, my debut novel The Generation Game was published this summer and is in part homage to Sir Bruce and the other TV stars of my childhood. So I was thrilled to see that Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden are made OBEs – which makes a full set of Goodies as Bill Oddie got his a few years ago.
And Bernard Cribbins got an OBE too. I remember him clearly from the 70s … The Railway Children …. Jackanory ... The Wombles … what a voice. So glad he’s been honoured and good to know that her Majesty likes a bit of nostalgia too!
And from the world of literature there’s an MBE for novelist Kate Atkinson and for children’s laureate Julia Donaldson. Both very popular in our house. Congratulations.