Beleaguered BBC bosses were left reeling today after yet another scandal broke involving one of their biggest star turns.
Already engulfed in controversy following the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal, BBC chiefs fear the corporation known as 'Auntie' may become terminally tainted with this latest shocking revelation.
The man at the centre of the scandal is the legendary Sir Bruce Forsyth.
Sir Bruce, 84, famed for his chin based antics and idiotic catchphrases, is to be the focus of a new ITV documentary called 'Sir Bruce Forsyth - Chinner or Sinner?'
The documentary revolves around claims that Forsyth has actually got a very small chin and has been deceiving his millions of fans by wearing a false chin for the last 70 years.
A number of anonymous sources appear on the show claiming Forsyth made no real attempt to hide it behind the scenes and could regularly be seen sitting in his dressing room, chin in hand while stroking his miniscule real chin.
A former make up artist at the BBC claims that she saw Forsyth applying his fake chin then cunningly disguising it with elaborate make up to hide the joins. She said, "He would get very agitated if I tried to apply make up to his chin. He always preferred to do it himself."
Forsyth is alleged to have used around 60 separate chins over his entire career. The documentary claims it has seen a letter addressed to Forsyth from his father in which he tells his young son that he'll get nowhere in the world of entertainment with his "pathetic excuse for a chin" and that he needed a "strong chin" to survive in show business. It is believed that this advice led a youthful Forsyth to buy his first false chin.
A former assistant to Forsyth reckons he hadn't intended to continue using the false chin but was hoping to be able to discard it once he was established on television. She told the show, "He confided in me about the fake chin back in the 70's. He didn't want to use it but by the time he became a famous face on television he had no choice. The public expected to see him with his oversize chin. He said he felt naked without it. I believe he was suffering immense inner turmoil over the whole situation. Personally I didn't think it was a big deal."
Another former BBC employee claims that during Forsyth's first stint hosting 'The Generation Game' she approached BBC bigwigs to tell them about the fake chin but they laughed off her claims. She told the ITV documentary, "He is incredibly powerful at the Beeb. The bosses didn't want to know. Like me, they probably feared reprisals for exposing Bruce. He's untouchable."
The BBC will investigate the claims "thoroughly" according to a statement made today to establish if the allegations have any foundation and also to see if there was a culture of silence regarding this outrageous behaviour.
They will also probe further allegations made in the ITV documentary about other big chinned BBC stars to see if they were using fake chins and if they were complicit in the cover up.
Sir Bruce, who recently perfected his doddery old codger routine on the BBC's smash hit show 'Strictly Come Dancing', has been asked about rumours surrounding his chin in the past. Whilst filming an interview with Louis Theroux he denied the false chin rumours as being "totally preposterous."
The scandal, which is almost certain to be called 'The Forsyth Saga' by tabloid hacks, has already had an impact on Forsyth's charity work.
The British Chin Society, a charitable organisation which supports people with small or no chins, of which Sir Bruce is an honourary president after years of tireless fundraising, has distanced itself from the entertainer following the outbreak of the scandal. In a statement on their website they say they are "catagorically unaware of Forsyth's inappropriate behaviour" and they will be "reviewing his position as honourary president."
One of Forsyth's biggest fans, local busybody and retired racist, Wally Spankerton, from the village of Little Divot, told us, " I don't believe these rumours. Next they'll be telling us that Terry Wogan wears a wig and that Jim Davidson is a racist womaniser. Mind you, if it is true then he's a heartless git and I hope he gets what's coming to him."
Meanwhile, ITV bosses will be investigating Forsyth's behaviour while he was employed with them during his money for old rope gameshow years.