ITV adds another Unforgettable to its list with Ernie Wise

As we reported in November ITV has listed another ten personalities to cover in its Unforgettable strand, that now increases to eleven with Ernie Wise a late addition.

Unlike previous series this new run of The Unforgettable… has been rather sporadic with the Norman Wisdom edition airing last month as a single stand-alone episode. Next, a repeat of a 2000-produced Larry Grayson edition is to air next week, with the newly commissioned Ernie Wise programme to air near Christmas.

Fans of Leslie Crowther, listed next on production company North One’s list, were left disappointed when his episode failed to be scheduled on ITV after Wisdom’s had aired.

Charlotte Crowther, daughter of Leslie, took to Twitter to say, “Oh for goodness sake! Les’s programme isn’t this week either. They’re obviously just dropping them in rather than series, sorry peeps. :)”

Other stars include ITV’s first lady Noele Gordon who was an early personality on the network who went on to be one of its best known in the 60s and 70s, chat show host Russell Harty who gave Michael Parkinson a run in the ratings across the 1970s and 80s and John Thaw who became a mainstay of ITV dramas with roles in such shows as The Sweeney and Inspector Morse.

Ernie Wise’s edition comes nine years after his comedy partner Eric Morecambe had the Unforgettable treatment with a documentary retrospective of his career. The duo became one of the most celebrated in television comedy history with the pair having series produced by ATV, the BBC and finally Thames Television.

Performing in variety shows in theatres across the UK from the 1950s onwards the pair had their first BBC TV series in 1954 which proved to be a disaster. However, their stage act continued to be a success and in 1961 they returned to television when ATV gave them another chance. Their commercial series proved to be a hit for ITV before the pair defected to the BBC in 1968. It was their BBC shows, especially the annual Christmas specials, which became the most fondly remembered and made the pair national icons of comedy. Both were bestowed OBE’s, however by the 1980s Eric’s health had deteriorated – having suffered a number of heart attacks – and another defection back to ITV, this time produced for the network by Thames Television, saw a decline in the quality of the Morecambe and Wise shows.

Eric died in 1984 aged 58, Ernie died aged 73 in 1999.

The list of the previous ten produced for 2011/2012 can be found in our story from November 6th here.

Top: Morecambe and Wise at ATV, Middle: ATV star Noele Gordon and Bottom: John Thaw as Inspector Morse in the Central TV series.