Strictly Come Dancing stalwart Bruce Forsyth has denied the latest batch of reports that he is set to retire from the show.

Speculation over his future on the BBC One flagship – which kicks off its live shows on Friday night – had been rife following claims that the recent launch show took five hours to record due to his inability to remember lines.

However the 85-year-old told the Daily Record: “I had to laugh when I read that. If that was true I’d be fired by the BBC if I hadn’t quit already.”

He added: “What slowed this up was filming from a new studio at Elstree for the first time.

“Many of the crew are the same but when you’re getting used to new surrounds, it’s like finding your way around a new house.”

He added that several of the live performances – including those of Jessie J and Rod Stewart – had to be re-recorded a number of times during filming.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Bruce would quit the show after this series – with his friend, comedian Ronnie Corbett, saying he was becoming too tired to continue.

“Bruce seems to thrive on entertaining but whether he will thrive after this series of Strictly I don’t know,” the funnyman said.

The presenter once again dismissed the claims, saying: “Every year for 10 years I’ve been retiring from Strictly but it hasn’t happened yet. I can’t imagine ever stopping working.”