Eric Morecambes son opens up on father’s childhood absence during ‘early years’

BBC Two drama shows the reign of King Charles III

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Morecambe and Wise 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. Now, Eric Morecambe’s son Gary has opened up about his relationship with his father and the impact his father’s success had on his childhood.

Speaking to Radio Times, Gary explained: “During my early years, he seemed to be absent much of the time, but he was very attentive and funny when he was home.

“I feel a sense of pride at the way they’ve lasted. Victoria Wood did a piece about them in 2010, came round to the house and sat in silence for ages.

 “I thought she was angry. The producer told me she was just nervous. I think Dad would have been surprised at that,” he revealed.

Gary also opened revealed his opinion on a lost episode of Morecambe and Wise he found and described it as “very mundane”.

He revealed he was trying to sort out his father’s house as his office spilt over into the attic, which prompted him to go through his stuff, finding some old reels.

Gary explained he didn’t feel like he discovered something but was just glad to get rid of some junk out of the house.

“They didn’t anticipate their own success, and he wouldn’t have believed it would carry on so far after they’d gone.”

As a Christmas treat for comedy fans, the complete episode of The Morecambe and Wise Show, which had been considered lost for over 50 years, will air on BBC Two on Christmas Day and will run for 45minutes.

The restored lost tape will be enjoyed in full for the first time since being broadcast on October 8, 1970.

The show, which the legendary Eddie Braben wrote, was episode one of Eric and Ernie’s first series to appear on BBC One and was originally watched by over 14 million viewers.

Morecambe and Wise began their friendship in 1940 when they were each booked separately to appear in Jack Hylton’s revue Youth Takes a Bow at the Nottingham Empire Theatre.

At the suggestion of Eric’s mother, Sadie, they worked on a double act.

Their show went on to be a huge hit with viewers, with some of their most famous sketches including Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Singin’ in the Rain, The Breakfast Sketch, and Tribute to Flanagan & Allen.

With the exception of 1974, the show had end-of-year Christmas specials, which became some of the highest-rated TV programmes of the era.

From 1969 until 1980, the shows were always broadcast on Christmas Day.

Due to Eric Morecambe’s heart attack, Christmas Day 1974 featured a highlights package of clips from previous shows rather than a new programme.

BBC Two recently aired an affectionate documentary about the two great comedians journey from obscurity to audiences of more than 28 million.

Fans of the show were delighted to be able to reminisce on their favourite comedy pair and took to their Twitter to express their opinion on the documentary.

@KateCushing2 wrote: “Wonderful programme about #MorecambeAndWise on @BBCTwo, wonderful memories of laughter with my parents to their shows.”

@beatiemaybird commented: “Watching the @BBCTwo Morecambe and Wise show, and it is bringing all my childhood memories back! What a funny pair these two were.”

1970: The Lost Tape will air on Christmas Day at 7:45pm on BBC Two. 

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