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Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 16:47 GMT


Forsyth's winning words

Bruce's bonus: Three of Forsyth's phrases are in the top 60

Veteran entertainer Bruce Forsyth has joined the ranks of Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw - by becoming one of Britain's most quoted people.

The game show host's catchphrases - "Nice to see you, to see you, nice," "Didn't he do well?" and "I'm in charge" - all feature in the new Oxford Dictionary of 20th Century Quotations.

A host of other entertainers appear in the top 60 quotes from the book, which seeks to highlight the origins of catchphrases and sayings which have entered the English language this century.

A team of researchers compiled the list by scanning newspapers and magazines as well as TV and radio to create a database of the phrases that are heard every day.

'Part of the public consciousness'

[ image: Sir David Frost:
Sir David Frost: "Hello, good evening and welcome" a favourite since 1968
Editor Elizabeth Knowles said: "By their very familarity, catchphrases become a part of the public consciousness.

"With Bruce Forsyth the quotations are very much associated with his personality and have become extremely popular."

While Forysth's first "Nice to see you" was uttered in 1973, other new sayings in the dictionary have been with us for decades.

"Anyone for tennis?" is believed to have come from George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance in 1914. "Evening, all," is associated with policemen everywhere, but actually dates back to TV series Dixon of Dock Green, which began in 1956.

ITMA responsible for many

[ image: Sir John Junor:
Sir John Junor: "Pass the sick bag, Alice"
Radio comedy It's That Man Again, which ran for 10 years from 1939, is responsible for bringing the world such gems as "I don't mind if I do," and "Can I do you now sir?"

"We have ways of making you talk" is believed to be even older, first appearing in the 1935 film Lives Of A Bengal Lancer.

Journalism's contribution to the language is also featured with Private Eye's slurred "shome mistake shurely" making it into the top 60, along with the late Sunday Express editor Sir John Junor's "pass the sick bag, Alice".

David Frost's "Hello, good evening and welcome" is also in the list.

More recent phrases

[ image: The X-Files: Their catchphrase is definitely in there]
The X-Files: Their catchphrase is definitely in there
More recent catchphrases are also included, such as cartoon character Bart Simpson's supposed saying "Eat my shorts" - a phrase his creator Matt Groening insists he never actually used.

The X-Files' slogan "The truth is out there" is also in the top 60 - even though it is only five years old.

"We think that one will stay around for years. But some of the newer phrases may not last that long.

"We have to be aware of fashion and how the language changes - but many of the sayings have been with us since the First World War," said a spokeswoman for Oxford University Press.

Famous last words are also included, from George V's "Bugger Bognor" to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's final words: "Tell them I've had a wonderful life."

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