Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Morecambe & Wise - The Complete Christmas Specials

DVD Review from 2008

DVD cover

A big tree that!

Song and dance routine
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Morecambe and Wise, and this year (2007) is going to be a bumper year.

Those nice people at 2 Entertain, having already released series 1(what remained of it), series 2 and series 3, are giving us all fantastic present – a stunning 3 disc set containing all of the Christmas shows that Eric and Ernie did for the BBC.

That’s eight full shows, over 8 hours of classic gags, sketches, plays and musical numbers for you watch after eating your festive meal.

The first thing about his set that differs from the previous releases is the packaging. He double thickness case has an outer cardboard sleeve that improves the presentation, and despite the cover image being from the Thames era, the whole thing draws you in.

Once inside and DVD 1 loaded, we get the familiar menu system used in previous releases giving us access to the 1969, 1970 and 1971 shows.

The 1969 show consists of a lot of material from Series 3 with Ernie being hip, Ernie taking a bath and the Nelson play with Fenella Fielding. Also making an appearance is the huge ventriloquist dummy. The only new seasonal routine is Eric’s huge Christmas Tree – so this was a bit disappointing – but there is still 7 more.

The 1970 show includes Peter Cushing, Eric Porter, Edward Woodward and William Franklin as guests and as far as we can tell, contains no previous material. A delight to watch and a reminder of just what the nation loved about the pre-dinner Christmas TV.

The 71 show has Shirley Bassey, Glenda Jackson, and Andre Previn as guests, so you know you’re in for treat before it even starts. The show features classic routines such as Griegs Piano Concerto, a Glenda Jackson dance number and Shirley Bassey singing Smoke Gets In your Eyes. This show is the one that had cuts in some previous releases, with the Robin Hood sketch being removed. Thankfully, it’s in this DVD release.

Onto the second disc which contains the 72, 73 and 75 shows. Special guests include Glenda Jackson and Vera Lynn from 72, Venessa Redgrave and Hannah Gordon from 73 and Des Oconnor, Robin Day and Diana Rigg from 75.

Classic sketches from this disc include the reindeers on the roof and Victoria and Albert from 72, Ern gets knighted, Windmills of your mind, Ice creams at that speed, Flamenco with Venessa and Napoleon & Josephine from 73, Des’ record, The baby shop, the brilliant ‘Somewhere My Love’ song with Eric and Ern on the horse drawn carriage, Pans People and Nell Gwynne from 75.

The 1972 show also includes a previously cut scene featuring Janet Webb right at the very end. Sadly she died within a few years of the show and so out of respect it was hardly ever shown again.

Onto the final disc then. This delivers the 1976 and 1977 shows with guest Elton John, John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Kate O’Mara, Angela Rippon, the Dad’s Army cast, Penelope Keith and Richard Briers.

This last disc features classic sketches like table football, Won’t you play a simply melody, Singing in the rain, Angela Rippon dancing, Starkers and Krutch, Moving house, Nothing like a dame, Cyrano de Bergerac and many more.

Just reading the guest list is amazing, and with quality musical acts like Elton John and The Nolans, this truly is a fantastic collection. They even managed to get John Junkin’s name right in the credits!

The only down side is, yet again, no extras, but apart from that it’s a must buy – go now… go on… hurry up…

© 2008

You may also like:

The Morecambe & Wise Shows: Series 1 and 2 - The Surviving Episodes
Review of the BBC DVD

The Morecambe & Wise Show : Series 3
Series three from the BBC

The Morecambe & Wise Show : Series 4
Review of series 4 DVD from the BBC