Monday, 28 March 2016

TV Series Review: Morecambe & Wise

Last Christmas I got Mr Click the complete BBC box set of Morecambe and Wise. I also managed to track down the Thames Years DVD and as a little stocking filler I got him the dramatization 'Eric & Ernie'. Post-Christmas, Mr Click picked up a box set of three of their films and we already had a fourth one which we'd picked up years ago.

Right after Christmas, we decided to go right ahead and watch the whole shebang. It took us a while but we made it through them all.

Most of the early episodes are 'lost' so the first couple of series are pretty short. I also found them quiet sketchy in quality compared to the later episodes. I've watched odd episodes of Morecambe and Wise over the years, usually on UK Gold and usually at Christmas. I was most familiar with the Christmas episodes which are repeated almost every year on certain channels.

Some of the routines are a little bit dated now, but the majority of them rely on visual gags or wordplay which gives it something of a timeless quality. I started out sort of half-watching the series, as I so often do with the things that Mr Click chooses to watch, but then as time passed I found myself seeing familiar skits and getting more into the series.

One of the things I like most about the series was their ability to carry a running joke. Like the Ernie wears a wig thing, or the 'Arsenal!' thing every time anyone coughed, or the way the Peter Cushing kept on cropping up, asking to be paid. Perhaps most impressively, they managed to carry these over when the series moved to Thames. That was a little unexpected.

I was expecting there to be a big change between the format when the series switched from BBC to Thames. Instead it stayed pretty much the same. So much the same, in fact, that they reused a lot of the jokes. That was the main thing that frustrated me about the Christmas episodes and the Thames ones; with the exception of a couple of standout sequences, it felt like they were mostly rehashing old ground. I think it was probably more noticeable to us because we were watching them all back to back.

The films were okay, but I preferred the TV series. Then again, I imagine we'll probably rewatch the films at some point sooner than the series. They make good Saturday afternoon viewing material.

And then, not technically Morecambe and Wise, but heavily inspired by them, there's Eric and Ernie. A dramatization of their early time together and their start at the BBC. We saw it when it was originally on TV as well as a couple of years ago when it was repeated at Christmas. I picked it up on DVD as a stocking filler for Mr Click way back around September last year and nearly brought it out to watch several times before Christmas.

I didn't and we finally watched it a couple of weeks ago. It's just as good as I remembered it, except this time I think I appreciated it even more than on previous viewings because there were lots of clever little nods to the TV series which I'd missed before.

I'm really glad that I got the series for Mr Click and I'm sure we'll watch it again in the future. Right now we've moved on to watching Dad's Army and we're getting through it pretty quickly, so expect to see a review of it in the very new future.


  1. Love Eric and Ernie, one of the greatest double acts of all time. Oooh Dad's Army; another childhood fave! I made the mistake of watching the new movie recently. It's terrible

    My boxset at bedtime at the moment is Call The Midwife, just on the last disc of S4 now

    1. It's definitely one I can see us rewatching. Along with the Two Ronnies (following yesterday's sad news).

      I'd quite like to see the film so I'll reserve judgement there. It's a shame you've not enjoyed it.

      I really want to see Call The Midwife, I only ever get to see the Christmas episodes. I think that's a boxset we'll have to get too.

    2. I've finished Call the Midwife, lovely stuff. I actually thought I'd missed a whole series when it was on TV, but watching the boxset, it turns out I was familiar with all but a few episodes. I'd totally recommend getting it, it's the most consistently good programme on TV right now, 5 series in and still just as strong as the first run. But oh my its heartbreaking sometimes....

      My current boxset is more retro, it's Dixon of Dock Green

      I'd picked up Vol 1 quite cheaply and enjoyed it so much I thought I'd buy the other 2 volumes in the set too, so that's my evenings sorted for the time being :)

  2. Yes - I have a soft spot for them too - their visual gags still make me laugh and they were always sending up the stars that appeared on their show. Happy Times :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Yes! The way that celebrities went on the show and were mocked. Apparently people were queueing up to be on the show!

  3. I grew up with this. I just adored Eric Morecambe.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter

    1. Yes, he was my favourite too. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)