Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Eric and Ernie - The Drama

DVD Review from 2011

In Bed

Producing any kind of tribute to Morecambe and Wise is a tough challenge that will be scrutinised by the British public and judged by comparison to the great act themselves, luckily Victoria Wood’s Eric and Ernie is a marvellous and fitting reminder of the early lives of our most loved double act.

A wonderfully shot and directed film covering the lives of Ernie Wise and Eric Bartholomew from 1939 to 1954.

From Ernie touring the working men’s clubs in Leeds with his father, Eric in parallel, entering talent contests reluctantly, encouraged by his formidable mother Sadie.

Eventually the two met and found themselves in the now familiar setting of a large double bed, chatting about every day things with Eric’s continual quips annoying his smaller companion.

Moving through bad performances, the humour of the show is never too far away with great lines coming from not only Eric, but Sadie and George as well, rooting the style of his comedy firmly with his father.

Sadie, played by Victoria Wood, is portrayed just right, loving her son in her own way and wanting the best for him. Her performance drifted effortlessly from encouragement and upbeat, to devastation when she found she was no longer needed as the boys manager.

Another surprising performance came from Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) who plays Eric’s father George. Casting aside his comic persona, he manages to get across the brow-beaten husband role with just the right amount of pathos to make it funny. At the same time his character can drop the happy-go-lucky façade and convincingly show what really lies beneath.

As the story moves on, the roles of Eric and Ern are taken up by three sets of actors, and the switch from one to the other is handled in such a subtle way that it seems invisible.

The likeness to the originals, the movement, the timing and the looks are remarkable, something that must have been daunting for these young actors.

As the show comes to an end, the disappointment of their first TV appearance has set in, with Sadie fuming and Eric and Ern themselves thinking about solo careers. We all know that didn’t happen, but I will leave you to watch the final few minutes for yourself, and enjoy this brilliant portrayal.

© 2011

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