So, just what has the Queen got against this man?
It's always nice to see him, to see him nice – but, yet again, there's no knighthood for Bruce Forsyth
It's not as if the Queen doesn't know who he is, the veteran entertainer has performed in front of Her Majesty at least five times at the Royal Variety Performance. But for some reason she seems not to be amused by Bruce Forsyth's soft-shoe shuffle and cheesy patter.
For, while sliding down a hill very quickly was enough to win Amy Williams an MBE for services to sport – she won gold on the skeleton in this year's Winter Olympics – a lifetime in entertainment, and presenting one of TV's most popular shows at the age of 82, doesn't warrant a knighthood.
Politicians and showbusiness stars yesterday expressed their dismay that Brucie has once again been overlooked, despite a long-standing campaign to honour the veteran television host's 71-year career.
True, his schtick lacks the post-ironic flourish of some younger, less polished pretenders. And there's a whiff of the unreconstructed around some of his gags. But if you open an encyclopaedia and look up National Treasure, there he'll be; smile glinting out of the page.
All of which makes it hard to fathom why – when Vicki Michelle, who starred in the 1980s' television comedy 'Allo 'Allo, was awarded an MBE, and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones a CBE – Forsyth, and the 25,000 people who signed a Facebook campaign to see him knighted, are still denied.
Claudia Winkleman, presenter of Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show Strictly – It Takes Two, said last night: "He should definitely have a knighthood and I for one am livid he hasn't." Veteran entertainer Nicholas Parsons added: "He's been an institution. He's also done a lot for charity ... he definitely deserves it."
The chief executive of Channel 5, Dawn Airey, said that "it was odd" that Brucie had missed out again. "I've grown up with him," she said, "from The Generation Game to Strictly Come Dancing .... Honours are about a body of work and it's very hard to see who can beat him. It just shows the idiosyncrasies of the honours system."
TV presenter Sarah Beeny pointed out that Brucie's catchphrases are embedded in the national psyche. "Some are so ingrained in us that they almost belong in the English dictionary," she said. "I use 'Brucie Bonus' a lot, and have used 'Nice to see you, to see you nice'. For that alone, he should be knighted."
Two years ago, 73 MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling for Forsyth to be knighted. Yesterday, politicians were still angry at the snub.
Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, said: "He has always provided entertainment of a highly professional standard. I have encountered him on Strictly Come Dancing, and I think he does it brilliantly." And Lib Dem whip Bob Russell said: "When you look at those who have knighthoods, you have to ask, why hasn't Bruce? There is something utterly class-ridden and snobbish in Britain. He has entertained generations and his appearance in Have I Got News for You is testament to his talent. The honours list is anything but transparent – it's opaque."
Earlier this year, Bruce, who was awarded a CBE in 2006, said "a knighthood would be nice for the family", with characteristic modesty. "The public campaign to get me knighted was flattering, and I am happy with my CBE. The greats of British light entertainment, like the Eric Morecambes and Tommy Coopers, are rarely recognised and that's a shame," he added.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office, which recommends people for honours, said: "We can only comment on people who have won awards. Mr Forsyth was delighted to be awarded the CBE."
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