Tuesday, 27 February 2018

"Let's meet the eight who are going to generate!"

"Let's meet the eight who are going to generate!"

We'd never really covered game shows before, but with the sad passing of Brucie in August 2017, we simply had to talk about 'Bruce Forsyth And The Generation Game'.  The original incarnation of the show spans 1971 to 1977 (Roy Castle presents one edition in 1975 and Larry Grayson takes over in 1978) and was part of that incredibly strong Saturday night schedule that BBC One has been trying to recreate ever since.

The Christmas 1973 edition is, er, readily available, shall we say... Shown on Christmas Day before 'The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show' (which was in turn followed by 'The Morecambe And Wise Christmas Show') it's a hugely entertaining edition that had us laughing like drains.

The more eccentric  the contestants are, the better. There's an old lady chiropodist from Corfe Mullen (very local to us!) who refuses to wear her false teeth and this sort of raw material is an absolute gift for Brucie.

It's a truly star-studded show with celebrity snowmen in the form of Derek Nimmo and Jimmy Ellis (or Sergeant 'Z Cars' as one team call him)

A bloke with an unconvincing hairstyle does the old trick with the tablecloth, while a lady makes Christmas crackers. Fanny and Johnnie Cradock also turn up to make a massive mince pie.

The fun and games veer towards the shambolic at times, but Bruce never allows anyone to look like idiots. The atmosphere is warm and inclusive and there is no sense of anyone actually needing to win the prizes at the end.

The highlight for me is the very amateur production of 'Cinderella' towards the end of the competition. With Frankie Howerd as the guest actor, what we get is a frantic village hall-style affair where everyone simply wades in and tries their best.

Indeed, some of the Frankie Howerd impressions out-do the real thing. "Yes, aah! No, ooh!" goes an old man, giving a performance I could watch all night.

And onto the conveyor belt, which is blessed with some many cuddly toys I feel sorry for the blokes shoving them on like crazy. You get a good shot here of the round window in the set, with some proper 1973 colours on display.

It might have been seen as fairly disposable stuff in its day, but coming back to it nearly 45 years later (ouch!) it really does stand up as a delightful serving of Christmas cheer and a lasting testament to Bruce's supreme ability to entertain.

Didn't they do well?!

(By Andrew Trowbridge)

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