SIR Bruce Forsyth’s wife says Strictly Come Dancing is now sexier than ever – and the late TV legend would have loved it.
Lady Wilnelia Forsyth told how Bruce, the original presenter of the series who spent a decade at the helm, would have celebrated it becoming “more risqué”.
The former Miss World, 62, who was married to the telly favourite for 35 years, has only just started to be able to watch the dancing show again following the national treasure’s death in 2017 from bronchial pneumonia.
And while he would have also embraced the ballroom show celebrating same-sex dancers, she says the all-round entertainer — who spent 75 years at the top of the showbiz tree — would have lamented the absence of comedy acts and lack of straight-talking as TV stars have grown afraid of being dubbed politically incorrect.
Lady Wilnelia told the Sun on Sunday: “At the beginning I just couldn’t watch, it was too painful. But this year I have been watching, and it is different.
“The dancing is more risqué now, and sexier. Times have changed since the show began.
“You can see a change in the clothes, the dresses, too.
“They are beautiful and you could wear them anywhere — if they were a bit longer.
“I think Bruce would have definitely liked the show becoming sexier. If you do it with style and respect, what’s the problem? My husband always moved with the times.
“He would have supported same-sex couples dancing together on the show for the same reason.
“After all, if same sex couples are getting married and raising families together, why shouldn’t they dance together? This should be normal now.
“I remembered recently that in the 1950s Bruce actually filmed a sketch with Norman Wisdom and the two of them danced together as a couple.
“If he was here now, I think he would be the most accepting person of same-sex dancing.”
The milestone dance was performed last month by male pro dancers Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe. Viewers were quick to praise the move by Strictly.
And Lady Wilnelia continued: “It doesn’t matter if it’s two girls or two guys, it’s about the dance.
“There’s nothing more beautiful than two people moving their bodies together — it’s wonderful.
“And it’s what the audience want to see on Strictly.
“The audience have a voice now, because they are talking about the show on social media, and that is very powerful.
“If Bruce was here, he’d probably be on Instagram now. But he’d have found himself in so much trouble because he always spoke his mind.
“That was one of the things I loved the most about him. People don’t speak their minds as much now because they’re frightened of a backlash.”
Bruce was invited to front Strictly’s very first series back in 2004.
Lady Wilnelia told how the star, who had expected all the celebrities to be awful dancers, was amazed by their transformation during the competition.
But many of Bruce’s highlights still came courtesy of the show’s more comic contestants.
Lady Wilnelia reckons he would be sorry at the absence in recent series of contestants who brought laughter to the show, such as Ann Widdecombe, Russell Grant, John Sargeant and Ed Balls.
She added: “There has been a shift away from those acts and it’s a shame, because Bruce loved them.
“He was a born entertainer and they were entertaining.
“I remember Ann in particular because she was so brave at times, but she took the show so lightly. I think that’s what people like to see on Strictly. You don’t want everyone to be perfect, and you want to see the personalities there.”
Recurring ill-health saw Bruce film his last series of Strictly in 2013. Co-host Tess Daly continued in the role and It Takes Two presenter Claudia Winkleman took Bruce’s place.
But he still loved to watch the programme at home and would send Tess, 50, good luck messages before she went on air.
He also shared close friendships with former head judge Len Goodman and professional dancer Anton Du Beke, with pals often joking that he and Anton could be father and son.
Lady Wilnelia said: “Bruce found Claudia really funny and, though Tess played the straight part to his funnyman on Strictly, he always said how great her sense of humour was.
“They had spent so much time together over the years.
“She and Len would come down to his dressing room before the show every Saturday.
“He and Len, and Anton, would play golf together too. At the time people would joke that Anton and Bruce could be father and son.
“Bruce would have liked to see Anton as a judge, he’d have supported him in anything. But I think Anton is just happy to be a part of the family.”
Bruce and Wilnelia fell in love after meeting when they were both judges at Miss World 1980, held in the UK. She had won the competition five years earlier.
They married three years later and went on to have son Jonathan, who is now 32.
Wilnelia used to accompany Bruce to the BBC Television Centre where he filmed Strictly on Saturdays.
Now, watching on telly, she admits it feels like someone is missing.
She went on: “I miss Bruce. I miss his silly jokes at the end, which always made me laugh.
“I am much better than I was, but it’s true what people say to you, grieving is a journey. Sometimes it’s hard because I think about him all the time.
“Our house is still the same as it was. And even when I’m not thinking about him, something often happens to remind me.
“I was playing golf a few weeks ago and I saw a buggy being driven by a gentleman with a hat on. For a minute there was a resemblance and I got very emotional. I couldn’t stop myself crying.
“Unfortunately, you just can’t avoid things like that.
“Christmases and birthdays for his family will never be the same. And only someone who has lost someone so dear will understand how it feels.
“But what we had was so much more than a marriage, and that’s why it was so special.”