28 July 2021
The son of comedian Eric Morecambe has found a missing episode of The Morecambe and Wise Show in the family home’s attic.
While searching for paperwork in the attic, Gary Morecambe, 65, found five large film canisters. Four of them were blank or damaged, but the other one had a BBC stamp on it.
Experts checked the film, and the episode turned out to be the first episode of The Morecambe and Wise Show made for BBC 1 (after they moved from BBC 2). Dating from 8 October 1970, the master recording of the show had been wiped so the BBC could re-use the expensive tape.
The episode contains a sketch in which Eric eavesdrops on a newly wedded couple making love in the next flat, a hospital sketch with Eric eating all of Ernie’s grapes and then using the empty bag to catch an invisible ball, and a toy dog that shoots nerve gas out of its bottom.
Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise fronted The Morecambe and Wise Show over a 22-year television career. In their 1970s heyday, the show regularly attracted more than 20 million viewers every week, with the duo’s Christmas specials seen as “must-watch” events by British viewers.