Eddie Braben, 1930 – 2013
Eddie Braben was an British comedy writer and performer.
He will be best remembered for providing material for Morecambe and Wise. However he also wrote material for David Frost, Ronnie Corbett and Ken Dodd. Braben also enjoyed success in his own right writing and performing in a number of BBC radio shows.
Born Edwin Charles Braben on 31st October 1930 in Monkswell Street, Dingle in Liverpool.
His Father was a butcher at St John’s Market, Liverpool. As a child during World War 2 Braben was evacuated to Anglesey. He was a big radio comedy fan, particularly Arthur Askey.
On leaving school in 1945 the young Edwin Braben went to work in the British American Tobacco factory before National Service. Braben served in the Royal Air Force for his National Service during which he was posted to the kitchen at RAF Kenley.
After National Service Braben worked as a market trader during which time he had his own greengrocer’s stall. During his spare time he wrote jokes.
Braben was a shy character but would send jokes to various comedians that were appearing in Liverpool. He sold his first joke to Charlie Chester for 2s and 6d (12.5 pence in today’s money). However it was Ken Dodd who gave him his first big break. He would work with Ken Dodd for twelve years.
His biggest and most famous success came when the BBC lured Morecambe and Wise from ITV.
Then head of Light Entertainment Bill Cotton was looking for a writer following the duo’s split from Dick Hills and Sid Green.
The first Morecambe and Wise Show written by Braben was broadcast in July 1969. He would write most of their BBC shows after that, including many of the Christmas specials.
Two years (1980) after Morecambe and Wise joined Thames Television Eddie Braben followed them to continue writing for the duo.
Morecambe and Wise might have been Braben’s biggest success, however Braben enjoyed success in a number of other successful projects.
Braben wrote and appeared in various radio comedy shows for the BBC, including The Worst Show on the Wireless (Radio 2; 1973–75) and The Show with Ten Legs (Radio 2; 1976–81).
In 2001, Braben collaborated with Hamish Mc Coll and Sean Foley on The Play What I Wrote, a stage play and tribute to Morecambe and Wise.
The play won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. After a run in London’s West End, it transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for a Tony Award forv Best Special Theatrical Event. The play was directed by Kenneth Branagh.