Morecambe And Wise In America, 2018
Morecambe And Wise In America was a three part documentary made by UKTV and aired on the GOLD channel in three parts between 2018 and 2019.
In 1963 Morecambe and Wise were becoming firm favourites with he British public. Their Two Of A Kind TV show was now in it’s third series (allowing for the first series being billed as Sir Bernard Delfont Presents Morecambe & Wise). It was time to break into America.
Hosted by Jonathan Ross the show focused on the period between 1963 and 1968. During this time Morecambe and Wise made over a dozen trips to New York to appear on America’s biggest variety show, ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ this was the untold story of the duo’s attempt to make it in the States. Over three parts the show revealed new footage of the duo never seen on UK television before.
In the first episode it’s March 1963 and we see Eric and Ernie make their trip to the USA and appear on America’s biggest variety show: The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan had been spotted the duo appearing at The London Palladium and consequently booked them for three performances in the same year.
At first the American studio audience weren’t sure what to make of Eric and Ernie and consequently that first appearance was not what the duo might have hoped for. So they selected a more physical routine for their second performance and got a far more enthusiastic reaction.
In episode two we move forward to 1964 and Eric and Ernie are back on the Ed Sullivan Show. This time it’s to appear with The Beatles. That particular show was seen by over 70 million viewers. Eric and Ernie realise that ‘cross talk’ humour that had made them such a success with British audiences is not going to work in America so they decide that for their new audience they will revert back to the more physical routines that worked so well in that second show.
It is also around 1964 that Morecambe and Wise are offered a three-film deal in Britain.
For final episode we see Eric and Ernie’s first work in colour on American television. They are also invited to perform on a major TV special alongside major stars like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
Back in Britain and a planned sixth series of their Two Of A Kind show had always been planned to air in UK and USA. The series was taped in colour and had an international guest list, many of whom were American. Unfortunately the series failed to capture The American audiences, although it went down well in Canada.
It proved a disappointing end to their time at ATV and drove them into the waiting arms of the BBC where they go on to deliver the best work of their careers.
Hosted By: Jonathan Ross
Starring: Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise
Original Transmission Dates: 27th December 2018, 3rd January 2019 and 10th January 2019