The Morecambe & Wise Show is a BBC television comedy sketch show and the third TV series by English comedy double-act Morecambe and Wise. It began airing in 1968 on BBC2, specifically because it was then the only channel broadcasting in colour, following the duo's move to the BBC from ATV, where they had made Two of a Kind since 1961.
The Morecambe & Wise Show was popular enough to be moved to BBC1, with its Christmas specials garnering prime-time audiences in excess of 20 million, some of the largest in British television history.
After their 1977 Christmas show, Morecambe and Wise returned to ITV, keeping the title The Morecambe & Wise Show.
Runtime: 30 minutes
The Morecambe & Wise Show - Morecambe and Wise - Netflix
Eric Morecambe (John Eric Bartholomew, 14 May 1926 – 28 May 1984) and Ernie Wise (Ernest Wiseman, 27 November 1925 – 21 March 1999), known as Morecambe and Wise (also Eric and Ernie), were an iconic English comic double act, working in variety, radio, film and most successfully in television. Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death in 1984. The show was a significant part of British popular culture, and they have been described as “the most illustrious, and the best-loved, double-act that Britain has ever produced”. In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, The Morecambe and Wise Show was placed 14th. In September 2006, they were voted by the general public as number 2 in a poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars and in 2011 their early career was the subject of the television biopic Eric and Ernie. In 2013, the two were honoured with a blue plaque at Teddington Studios where their last four series were recorded.
The Morecambe & Wise Show - The show - Netflix
A typical Morecambe and Wise show was effectively a sketch show crossed with a sitcom, although shows would also include the duo appearing as themselves on a mock stage in front of curtains emblazoned with an M and W logo (this was usually to open the show). Morecambe and Wise's comic style varied subtly throughout their career, depending on their writers. Their writers during most of the 1960s, Dick Hills and Sid Green, took a relatively straightforward approach, depicting Eric as an aggressive, knockabout comedian and Ernie as an essentially conventional and somewhat disapproving straight man. When Eddie Braben took over as writer, he made the relationship considerably deeper and more complex. The critic Kenneth Tynan noted that, with Braben as writer, Morecambe and Wise had a unique dynamic—Ernie was a comedian who wasn't funny, while Eric was a straight man who was funny. The Ernie persona became simultaneously more egotistical and more naïve. Morecambe pointed out that Braben wrote him as “tougher, less gormless, harder towards Ern.” Wise's contribution to the humour is a subject of an ongoing debate. To the end of his life he would always reject interviewers' suggestions that he was the straight man, preferring to call himself the song-and-dance man. However, Wise's skill and dedication was essential to their joint success, and Tynan praised Wise's performance as “unselfish, ebullient and indispensable”. A central concept was that the duo lived together as close, long-term friends (there were many references to a childhood friendship) who shared not merely a flat but also a bed—although their relationship was purely platonic and merely continued a tradition of comic partners sleeping in the same bed that started with Laurel and Hardy. Morecambe was initially uncomfortable with the bed-sharing sketches, but changed his mind upon being reminded of the Laurel and Hardy precedent; however, he still insisted on smoking his pipe in the bed scenes “for the masculinity”. The front room of the flat and also the bedroom were used frequently throughout the show episodes, although Braben would also transplant the duo into various external situations, such as a health food shop or a bank. Many references were made to Ernie's supposed meanness with money and drink. Another concept of the shows during the Braben era was Ernie's utterly confident presentation of amateurishly inept plays “wot I wrote”. This allowed for another kind of sketch: the staged historical drama, which usually parodied genuine historical television plays or films (such as Stalag 17, Antony and Cleopatra, or Napoleon and Josephine). Wise's character would write a play, complete with cheap props, shaky scenery and appallingly clumsy writing (“the play what I wrote” became a catchphrase), which would then be acted out by Morecambe, Wise and the show's guest star. Guests who participated included many big names of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Dame Flora Robson, Penelope Keith, Laurence Olivier, Sir John Mills, Vanessa Redgrave, Eric Porter, Peter Cushing (who in a running gag would keep turning up to complain that he had not been paid for an earlier appearance) and Frank Finlay—as well as Glenda Jackson (as Cleopatra: “All men are fools. And what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got...”). Jackson had not previously been known as a comedian and this appearance led to her Oscar-winning role in A Touch of Class. Morecambe and Wise would often pretend not to have heard of their guest, or would appear to confuse them with someone else (former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson returned the favour, when appearing as a guest at the duo's flat, by referring to Morecambe as “Mor-e-cam-by”). Also noteworthy was the occasion when the respected BBC newsreader Angela Rippon was induced to show her legs in a dance number (she had trained as a ballet dancer before she became a journalist and TV presenter). Braben later said that a large amount of the duo's humour was based on irreverence. A running gag in a number of shows was a short sequence showing a well-known artist in close-up saying “I appeared in an Ernie Wise play, and look what happened to me!”. The camera would then pull back and show the artist doing some low-status job such as newspaper seller (Ian Carmichael), underground guard (Fenella Fielding), dustman (Eric Porter), bus conductor (André Previn), or some other ill-paid employment. However, celebrities felt they had received the highest accolade in showbusiness by being invited to appear in “an Ernest Wide play” as Ernie once mispronounced it during a show's introduction involving “Vanilla” (Vanessa) Redgrave. As a carry-over from their music hall days, Eric and Ernie sang and danced at the end of each show, although they were forced to abandon this practice when Morecambe's heart condition prevented him from dancing. The solution was that Eric would walk across the stage with coat and bag, ostensibly to wait for his bus, while Ernie danced by himself. Their peculiar skipping dance, devised by their BBC producer John Ammonds, was a modified form of a dance used by Groucho Marx. Their signature tune was Bring Me Sunshine. They either sang this at the end of each show or it was used as a theme tune during the credits (although in their BBC shows they used other songs as well, notably “Following You Around”, “Positive Thinking” “Don't You Agree” and “Just Around the Corner”). A standard gag at the end of each show was for a large lady (Janet Webb) to appear behind the pair, walk to the front of the stage and push them out of her way. She would then recite: Webb was never announced, and seldom appeared in their shows in any other role. According to a BBC documentary, this was a parody of George Formby's wife who used to come on stage to take the bows with him at the end of a show. Another running gag involved an old colleague from their music hall days, harmonica player Arthur Tolcher. Arthur would keep appearing on the stage in evening wear and would play the opening bars of España cañí on his harmonica, only to be told “Not now, Arthur!” At the very end of the show, following the final credit, Arthur would sneak on stage and begin to play, only for the screen to cut to black. In June 2007, the BBC released a DVD of surviving material from their first series in 1968, and the complete second series from 1969. In November 2011 Network DVD released the complete, uncut 13 episodes of the first ATV series of Two of a Kind from 1962. The Morecambe & Wise Show (1968–1977) The Morecambe & Wise Show (1978–1983)
The Morecambe & Wise Show - References - Netflix