As a number of pubs shut their doors Huddersfield University lecturer and sports historian PETER DAVIES looks at how one local’s husband and wife team are playing their cards right to buck the trend and make sure people come through their doors
“HIGHER or lower?” He’s the Kirkburton area’s answer to Bruce Forsyth.
Meet Alan Jarvis, landlord of the White Swan on Penistone Road at Dogley Bar.
Every Tuesday night he deals the cards and invites pub regulars to come out to the front and answer Brucie’s trademark question.
Play Your Cards Right is now a favourite at many Huddersfield pubs and Alan introduced the format to the White Swan a few months ago.
“We use it to round the night off about 10.30pm,” he said. “We have a quiz on a Tuesday evening and it’s become a nice follow-on to that.
“The four participants are drawn at random; I do the Brucie bit!”
Alan, 55, and wife Elaine, 53, have been at the White Swan for two years.
There has been a pub on the site since 1927 and before that there was a hostelry not too far away from where the pub now stands.
The husband and wife team were previously landlord and landlady at the nearby Smiths Arms in Highburton.
They both hail from Sheffield, Alan from Manor and Elaine from Handsworth.
Alan was a roofing contractor before he moved into the licensing trade. Before moving to Huddersfield the duo managed a pub close to the Don Valley Stadium in the Steel City.
Play Your Cards Right – or Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Cards Right to give it its full title – was a TV show based on American show Card Sharks.
It ran between 1980 and 1987 on ITV and was produced by London Weekend Television.
LWT produced an updated version from 1994 to 1999.
On Play Your Cards Right Bruce had a variety of catchphrases, including: “What a lovely audience, so much better than last week!”, “Don’t touch the pack, we’ll be right back!” and “It could still be a big night if you play your cards right!”
The man himself has just turned 80.
He achieved celebrity on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and became a household name after hosting The Generation Game, The Price Is Right and Strictly Come Dancing, as well as Play Your Cards Right.
He was born in north London as Bruce Joseph Forsyth Johnson and is a passionate Tottenham Hotspur fan.
He made his TV debut in 1939 and also spent many years performing on stage.
From 1953 to 1973 Bruce was married to Penny Calvert, and the couple had three daughters.
In 1973 he wed Anthea Redfern, who had been his co-star on The Generation Game. Both marriages ended in divorce.
Bruce is now married to the 1975 Miss World, Wilnelia Merced, and the couple have one son.
Bruce has had his large chin regularly lampooned, and last December his catchphrase ‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice’, was voted the public’s favourite TV catchphrase of all time.
And the icing on the cake came in 2006 when he was made a CBE.
Back in Kirkburton, Tuesday nights are always busy at the White Swan.
The pub is full, with local folk mixing with university students from the Storthes Hall campus and other regulars.
There’s the quiz, the Play Your Cards Right session and supper – which could be Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and gravy or burgers.
Three Play Your Cards Right enthusiasts are Tom Gunson, 24, a mechanic from Shepley, teac her Sarah-Jane Clark, 27, also from Shepley, and Nina Gunson, 32, a fellow teacher, from Shelley.
They sit in a corner, struggling over the quiz questions and dipping into the food. “We love Tuesdays,” said Nina. “We’ve been coming here for 18 months. The pub has a nice atmosphere and we’re always up for Play Your Cards Right.”