Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Two Of A Kind - Review

DVD Review from 2011


Boxing match

The Flintrocks
Well it’s finally here… at the time of writing (Oct 2011) it had been a long wait. Are they going to release them or not!!! Release dates came and went. Now they are here, but was it worth the wait?

In a word YES!!!

In the early to mid 90’s a series of VHS tapes (6 in total) were released as a best of series. The shows on these tapes were edited and mixed up. These new DVD’s are the complete shows, including music guests and breaks, but minus the commercials.

For those who don’t know, these represent some of the earliest recordings of Eric and Ernie. Their first flirtation with TV, Running Wild, appears to be lost forever. An odd script survives, but no actual footage has ever been found. Although this was a setback, Eric and Ernie carried on. Guest spots on other TV shows helped to rebuild their TV credentials.

ATV came knocking and they were given another chance. Here we encounter what could be a bit of confusion. This DVD set is billed as Two of a Kind the complete first series. Now…… Eric and Ernie did a series for ATV in 1961. This DVD set is from 1962. This could be considered their 2nd series for ATV. This series is the first one to be known as Two Of A Kind. So, to call this set the first series of Two Of A Kind is correct. The first series, for ATV shown in 1961, billed as Bernard Delfont Presents Morecambe and Wise is also missing in action. Is that all clear?!!!!

A lot of the confusion comes from the fact that people generally call all the ATV series Two Of A Kind which is technically incorrect. In fact Eric and Ernie call the show The Morecambe and Wise show in various episodes. Anyhow, what do we get on these DVDs?

These DVDs are their 2nd series for ATV and was broadcast from 30th June to 22nd September 1962, at 9:30pm. The series consisted of 13 half hour episodes. All of which are contained here, including the breaks, minus the adverts of course.

The running (broadcast) order is incorrect on the DVD, as the series was extended by popular demand. This means that the end of series show (episode 9) was broadcast last with episodes 10 to 13 coming in between. This has not been taken into account on the DVD and so the broadcast dates are incorrect as well, as they are presented in the order of recording. Hope that all makes sense.

The shows were written by Sid Green and Dick Hills, their writers during the ATV shows. Due to an actor’s strike Sid and Dick (as they were known) were added to the sketches. It has been said that the strike and lack of extras was a lucky break as it allowed Eric and Ernie to move to the front on their own and not be swamped by others.

Network have also made an attempt at Extras. Yes you read that right Extras!! These were sadly missing from the BBC DVDs, Network have provided a little treat. On DVD 1 is a large selection of stills from their early TV shows, from 1959 to 1962 that runs for over 11 minutes.

DVD 1 contains 6 shows, presented in broadcast order. DVD 2 has 7 but with incorrect ordering as mentioned above.

The shows all follow a similar pattern. A parody of a well-known show of the day, crosstalk, music, sketch, break, crosstalk, music, end sketch and the door routine (where Eric and Ern try to get out of door that is locked, blocked or faulty).

The shows do show a bit of age and are of their time with the sets being sparse and basic. What is evident is the Morecambe and Wise magic. A lot of these sketches could be picked up and placed into the more well-known BBC series. Maybe they are not as polished, but they are just as funny.

A certain BBC sketch with Elton John… won’t you play a simple melody…. started here with one of their classic ATV sketches.. Boom Ooo Ya-tata-tah…. The famous bag trick makes many appearances.

On the other hand some viewers may feel uncomfortable with Eric blacking up for a 3 episode Black and White minstrel gag. It has to be remembered that this was 1962; these sketches reflect that and there is nothing nasty in what Eric is doing.
Ernie perhaps is a harder character and not as pompous, but Eric is the same cheeky chappie. The influence of the music hall is there. It would be very easy to see their crosstalk moments in the theatre.
These DVD’s are a great addition to any fans collection. If you are new to Morecambe and Wise then the BBC series is the place to start, but once hooked you’ll want more and if you can get past the 1960s presentation, you’ll love these shows…

© 2011

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Swinging Doors On Their Minds
In the rehearsal room not more than a lion’s roar from the London zoo, “Sick and Did” are trying to open the door without actually doing so…

Those Two Fellers
An interesting article about Sid and Dick, writers of the ATV series.