Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

The Morecambe and Wise Show - Series 7

DVD Review from 2010


Can he say that?

Tutankhamen play
The bumper DVD (3 discs and 12 episodes) contains material written by various writers and has signs that the pressure was beginning to take hold.

That’s not to say it is bad, far from it, this series contains some of the best material and some of the often used material from the BBC, but the rate at which the shows were produced and the extended episodes meant that not everything could be top notch.

Eddie Braben wrote all but one of these shows, in his absence, the credits were given to Mike Craig, Lawrie Kinsley, with credit for the opening sketch going to Barry Cryer, for episode 10. This episode also featured Roy Castle, and a totally different end number.

The first few shows seem a little slow, with only one big moment per show. The first show for example seems almost pedestrian until Cliff Richard turns up and we get the flat routine (with Eric painting his model spitfire) and then the dance number with all three of them dressed as sailors.

Episode two is brightened by the intro routine where both Eric and Ern fluff their lines which then seems to settle them a little, allowing them to perform much better. As a result the whole show is lifted above the first one.

Watch out for one of their many awards on display on the sideboard in the early flat sketches. It’s the one that looks like lightning. A nod of thanks perhaps for the recognition – surely not boasting!

The second show also has the Tutankhamen play with Eric Morely. Not only that but Janet Webb gets a full speaking role and even joins in with a quick dance routine. She is though, missing from all of the show ends.

Show three again drops to average, which is still better than most other comedians of the time when they are on top form. The highlight though is the end sketch in the garden with Percy Edwards. It seems as though all involved are enjoying the routine with adlibs being thrown about aplenty.

As for the ending numbers, they mix these up not only using different songs, but also a nice dance number showing both Eric and Ern are still light on their feet. There is also what appears to be identical ends routines in several shows, with Eric and Ern punching each other on the arm as the song progresses.

One interesting show is episode seven. This is the one that the BBC filmed a ‘making of’ for, which was broadcast as an Omnibus special called ‘fools rush in’. This show contains as it opener, the Mr. Memory routine where the phrase ‘Arsenal’ was first heard. The same gag is used throughout the show too, and always gets a laugh.

An odd point, certainly on my version of the disc, was a rather bad video glitch right in the middle of the intro for episode eight. It wasn’t a dirty disc, as the whole thing just looked like a crease on the video tape, with the picture rolling and bad interference.

Peter Cushing also is back, still looking for his money, and taking part in a dance routine. Does he finally get his cash? Watch and see.

Lastly, we get a very interesting final guest appearance, right at the very end, almost as the final gag in episode 12. I won’t spoilt it for you, but considering what Eric once said about the person, I am amazed that they agreed to appear.

Overall then, another solid release, once you get past the first episode and can ignore the video glitch. Great guest stars, great routines, great writing and great performances. It’s almost sad that we have only another 2 series left from the BBC, especially when the Thames and ATV series look like they have stalled.

© 2010

You may also like:

Omnibus: Fools Rush In
This 50 minute Omnibus documentary first broadcast in February 1973, follows Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise through the making of one of their BBC shows.

The Morecambe & Wise Show - Series 6
Review of the DVD from series 6 of the BBC.