Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Phillips leads Strictly team tributes to ‘indestructible titan’ Sir Bruce

Strictly stars past and present shared their touching memories of the Saturday night TV star.

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Phillips, has told how she will deeply miss “indestructible titan” and “true legend” Sir Bruce Forsyth.

The star paid tribute to the support he gave her after she left the BBC dance contest – on which he was a presenter – in 2009, and described him as a “joy” to work with, even when he teased her judging style.

Phillips, 74, told the Press Association: “I am so very sad to hear of Bruce’s death. To me, he was an indestructible titan tap dancing his way through life.

“I’ve known Bruce since the 70s when we judged a disco dance competition together and the rest is history.

“Working with him on Strictly was personally a joy. His endless teasing of my judging style, particularly with strong sportsmen, was an ongoing joke.

“His enormous support after I was let go from the Strictly panel meant so much.

“Bruce was a true legend, to watch him warming up the audience before filming was a masterclass in entertainment. His quick use of comedy to avoid disaster on a live show was beyond compare.

“Above all, his phenomenal tap dancing skills will always remain with me. Bruce was the best of the best.

“He was a true national treasure and there will never be another like him. He will be missed by many generations.”

Phillips joined a wealth of Strictly stars past and present in paying tribute to the Saturday night TV legend, who died at the age of 89 on Friday.

The show’s former head judge Len Goodman, who worked alongside Sir Bruce for many years, said in a statement: “As long as I can remember there has always been Bruce on our TV. He was a part of my telly viewing from my teens. So you can imagine my excitement on being asked to be on Strictly and have Bruce, one of my heroes, on the same show.

“He was so kind and encouraging to me the other judges and all those involved in the show.

“I used to pop round to his dressing room and chat about stars he met. The truth is there was no one I mentioned he hadn’t met.

“His work ethic, professionalism and charm will be with me forever. One of his catchphrases was “You’re my favourite.”

“Well, you were one of mine and the nation’s favourites. Bruce, it was nice to see you, to see you, nice.”

Continuing Strictly judge, Craig Revel Horwood, said: “Extremely sad to hear the news of Bruce’s passing. A true legend and national treasure. He will be deeply missed but always remembered.”

The show’s current hosting duo – Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman – both paid emotional tributes to Sir Bruce.

Daly said: “There are no words to describe how heartbroken I am to be told the saddest news, that my dear friend Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away.

“From the moment we met, Bruce and I did nothing but laugh our way through a decade of working together on Strictly Come Dancing and I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain the audiences he so loved.

“He has been there for me as a co-host, a mentor, but most importantly as a friend, and I’m extremely fortunate to have worked alongside the man who defined Saturday night entertainment for so many decades.

“He was a gentleman and a true legend and I will miss him deeply.

“My heart goes out to Winnie, his wife, and his beautiful family at this sad time.”

Daly’s Strictly co-host Winkleman wrote on Twitter: “He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people… all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love….

“The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We’ll miss him so much.”

Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli said: “So sad A new star in heaven goodbye dear friend and national treasure #sirbruceforsyth I will forever treasure the fun time we had together.”

The show’s latest addition to the judging panel Shirley Ballas wrote on Twitter that she was a “huge fan” of Sir Bruce’s.

She added: “As a little girl I would watch all his shows. I found him so loveable and funny. It’s a sad day.”

Strictly veteran and professional dancer, Anton Du Beke wrote: “Devastated to hear the news about my dear friend Bruce. Sending all my love to his family. A part of my heart will always be broken.”

Fellow dancer, Brendan Cole, added: “My heart is heavy, it’s a very sad day. The passing of a great man and friend. My thoughts are with the Forsyth family. Didn’t he do well”

Abbey Clancy, the 2013 series celebrity winner, shared a backstage snap with Sir Bruce and wrote: “Heartbroken to hear this sad news RIP sir Bruce Forsyth so honoured to have had the chance to get to know you whilst on strictly come dancing what a legend and amazing man you will be sadly missed.”


From Belfast Telegraph