Morecambe & Wise

Welcome to the Morecambe & Wise website, dedicated to Britain's best and most loved double act, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

Morecambe & Wise Trivia

Ernie
First mobile call

Ernie's last appearence
Last appearance

Vent doll
Charlie Mk2

Plaque
Reception plaque

The single
Ernie's single

Want to amuse and amaze your friends at parties? Here are a collection of interesting facts....

Lords Taverners
Eric was the President of the Lords Taverners from 1977 to 1979. Joan Morecambe is an Honorary Life President of the Lady Taverners and was one of the founders.
Mobile Phones
Ernie made the first UK mobile phone call on 1 January 1985. Using the Vodaphone network the call was made from St Katherine's dock to Vodafone's head office in Newbury, which at the time was over a curry house!
The Sweeney
When Eric & Ern appeared on the Sweeney - their agent insisted they were given separate caravans to change in. According to John Thaw - this was the only time anyone on the show, including them, got a caravan in the whole 4 years. They normally changed in toilets or anything that was handy!
Who's the straight man?
Early in their career, Eric performed as Ern's straightman for a short time..
Running away...
The complete set of tapes for their first series Running Wild no longer exists. The BBC are currently looking for any off-air or private copies - can you help? Also, while you are looking, try to find any of the first BBC shows too. Clumsy lot these BBC folk!
Cross Channel...
The second and third series, produced for ITV in 1962 and 1963, made a surprise but welcome reappearance on British TV almost 40 years later when the BBC was offered the opportunity (by PolyGram, then owner of the ATV archive) to buy one-shot rescreening rights. All 26 editions, complete but for the commercial breaks, were shown by BBC2 from 4 January 1999 to 22 December 2000. Quite apart from their historical interest, this represented the first time an entire comedy series made for ITV had turned up on the BBC, its great rival at the time they were produced (and still, albeit less so, today). Incidentally, the 26 programmes also proved that, although billed in TV Times as The Morecambe And Wise Show, the show's on-screen title in this period was Two Of A Kind.
Monster...
In 2005 the Monster Raving Loony Party's "manicfesto" stated that they would change the national anthem to "Bring Me Sunshine". They said "It is quicker, more tuneful and people know the words."
Spelling...
In the credits of the video 'Musical Extravaganzas', Eric's name is spelt incorrectly! It is displayed as Eric Morcambe... Eric's name often causes confusion, even the BBC have made errors on their own website!
Keep It Tidy
Ernie Wise was an active and long-time participant in the "Keep Britain Tidy" campaign. He once posed for a publicity photo, grinning cheerfully while two boys in "Keep Britain Tidy" T-shirts stuffed him into a rubbish bin.
Sing Along...
Ernies 1992 Christmas single was a recommended retail release in Music Week.
Ernie Leeds?
When Eric changed his name to “Morecambe”, Ernie considered changing his to “Leeds”, taking the name of his home town. Eric pointed out that “Morecambe and Leeds” sounded too much like an away day on the train. Ernie decided not to change his name...
Sound advice?
A few years before Eric's first heart attack (7th Nov 1968), Ernie was advised by his insurance broker to consider an insurance policy to guard against anything that might happen to Eric. Ernie was unsure, but took out the policy. It cost £200 a year and he kept it for 2 years. When it came up for renewal in the third year, Ernie declined saying it was a waste of money and Eric was in good health. A week later Eric had his heart attack.
Ernie's Last Appearance
Ernies made his last television appearance on a show called Aunties All-Time Greats, broadcast in 1996. It was a programme to honour the people who had been with the BBC over the last 60 years. Hosted by Michael Parkinson and Ernie collected an award for best double act along with Joan, Eric's wife.
Birthdays
Ernie shares his birthday with Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee.
Eric shares his birthday with Bobby Darin and George Lucas.
A Right Charlie
The ventriloquists doll used by Eric is called Charlie. There were only ever two made. The original one used on television and stage, and a second Charlie made especially for the Sweeney episode. Both dolls were looked after by Eric's chauffeur, Mike Fountain.
Seeing Double!
When trying to think of a new name for the act, Eddie Large (of Little and Large fame, then just called Syd and Eddie) was inspired by Morecambe and Wise. Eddie Explains in his autobiography "Larger Than Life". "Then I thought I could copy Morecambe and Wise and I thought of Syd Blackpool and Eddie Daft, but no one can copy Morecambe and Wise"
Stand In - Ooo
noooo! When Eric had his first heart attack, Morecambe and Wise were unable to do the Royal Variety Show. Their standin was Frankie Howerd. Underground The number one dressing room at the London Palladium was windowless. Eric would refer to it as "Hitler's Bunker"
Brad Pitt
Jonathan Ross gave Brad Pitt a copy of the Xmas specials on Film 2007 as a present! They showed a clip from the film Oceans Thirteen where Eddie Izzard say's to Brad and George Clooney "you two look like like Morecambe & Wise"...Brad and George do not have a clue who he is referring to so Jonathan helped them out.
Illuminating...
Eric and Ern switched on the illuminations in Morecambe twice. Once in 1969 and again in 1975. Other celebs to press the button in Morecambe include Stirling Moss, Steptoe & Son, Jimmy Saville and Roger Moore.
Shaggy Dog Story...
In 1972 Morecambe and Wise did a television comercial for Dulux paint. It featured them, from the neck down, talking abou the product. The advert never shows their faces however, and now it comes to light that it wasn't actually them! The bodies were played by two stand-ins while Eric and Ern only provded the voices. This was because at the time, the BBC had exclusive rights to their television appearences.
Interesting Reception
Did you know there is a plaque on the Bulls Head pup in Margate, Kent, to commemorate the fact that Eric held his wedding reception there!
Sitcom USA
Ernie appeared in the US Sitcom Too Close For Comfort in 1985. Only 1 episode though, Series 5, episode 14 broadcast on Oct 5th 1985. The episode was called 'The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming'. Read about the episode here.
Who's in the toilet?
Ernie was convinced he had seen his cousin in the toilets at Television Centre, but thought he must have imagined it. A few minutes later he was grabbed by Eamonn Andrews for This Is Your Life.
Peace be with you
According to secret government papers released in 2005, Harold Wilson wanted Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise to bring peace to Northern Ireland by singing Bring Me Sunshine.
Good Will To All...
Ernie last updated his will in 1965 and as result, when he died, the will still only left £250 each to his parents and sister.
Still not paid...
When Peter Cushing was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1989, one of the guests was Ernie Wise, who promptly presented him with a five pound note, but then, with typical dexterity, extorted it back from him. Cushing was absolutely delighted with this, and cried: "All these years and I still haven't got my fiver!"
The Big Ted Mystery
Eric was a big fan of the children's programme PlaySchool. One day, according to Brian Cant, one of the presenters, Big Ted went missing from the set. Brian recalls: "Eric Morecambe was rehearsing next door. He liked us at ‘Playschool’ and often used to come in and have a chat. I was walking around outside after the theft and I told him that Big Ted had been pinched and he was quite upset. Not actually in tears, but genuinely moved."