Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

The Morecambe and Wise Show - Series 9

DVD Review from 2010


Hands off....

Here we are, the final series for the BBC after 6 good years and millions of fans.

This series does not represent the last work Morecambe & Wise did for the BBC as they returned to do a Christmas show later that year (1976) and again the following year.

This is then, the last full series, and it contains some of their most famous work, including the much repeated Stripper routine, which got its very first television showing in the final episode.

Other routines familiar to viewers would be the drunken toffs dancing and intro routine with Eric hold the ‘Hands Off Little Ern’ sign.

Mixed in with these crowd pleasers though, are comedy gems that still cause a chuckle today, such as the two nannies in the park sketch.

As the years have passed, the changes in culture and technology are plain to see, especially when you watch various series close together. For example in the early days (1970,71) Eric would not have entertained using very strong innuendo or rhyming slang, but here in 1976 he gets away with using ‘Ertha Kits’. You can work out for yourself what that refers to!

Visual effects too are used more often as the technology became easier and cheaper to get. Vanishing pianos form a long running gag, but on our modern televisions we can clearly see the matt-screen haze that surrounded these early attempts.

Back to the content, and the routines are as good as ever, some stand out more than others and we get a smattering of guest stars too. These include a very young Lena Zavaroni, Michele Dotrice (of Some Mothers’ Do Av Em), Frankie Vaughan and Patrick Moore.

Old familiar faces are here too, Arthur Tolcher pops in a few places, as does Ann Hamilton.

Both seasoned Morecambe & Wise performers and both adding their own special touches.

It is interesting to see, even at this stage, that someone was trying to move away from the normal format of the show. Not every show ends with a play, some sketches are spun out to form a long series of short gags ,Dick Turpin for example, and the energy levels are lower.

Eric and Ern, although do several dance numbers, they are a little slower than a few years previous. Knowing what we know now, that within 18 months of this series Eric suffers a heart attack, maybe health issues were a factor.

There are also several jokes fired towards Thames Television, which is strange when you consider they swap channels very soon.

All this said, we still get a wonderful comedy collection from two ultimate performers. Eric is as quick as ever, adlibbing when a joke goes wrong and a (bad) cut see’s him re-doing it very deliberately, which gets a cheer from the audience.

Ernie also is on top form, enjoying the dance numbers brought in by Ernest Maxin.

Overall then a another fine set and well worth getting.

Episode Guide

© 2010

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The Morecambe & Wise Show - Series 6
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