Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

I Want Us To Split

Feature from 2009

Original letter
A recently unearthed letter offers us in insight into how the double act of Morecambe and Wise nearly didn’t survive to see the huge popularity that it deserved.

The hand written document, sent by Ernie around 1950 was found by Gary Morecambe (Eric’s son) as he was researching his latest book.

“I knew that Ernie had written the letter,” Gary Says, “my father had mentioned it to me before his death.”

In the letter Ernie does not beat around the bush and says straight out that he wants to break up the act. He claims the reasons for his decision include ‘ terrific amount of animosity to put up with at home’ and the fact he feels he has lost a lot of ‘zip’.

Upon receipt of this bombshell, Eric acted straight away.

“My father's response, “ Gary says, “was to write straight back basically saying he'd never heard such rubbish in his life and that Ernie should have a few days' rest to get over it and then they should get back to finding some work.”

Whatever the letter said it obviously did the trick as the act did not break up and went on despite the failure of their first series in 1954, Running Wild.

The tone of the letter was also commented on by Gary.

“I'm touched by Ernie's affection,” he says, “and respect for my father, it's almost impossible to believe that we could have been deprived of all the fun and laughter they brought to people's homes in the years following. “

The letter was published in full in Gary’s new book, You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, and is reproduced here with kind permission.

s/s Ben Read
c/o Petroleum Pool
Shell Mex House
London WC2

Dear Eric,
Thanks for your letter. Well Eric I want to get straight to the point. I want us to break up the act. I'm afraid it won't work.

I have such a terrific amount of animosity to put up with at home. I feel it would be better if we parted.

I know this will be quite a shock to you but I had to come to some decision, I can't go on the way things are.

I am not satisfied with my work, I have lost a lot of zip and it will take time to regain it.

I can't keep you waiting around for me, I don't know definitely when I will be out. I feel it's a great pity after we planned so much, but my mind's made up.

I have no idea what to do in the future, all I know is that I want us to remain friends.

Hoping to hear from you.

Your Best Pal

© 2009

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