Morecambe and Wise documentary to include rare US footage of the duo

Comedians Ernie Wise, left, and Eric Morecambe go nautical for the day at Earl's Court in London, where they were opening the
Comedians Ernie Wise, left, and Eric Morecambe go nautical for the day at Earl's Court in London, where they were opening the 27th London International Boat Show

Rare footage of Morecambe and Wise performing in America will be aired in the UK for the first time in a new documentary series about the comedy duo later this year.

Presented by Jonathan Ross, the new series will tell the story of the double act’s attempts to crack America in the 1960s.

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise visited New York over the course of five years more than five decades ago to appear on popular variety show The Ed Sullivan Show, known for launching the Beatles’ international career.

The three-part series, which will air on comedy channel Gold this Christmas, is said to be the first broadcast about the beloved duo’s American backstory, and will include more than one hour of footage that has never been seen in the UK.

Ross said: “As a fan of both Morecambe and Wise and vintage American TV, it’s been a real joy to discover all this footage of their performances in the States in the 1960s.

“I’m looking forward to telling the story for Gold’s viewers of how Eric and Ernie’s work in America became a tantalising foretaste of their very best shows here in Britain.”

The series will see Ross delve into the working dynamic of the comedians, whose partnership ran from the 1940s until Morecambe’s death in 1984.

There will also be contributions from family members, colleagues and other famous faces who worked with them, including Glenda Jackson, Nicholas Parsons, Dame Diana Rigg and Millicent Martin.

Morecambe and Wise
Eric Morecambe (right), Ernie Wise with actress Glenda Jackson (PA Archive/PA)

Executive producer Mark Wells said: “The footage of Morecambe and Wise working on American television in the 1960s is fascinating, because to begin with the audiences don’t quite know what to make of them.

“But Eric and Ernie established themselves very quickly, and performed some wonderful routines that British viewers will never have had the chance to savour before.”

– Morecambe And Wise In America will air in December on UKTV channel Gold.

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