Before I start this review proper I should point out that Saturday night TV was a massive deal in the 1970s especially at the BBC who had a timetable formula along the lines of
5.30 - DOCTOR WHO
6.00 - THE GENERATION GAME
6.50 - A Feature film ( Usually an action adventure )
8.30 - THE DICK EMERY SHOW
9.00 - News
9.15 - MICHAEL PARKINSON
10.00 - MATCH OF THE DAY
We're talking of some legendary shows so the BBC rival ITV ( Remember in those days the Brits only had three TV stations - BBC 1 , BBC 2 and ITV ) decided to hit back and capture much of the audience share by producing the light entertainment extravaganza BIG NIGHT . In fact the show was marketed as " BRUCE FORSYTH'S BIG NIGHT " since star of THE GENERATION GAME Bruce Forsyth had been poached off the BBC
The format was simple , Brucie would start the show with a few gags , a special guest would come on and do a few songs , we'd get a sit-com called THE GLUMS , Brucie would tell a few more gags , they'd be a quiz show , Brucie would tell a few more gags and if I remember correctly there'd be a quiz . Have I mentioned that BIG NIGHT would last for almost three hours ? That was its downfall it would go on for far too long in a very similar vein , there might be different aspects to what was happening on screen but it's still a light entertainment show while over the road the BBC would be showing Tom Baker being attacked by giant condoms , followed by Larry Grayson making a camp fool of himself , followed by some hunky macho movie hero taking on a bunch of international criminals , I mean if you weren't impressed by some of the BBC's Saturday night output you were probably in a coma .
It was with much embarrassment that ITV cut short its planned run of BIG NIGHT . I think the last edition featured Brucie holding a question and answer session from the audience which revolved around " Why do you think the critics have been so cruel to the show ? " which is rather silly because the answer was staring everyone in the face : For a variety show it lacked variety and was about two hours too long
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