The Doncaster man who helped bring Sir Bruce Forsyth's biggest TV hits to screen - and to town to open an owl sanctuary

Doncaster man Howard Huntridge helped shape the career of Bruce Forsyth in the 1980s.
Doncaster man Howard Huntridge helped shape the career of Bruce Forsyth in the 1980s.

He was best known for huge TV hits like Play Your Cards Right and The Price Is Right - but did you know it was a Doncaster man who helped bring some of the late Sir Bruce Forsyth's biggest successes to the screen?

Two of Sir Bruce's best loved shows were shaped by Doncaster man Howard Huntridge, a television producer who spotted the potential in the formats - and tweaked them both, not just for the star himself but also for British audiences.

And when Mr Huntridge's wife Angela opened an owl sanctuary in Doncaster in the 1990s, it was Sir Bruce who was called in to perform the opening duties, with hundreds of fans turning out to catch a glimpse of him.

Mr Huntridge, a former Doncaster Tech College student, began his TV career as an extra, starring in early episodes of Emmerdale Fam in the 1970s and also on Coronation Street.

But he gradually moved into television production, helping to propel late TV magician Paul Daniels to stardom and working alongside Forsyth on both Play Your Cards Right and The Price Is Right in the 80s.

The card game was based on a US show Card Sharks and The Price Is Right was also an American hit - and Mr Huntridge changed the format of both shows to suit British tastes and allow Sir Bruce to present them in his natural style.

Away from TV, Howard and his wife set up the Hawk's Nest owl sanctuary in Bawtry, helping to care for sick and injured birds, as well as running an adjoining garden centre.

The centre was opened by the star in the mid 90s but closed in 2003 due to a lack of funds.

During its heyday, the sanctuary was treating more than one hundred birds.

Meanwhile, Mr Huntridge was also responsible for bringing Supermarket Sweep, the game show which launched the career of Dale Winton, to British TV screens.

Sir Bruce died at the age of 89 last Friday and had been a fixture on UK television for more than seven decades.