Morecambe and Wise – The Christmas Specials, 1969 – 1983
The Morecambe and Wise annual Christmas shows became a national institution, as much a part of Christmas as turkey.
With the exception of 1974, there was a Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special every year from 1969, usually broadcast on Christmas Day. That was up until 1980.
The 1977 Christmas edition would be their last for the BBC, watched by 28 million people it became the most watched TV show in British TV history.
In 1978, Morecambe and Wise left the BBC for Thames Television. Of the six series the duo made with Thames only three made the Christmas Day slot.
Whilst the shows themselves were everything you’d expect from a Morecambe and Wise Christmas show, there were subtle changes to the titles and from 1981 broadcast dates moved from the traditional Christmas Day slot.
There were many reasons were given for the change in dates from 1981, some thought that the duo were no longer held in such high regard. However it’s more likely that Thames Television only operated from Monday at 9.25am until Friday at 7pm; as Christmas Day in 1981 fell on a Friday, London Weekend Television (LWT) held the franchise to broadcast that evening.
The 1978 Christmas show was entitled Eric & Ernie’s Xmas Show. In 1979 it was Christmas With Eric & Ernie. The last show broadcast on Christmas Day was in 1980, it’s title: The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show. Eric & Ernie’s Christmas Show, was in 1981 and in 1982 it was Eric & Ernie’s Xmas Show and the final Christmas in 1983 which would be their last show together was again Eric & Ernie’s Xmas Show.
So many classic moments, Shirley Bassey and that boot, all star song and dance routines, Glenda Jackson in a play what Ern wrote, oh and Andre Previn. Alas they don’t make ’em like they used to.
Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise
BBC1 (1968 -1977)
ITV (Thames) 1978 – 1980
Dick Hills and Sid Green – 1968
Eddie Braben (with occasional additional material from Morcambe and Wise) – 1969 – 1977 and 1980 – 1983 (except 1972 and ’76)
Barry Cryer, Lawrie Kinsley, Ron McDonnel, additional material Morecambe and Wise
Morecambe and Wise , Barry Cryer, John Junkin – 1978 – 1980
25th December 1969 – 1980 (except 1974)
26th December 1981
27th December 1982
26th December 1983