First Mobile Call
Ernie's Last Appearance
Charlie Mk II
During the time we have been maintaining this website, we have been lucky enough
to interview many great people. All of the interviews can be found on our
Morecambe & Wise Trivia
Want to amuse and amaze your friends at parties? Here are a collection
of interesting facts....
Eric was the President of the Lords Taverners from 1977 to 1979.
Joan Morecambe is an Honorary Life President of the Lady Taverners and was one of
Ernie made the first UK mobile phone call on 1 January
1985. Using the Vodaphone network the call was made from St Katherine's dock to
Vodafone's head office in Newbury, which at the time was over a curry house!
When Eric & Ern appeared on the Sweeney - their agent insisted they were
given separate caravans to change in. According to John Thaw - this was the only
time anyone on the show, including them, got a caravan in the whole 4 years. They
normally changed in toilets or anything that was handy!
Who's the straight man?
Early in their career, Eric performed as Ern's straightman for a short time..
The complete set of tapes for their first series Running Wild no longer
exists. The BBC are currently looking for any off-air or private copies - can you
help? Also, while you are looking, try to find any of the first BBC shows too. Clumsy
lot these BBC folk!
The second and third series, produced for ITV
in 1962 and 1963, made a surprise but welcome reappearance on British TV almost
40 years later when the BBC was offered the opportunity (by PolyGram, then owner
of the ATV archive) to buy one-shot rescreening rights. All 26 editions, complete
but for the commercial breaks, were shown by BBC2 from 4 January 1999 to 22 December
2000. Quite apart from their historical interest, this represented the first time
an entire comedy series made for ITV had turned up on the BBC, its great rival at
the time they were produced (and still, albeit less so, today). Incidentally, the
26 programmes also proved that, although billed in TV Times as The Morecambe And
Wise Show, the show's on-screen title in this period was Two Of A Kind.
In 2005 the Monster Raving Loony Party's "manicfesto" stated that they would change
the national anthem to "Bring Me Sunshine". They said "It is quicker, more tuneful
and people know the words."
In the credits of the video 'Musical Extravaganzas',
Eric's name is spelt incorrectly! It is displayed as Eric Morcambe... Eric's name
often causes confusion, even the BBC have made errors on their own website!
Keep It Tidy
Ernie Wise was an active and long-time participant in the "Keep Britain
Tidy" campaign. He once posed for a publicity photo, grinning cheerfully while two
boys in "Keep Britain Tidy" T-shirts stuffed him into a rubbish bin.
Ernies 1992 Christmas single was a recommended retail release in Music Week.
When Eric changed his name to “Morecambe”, Ernie considered changing his
to “Leeds”, taking the name of his home town. Eric pointed out that “Morecambe and
Leeds” sounded too much like an away day on the train. Ernie decided not to change
A few years before Eric's first heart attack (7th Nov
1968), Ernie was advised by his insurance broker to consider an insurance policy
to guard against anything that might happen to Eric. Ernie was unsure, but took
out the policy. It cost £200 a year and he kept it for 2 years. When it came up
for renewal in the third year, Ernie declined saying it was a waste of money and
Eric was in good health. A week later Eric had his heart attack.
Ernie's Last Appearance
Ernies made his last television appearance on a show called Aunties All-Time Greats,
broadcast in 1996. It was a programme to honour the people who had been with the
BBC over the last 60 years. Hosted by Michael Parkinson and Ernie collected an award
for best double act along with Joan, Eric's wife.
Ernie shares his birthday with Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee.
Eric shares his birthday with Bobby Darin and George Lucas.
A Right Charlie
The ventriloquists doll used by Eric is called Charlie. There
were only ever two made. The original one used on television and stage, and a second
Charlie made especially for the Sweeney episode. Both dolls were looked after by
Eric's chauffeur, Mike Fountain.
When trying to think of a new name
for the act, Eddie Large (of Little and Large fame, then just called Syd and Eddie)
was inspired by Morecambe and Wise. Eddie Explains in his autobiography "Larger
Than Life". "Then I thought I could copy Morecambe and Wise and I thought of Syd
Blackpool and Eddie Daft, but no one can copy Morecambe and Wise"
Stand In - Ooo
noooo! When Eric had his first heart attack, Morecambe and Wise were unable to do
the Royal Variety Show. Their standin was Frankie Howerd. Underground The number
one dressing room at the London Palladium was windowless. Eric would refer to it
as "Hitler's Bunker"
Jonathan Ross gave Brad Pitt a copy of the Xmas specials
on Film 2007 as a present! They showed a clip from the film Oceans Thirteen where
Eddie Izzard say's to Brad and George Clooney "you two look like like Morecambe
& Wise"...Brad and George do not have a clue who he is referring to so Jonathan
helped them out.
Eric and Ern switched on the illuminations in Morecambe
twice. Once in 1969 and again in 1975. Other celebs to press the button in Morecambe
include Stirling Moss, Steptoe & Son, Jimmy Saville and Roger Moore.
Shaggy Dog Story...
In 1972 Morecambe and Wise did a television comercial for Dulux paint.
It featured them, from the neck down, talking abou the product. The advert never
shows their faces however, and now it comes to light that it wasn't actually them!
The bodies were played by two stand-ins while Eric and Ern only provded the voices.
This was because at the time, the BBC had exclusive rights to their television appearences.
Did you know there is a plaque on the Bulls Head pup in Margate,
Kent, to commemorate the fact that Eric held his wedding reception there!
Ernie appeared in the US Sitcom Too Close For Comfort in 1985. Only 1 episode
though, Series 5, episode 14 broadcast on Oct 5th 1985. The episode was called 'The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming'.
Read about the episode here.
Who's in the toilet?
Ernie was convinced he had seen his cousin in the toilets at Television Centre, but thought
he must have imagined it. A few minutes later he was grabbed by Eamonn Andrews for
This Is Your Life.
Peace be with you
According to secret government papers released
in 2005, Harold Wilson wanted Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise to bring peace to Northern
Ireland by singing Bring Me Sunshine.
Good Will To All...
Ernie last updated his will in 1965 and as result, when he died, the will still only left £250
each to his parents and sister.
Still not paid...
When Peter Cushing was the subject
of This Is Your Life in 1989, one of the guests was Ernie Wise, who promptly presented
him with a five pound note, but then, with typical dexterity, extorted it back from
him. Cushing was absolutely delighted with this, and cried: "All these years and
I still haven't got my fiver!"
The Big Ted Mystery
Eric was a big fan of the children's programme PlaySchool. One day, according to Brian Cant,
one of the presenters, Big Ted went missing from the set. Brian recalls: "Eric Morecambe
was rehearsing next door. He liked us at ‘Playschool’ and often used to come in
and have a chat. I was walking around outside after the theft and I told him that
Big Ted had been pinched and he was quite upset. Not actually in tears, but genuinely