The Lowdown on: Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth

September 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

bruce-and-tess.jpgOne’s a prehistoric TV legend, the other’s a blonde stunner. Together they make up the cringe-worthy yet kind of charming co-presenting team of ITV’s Strictly Come Dancing, back for its sixth series this Saturday. With all the hype surrounding the show’s forthcoming celeb contestants, OntheBox thought it was only fair to take a look at the careers of its hosting couple, Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly.


Tess Daly (born Helen Elizabeth Tess Daly in 1971) is a northern lass with an affable straight-talking demeanour. Married to DJ and presenter Vernon Kay since 2003, the beautiful couple won Cosmopolitan’s Couple of the Year award last year. Notoriously laid back together, they have no qualms mixing business with pleasure co-presenting the offspring of Strictly Come Dancing, Just the Two of Us (where instead of dancing with professional dancers, celebrities, um, sing with professional, er, singers).


Back in the early days…

Tess didn’t have too much trouble working out that with her skyscraper pins and generally fabulous bodily attributes she’d do pretty well as a model. In 1990 she appeared in two Duran Duran videos for the songs ‘Serious’ and ‘Violence of Summer’. She was also in The Beloved’s video ‘Sweet Harmony’ in 1992 in which she looked to be starkers. A hippy type call for peace with everyone sitting around naked together in a pure white studio, this one was a little more tasteful, if far more bizarre, than Holly Valance’s nude exploits…

Her break into television came in 1999 when she hosted the ‘Find Me a Model’ competition on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast. She then went on to present Singled Out, Smash Hits TV, SMTV Live, Back to Reality and make Me a Supermodel.Her most recent presenting role comes in the form of Strictly Come Dancing. Although placed firmly to one side of Bruce and into the ‘eye-candy female co-presenter’ box, her sharp comments and quirky expressions show not only that the lights are shining upstairs beneath her blonde locks but also that she’s not afraid to look a bit silly.


The grandfather of entertainment, Bruce Forsyth CBE was born all the way back in 1928 as Bruce Joseph Forsyth Johnson. Growing up in London he watched the likes of Fred Astaire in films as a child and inspiration having struck, thus trained as a dancer first starring in the song, dance and accordion group “Boy Bruce and the Mighty Atom.? His very first appearance on TV was in 1939 singing and dancing on a talent show.

bruce.jpgStarting out…

During the war, Bruce continued to perform with the aim of joining Moss Empires Theatres, the largest chain of British music halls to no avail and travelled around appearing in pantomimes and the circus- he was well known for his strong man act!

The year 1958 was golden for Bruce. He appeared with comedian Dickie Henderson which led to him being offered the job of compère of Val Parnell’s weekly variety show, Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Game-show Greatness

Soon came the real high point in Bruce’s career- his game-show greatness. With a talent for charming his audience, Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game was loved by many in 1971 and continued for a six year stint only to become popular all over again and make a comeback thirteen years later (1990-1994) along with his card game-related show, The Price is Right (1995-2001).

One would be only slightly unhealthily cynical to believe that he largely used these shows as part of an egotistical plan to ingrain his catchphrases into the consciousness of the British nation and therefore ensure his legendary status- mwahahaha… Some of the phrases that you will, no doubt, intuitively know (because of Bruce’s mind-control!) include:

“Nice to see you, to see you- nice!”
“Didn’t they do well?”
“You win a Brucie bonus”
“Remember, Bruce’s price is always right”

TV Legend

Bruce has worked over in America and in various aspects of show business more generally, including writing a song for his daughter to sing at the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest which came second to Celine Dion! He presented many lesser known shows- Takeover Bid, Hollywood or Bust, Bruce’s Guest Night and Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night. Over the years he has acquired a legendary status for himself, celebrating his 70th birthday in 1998 by appearing in a week long run of his one man show at the London palladium and concluding with Sunday Night at the London Palladium aired live in ITV.

He has more recently appeared in Have I Got News For You (2003) gladly mocking his own catchphrase-filled presenting style and now, of course, Strictly Come Dancing. The man has many accolades to his name, some of the most recentbeing his CBE in 2006 and his Bafta Academy Fellowship Award this year. The BBC marked his 80th birthday with an 85 minute long programme, Happy Birthday Brucie!

He has always liked to be surrounded by youthful pretty ladies, famously having dated two Miss. Worlds (what a stud!) and has almost always had a female co-presenter on his arm. Bruce himself attributes his own youthful vigour to his strict routine of half hourly Tibetan stretches each day. Take note aging people- young, pretty things and stretching.

This Saturday, Tess and Bruce will be back with another star-studded line up ready for the floor in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing

To get a sneak preview before it all starts, click here.

By Susan Allen