Morecambe & Wise Show’s first cassette unearthed after being lost for 50 years
The first Morecambe & Wise Show to air on BBC1, which was feared forever lost, has been unearthed after 50 years.
Eric Morecambe’s son Gary found a movie of the episode in the attic.
Despite 14 million viewers, the show, broadcast on October 8, 1970, was never repeated.
The BBC deleted many master tapes in the 1970s, including this episode. Only an audio version was supposed to exist.
Last year Gary found an unlabeled film box in the family home – which turned out to contain the precious lost show.
Now ITV will be showing the footage as part of its Lost Tapes series, alongside interviews with Gary, mother Joan Morecambe and sister Gail.
Famous fans such as Jonathan Ross, Ben Miller and Eddie Izzard will also appear.
The half-hour special featured a mix of gag-filled routines involving stage curtains, ventriloquism, and a stuffed dog shooting nerve gas from its behind.
There’s even a daring bedroom skit in which Eric spies on the newlyweds. And they end the show with their
signature song Bring Me Sunshine.
Although the film is the first Morecambe & Wise Show to air on the BBC, the double act has appeared on the station before.
They starred in Running Wild in 1954, but it was a failure and led to the famous review: “Definition of the week: television set – the box in which they buried Morecambe and Wise”.
Eric would have kept the denomination in his wallet for the rest of his life.
A successful comeback began on the ITV ATV station in 1961. They switched to BBC2 in 1968.
Today, many consider Morecambe and Wise to be Britain’s undisputed kings of comedy, having presented 175 shows over a 22-year television career.
During the heyday of the ’70s, they steadily attracted over 20 million viewers every week, and their Christmas special is still repeated every year to this day.
The Lost Tapes features the funniest sketches from the new show.
Eric died in May 1984 just 58 after collapsing on stage. Ernie died at the age of 73 in March 1999.
* Morecambe & Wise: The Lost Tapes ITV, next Wednesday July 28 at 9 p.m.
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