Bruce Forsyths Big Night

Cannon and Ball were scheduled to appear in this ill-fated Bruce Forsyth show on ITV in 1978. However, none of their material was ever shown.

The following article and pictures were taken from ‘Who Killed Saturday Night TV’, which featured the duo.

Voiceover: Cannon and Ball were ITVs big hope to finally break the BBCs Saturday night monopoly. But after losing Opportunity Knocks, they had a struggle to even get on air. First they were used a Bruce’s stooges in the ill-fated Big Night. But these sketches didn’t even make it to air. The suits in charge thought that the answer to Big Nights problems was even more Bruce. And Tommy and Bobby remained on the cutting room floor.

Tommy: Really, it was disappointing for us, but yet in another way it helped our career, because we were never shown. Each week, somthing come up and we were dropped, and we were dropped, and we were dropped, on everything that we did. And we got more publicity out of that as people began to catch on that Cannon and Ball kept being dropped. And suddenly it was Michael Grade who actually saw a clip, and he turned round and said you’ve got your own show.

Bobby: And there we were for a little bit, and then all the technicians went on strike.

Tommy: They did

Bobby: But then they showed us, and obviously the publicity worked. When we went on we were like, gobsmacked.

Voiceover: Bobby and Tommy finally made it on air on Saturday 8th July 1979. Their end of pier pranks immediately pulled in 12 million committed followers.

Guest: I remember laughing that hard right the way through the show that I actually blacked out for a while. It’s amazing that in the same show I was actually moved to tears at the end when they did a number. To be able to take an audience right through that range of emotions is just something very special.

Tommy: When we did the North Pier, in Blackpool, that’s when suddenly we realised how our lives had changed. And the queue for tickets was right the way round the pier and right the way down the seafront. We couldn’t get down the pier. It was just incredible.

Bobby: We had to have police protection to come up the pier, there were all these people. We were like pop stars. Unbelievable.