Morecambe and Wise became one of the best-loved double acts of British stage and television, now audio is to be aired discovered by the wife of Ernie.
Their TV series’ for ATV Network, Thames Television and most famously BBC One drew in millions of viewers throughout the 1960s, 70s and 1980s. Eric and Ernie’s radio shows have been thought, in the main, to be lost forever after the original BBC tapes were wiped decades ago. However a discovery in a garage has unearthed some audio gems. BBC Radio Four are to air audio from recently found reel to reels of the duo, not aired since the 1950s.
The broadcasts, kept in a garage for decades, were only discovered after Ernie’s widow – Doreen Wise – had a clear-out. She discovered boxes containing piles of tapes and records. The material was handed over to professional audio producers who have restored the remaining audio to broadcast quality. The most important finds are a number of long-lost episodes of Eric and Ernie’s first radio show, You’re Only Young Once, which was made for the BBC between November 1953 and June 1954. These feature songs, sketches, their trade mark banter and guest cameo appearances from other well-known performers including fellow comedian Bob Monkhouse.
The tapes in Ernie’s garage are believed to be direct copies from long-wiped master tapes recorded for the comedy performers as well as acetate copies which Doreen paid the studio engineer a few shillings for. Producer of the Radio Four programme David Prest says:
“Much of the value of the material is in what it shows about their comedy development. The early radio series are very naturalistic, and feature historical sketches and songs which precede the Seventies BBC TV shows by almost 15 years.”
The audio can be heard for the first time since 1954 on BBC Radio Four on Tuesday May 4th at 9am. Modern-day comedian Jon Culshaw presents the show.