HE may have been an easy target for generations of amateur impressionists since almost the dawn of the television age, but Sir Bruce Forsyth set the gold standard for light entertainment in Britain.
Perhaps the closest we have produced to the great Sammy Davis Jr, he was at once singer, comedian, dancer and game show host, rolled into the same, lanky, lantern-jawed frame who lit up countless lives with easygoing style.
His mastery of the simplistic game show format was said to have concealed his deeper talents, but they were not lost to his vast viewing public who kept watching the all-round entertainer for 60 years for the simple reason that they liked him and enjoyed his company.
He learned his trade the hard way, in the showbusiness backwaters of the 1950s, and when he emerged as a star at the end of that decade he was already something of a veteran. Yet few could have foreseen his capacity for endurance, not least his last hurrah as the host of Strictly Come Dancing which was made for him as this national treasure’s infectious enthusiasm won over a new generation of admirers. His passing brings down the curtain on what is already becoming a lost era of family entertainment. Who among today’s coterie of performers can hope to fill his dancing shoes?