Sir Bruce Forsyth: Tributes to 'a national hero'

image captionSir Bruce co-presented Strictly with Tess Daly until 2004

The showbusiness world has been paying tribute to one of Britain's greatest entertainers, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who has died at the age of 89.

Tess Daly, former Strictly Come Dancing co-host

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.

Sir Michael Parkinson

He loved being a star. He loved making people laugh. He loved entertaining people. All those cliches of that kind of era and that kind of life were true in his case. There wasn't a phoney part of him. He was through and through vaudeville like a stick of rock.

The training he went through - that's all gone now. He's the last remaining survivor of it all. There was no-one quite like him. Never was, never will be.

What made him great was his impeccable workrate and his determination not to ease into anything, to approach every show as if it were his first. I remember watching him thinking, you crafty old sod, you make it look so easy.

And yet of course he was working away to get it right. You can't be as good as that and take it for granted. He took it seriously, and that's why he lasted so long and became so good at it.

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Arlene Phillips, Former Strictly judge

media captionArlene Phillips: "Bruce span 80 times a day"

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.

Len Goodman, former Strictly head judge

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.

Nicholas Parsons

I was devoted to him. He was a lovely man. He had great charm, great humour - he was an all-round performer.

He was one of the country's most talented players - a great dancer, great singer and a comedian and also very good actor.

The way he ran a game show was exceptional - a unique talent. He was a lovely man.

image source, PA
image captionSir Bruce's golfing companions included [L-R] Robert Powell, Chris Evans, Ronnie Corbett and Jimmy Tarbuck (far right)

Jimmy Tarbuck

He was one of the most talented men this country of ours has ever produced. He could do it all.

He was the best push and shove quiz master - that's an old line. He was magnificent and he was a great entertainer.

He could dance, he was a very nice pianist, he was good at sketches, he was the greatest moaner in the world on the golf course, and he was a unique friend to me.

He was an all round good guy to be with… except when he was playing bad on the golf course, and then he would moan like you can't believe.

Showbusiness will be sad tonight. The public and the showbusiness fraternity have lost one of the real greats of our business. He was great, and he was a national hero.

Lord Hall, BBC director general

Today we've lost one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known.

Bruce was a friend to many of our teams. He's been part of our lives for years - and we'll miss him dearly.

He invented, and then re-invented, Saturday night entertainment across the decades with shows from The Generation Game to Strictly. And, of course, his catchphrases were part of the national conversation.

I saw him perform and marvelled at the chemistry between him and his audience right from the moment he took to the stage - and, by the way, that was always well before any cameras were rolling.

Bruce was such a special part of the BBC. There'll be time to celebrate his amazing contribution later, but for now I just wanted to mark his extraordinary life.

Des O'Connor

Bruce was so very special, he had such warmth and humour and he was such a superb talent. He will be irreplaceable in peoples' hearts.

I have known him a lifetime. I toured with him in the early days. He was brilliant right from the start. This is such a sad time - the nation will be heartbroken.

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