TV: Living With Brucie \ Channel 4

Posted on July 14, 2010

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Did Bruce Forsyth insist on seeing the final edit of Channel 4 documentary Living with Brucie. And, if he didn’t, does he now wish he did?

The octaganerian frequently displayed his unease about the documentary filming style, rehearsing shots – sometimes even directing the producer – and often requesting certain areas of his Puerto Rico property didn’t get filmed on account of things looking a bit messy.When we saw the behind the scenes shots showing how Forsyth essentially staged his shirt-washing sequence, the image was complete.

Here was a hugely popular, hugely talented all-round TV presenter. Hee made his TV debut in 1939. He’s renowned for his professionalism. And yet at the same time Forsyth reveals in this documentary a painful truth about himself.

The only way he feels comfortable being in front of the camera talking straight down the lens of a TV camera. That’s endearing. It’s reassuring. It’s also saddening at the same time. Because doing an act straight to camera is – without doubt – evidence of an internal dialogue.

This was a touching documentary. By seeing chinks of the real Forsyth worrying about how a shot was set up or what the line was which needed delivering, we saw someone who couldn’t let go. Someone who still maintains his borderline obsessional professionalism. He takes pride in it. That’s obvious.

The documentary is successful largely because of the subject, because he warmed to what must have been a wrench in terms of TV production for him. And, if he did ‘sign-off’ the final edit before transmission then he also shows an impressive grasp of how important authentic transparency really is in plausible documentary making. And that makes him every bit the national treasure he is.

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Posted in: TV