Belfast Telegraph

Why Bruce Forsyth really deserves his knighthood

By Gail Walker

Predictably, Sir Bruce Forsyth's knighthood brought out the usual naysayers, grumbling about honours being given to someone for "just doing their job".

Some take even lower roads, sniping about how awful Brucie is. Of course, all the flak is simple snobbery. Game show host? Comedian? Hoofer?

Few complain when sportsmen get gongs. Or thespians (actors to you and me). Or popstars like Sir Elton, Sir Cliff, Sir Mick. They are 'creative'. Still, weren't they all just "doing their jobs" too?

But they never spent an hour in my living room talking to me personally, the way Brucie has done. They were often boring, outdated, cheesy and throwing their wealth in our faces. But no one ever accused Bruce of being more than an entertainer. At 83, he's spent 70 years cheering us up.

Brucie knew the disdain for mere "light entertainers" well when he chose to dedicate his knighthood to Morecambe -amp; Wise, Eric Sykes, Frankie Howerd and Tommy Cooper. None of them, for all they were representative of that peculiar spirit everyone talks so much about, ever felt the regal sword on their shoulder.

Maybe there are people who think making millions laugh is easy. Heaven knows, there are enough wannabes on TV and in hotels, who think being funny is a cinch - and, boy, are they wrong.

From Sunday Night at the London Palladium to the Generation Game and Play Your Cards Right to talking up some C-lister on Strictly, Bruce has been one of the truly great entertainers.

And he does it live. No second takes. When it goes wrong, it's quick-witted Brucie who fixes it. He has the gift of putting people at their ease. His is a humour lacking in malice.

Maybe making ordinary people's lives a bit brighter isn't as important as being a Captain of Industry or a senior civil servant. But I know which one I'd rather be stuck in a lift with.

And Sir Bruce, you know what they say: once a knight ... should be enough for anyone.

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