Larry Grayson Steps Into Bruce’s Shoes

Larry Grayson’s Generation Game, 1978

Doesn’t time fly, it’s 45 years since Larry Grayson stepped into Bruce Forsyth’s shoes and took the popular game show to new heights.

Bruce had left to host ‘The Big Night’ leaving the BBC with a vacancy for their premier Saturday night show.

Alan Boyd, producer of the Generation Game at the time, remembers that there were many proposals as to who should take over. However, he felt he did not want the new program to be comparable to Forsyth’s Generation Game, (he did not want the audience to be able to compare the two shows to think that Bruce was better or that the new host was better) so he cast Larry Grayson to take over, with a new theme tune and scenery, and a new Co Host, Isla St Clair.

Gone were the consolation prize tankards, replaced with doors.  The comfy leather chair featured in the end game as contestants tried to remember what was on the conveyor belt was replaced by a white high backed kitchen chair.  “lets have a look at the old scoreboard” became “scores on the doors”

Larry Grayson was a natural choice to host the show, he could make you laugh with just a look.

At the time the show reached peak audiences with one week viewing figures reached 25 million.

It was also during Larry Grayson’s era (1980) that a junior version of the show was considered, to be titled The Younger Generation Game, with two young siblings of different ages in place of older contestants. It was not confirmed whether Grayson would have hosted this proposed spin-off version, and it ultimately was never commissioned.

Sadly by the early part of the 1980’s ITV were hitting back with their own hugely successful gameshow: Game For A Laugh.  The Generation Game remained popular, but in 1982, after a highlights episode from the previous series, host Larry Grayson decided to call time whilst it was still popular.  Keen to keep Grayson’s momentum going the BBC approached Jimmy Tarbuck to host but he turned it down and The Generation Game was cancelled after dominating Saturday night viewing for 10 years.


As with Brucie’s version, contestants made fools of themselves competing in a series of games and tasks.  The winning two couples would go onto the end game and the overall winner got to see what was on the conveyor belt tonight.

The ever popular Saturday night show suffered a blip when, in 1981 the Generation Game began to suffer falling ratings against ITV’s Game For A Laugh.  The show continued, but in 1982, Larry Grayson decided to quit whilst the show was still popular.

The BBC considered continuing and to that end approached Jimmy Tarbuck to present the show, he turned it down.

Deciding Larry Grayson could not be replaced, the BBC cancelled The Generation Game.  Whilst it was the end for Larry Grayson’s time at the helm, the Generation Game would return eight years later with Brucie back in charge.















Larry Grayson and Isla St Clair


Channel: BBC1
Larry Grayson’s Run: 1978 -1981, 3rd January 1982 (highlights from series 4, Larry’s final appearance )