Morecambe & Wise at Thames

The news that Network look to be releasing all of Morecambe and Wise’s Thames shows soon (DVD covers have appeared on Amazon) fills me with a certain amount of joy. I took to Twitter to express my delight but Twitter being Twitter it wasn’t long before somebody stopped by to tell me that the Thames era was a bit rubbish really ….

This is a widely held view, but hopefully after all the shows become accessible we might see something of a reassessment. It’s true that Morecambe and Wise’s Thames twilight years don’t match their BBC peak – but then both performers were older and slower (especially Eric, who had suffered his second heart attack in the late seventies). And no matter how good Eddie Braben was, after more than a decade writing for Eric and Ernie it’s not a surprise that sometimes things seem rather familiar.

But one thing you realise when working through the BBC era is that not everything is gold. The hit rate is pretty good, but there’s a fair bit of chaff too. For me, it’s Little Ern’s plays which are the main sticking point – had they been tight, ten minute skits then they’d pass by very agreeably (but many tend to be twice that length and are more of a trial than a treasure).

Since the regular Thames shows were only twenty five minutes, this sort of indulgence was no longer possible. Possibly the shows were shorter in order not to put too much pressure on Eric, but whatever the reason it was a positive move.

Although I watch a considerable amount of archive television (a self evident statement I know) I’m very rarely motivated by nostalgia. I’m prepared to make an exception for E & E at Thames though.

I don’t have any clear memories of their first run BBC performances (and in the late seventies, early eighties their BBC shows didn’t get repeated very often) so I really hopped on board at the start of their Thames transfer. So little things (“here they are now, Morecambe & Wise” sung to the Thames jingle and Eric walking off at the end of each show to catch the bus) still give me a little nostalgic frisson.

Fingers crossed that these DVDs don’t go into limbo like certain other Network titles (Biggles, Hollywood). Time will tell ….

3 thoughts on “Morecambe & Wise at Thames

  1. IT’S ABOUT TIME THAT ALL OF MORECAMBE AND WISE’S THAMES TELEVISION SHOWS (1978-1983) ARE TO BE RELEASED BY NETWORK , AFTER WAITING THIRTEEN YEARS SINCE VOLUME ONE WAS RELEASED, IT’S A SHAME THE RELEASE DATE , ACCORDING TO AMAZON , HAS CHANGED FROM THE 15TH OF NOVEMBER 2021 TO THE 29TH OF NOVEMBER 2021, FOR THE MORECAMBE AND WISE AT THAMES DVD RELEASE.. BECAUSE THESE SHOWS WILL MAKE ERIC AND ERNIE AS COMPLETE AS NEAR POSSIBLE ON DVD, WITH THEIR ATV, BBC (APART FROM THE EPISODE FOUND BY ERIC’S FAMILY AND THE TWO SERIES ONE EPISODES FOUND BY PHILIP MORRIS) AND THAMES SHOWS. SO COME ON NETWORK ,NO MORE RELEASE DATE CHANGES PLEASE, ,WE MORECAMBE AND WISE FANS HAVE WAITED LONG ENOUGH FOR THIS CLASSIC TV WITH THE BEST DOUBLE ACT THIS COUNTRY HAS PROUCED.

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  2. Was the custard pie fight in the Boxing Day 1983 edition of Morcambe and Wise a remake of a sketch from one of their black and whites shows from the sixties.

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