Jonathan Ross discovers Morecambe & Wise in America this Christmas for UKTV.
The Morecambe and Wise statue, Winter Gardens, Blackpool
“As a fan of both Morecambe & Wise and vintage American TV, it’s been a real joy to discover all this footage of their performances in the States in the Sixties. I’m looking forward to telling the story for Gold’s viewers of how Eric and Ernie’s work in America became a tantalising foretaste of their very best shows here in Britain.” – Jonathan Ross
Morecambe & Wise, perhaps more synonymous with Christmas than any other entertainers, will be the focus of a brand new documentary series hosted by Jonathan Ross this December on the nation’s favourite comedy channel Gold. Morecambe & Wise in America is a UKTV Original telling the story of Eric and Ernie’s attempts to break America, featuring over an hour of footage that has never been seen in the UK.
Over the course of five years in the 1960s, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise made multiple trips to New York to appear on the USA’s biggest variety show, The Ed Sullivan Show – also credited with helping The Beatles ‘crack’ America. The untold story of their attempt to make it in the States is documented for the first time, including footage that has never been shown on British television before, alongside Eric and Ernie’s own photographs, home movies and memorabilia from the time.
The Beatles on the ATV era Morecambe and Wise Show ‘Two of a Kind’, with Ernie and Eric.
In the three-part series, Morecambe & Wise in America, UKTV will also peel back the curtain on the working dynamic of the legendary pair behind the scenes, with contributions from family and colleagues as well as some of the legendary guest stars who worked with them including Glenda Jackson, Nicholas Parsons, Millicent Martin and Dame Diana Rigg.
The series also includes Morecambe & Wise’s very first appearances on television in colour.
Morecambe & Wise in America is commissioned for UKTV by Joe McVey, commissioning editor, and ordered for Gold by Richard Watsham, director of commissioning, and Steve North, genre general manager, comedy and entertainment.
“Morecambe & Wise are as much part of Christmas as presents, carols and unbearable family tension, and this is the untold story of how their attempt to crack America in the 60s shaped their golden era and all of our Christmases ever since and forever. As many as 60 million people watched them on The Ed Sullivan Show, so if the British public could all watch it, that would be a great Christmas present for me.” – Joe McVey
Morecambe & Wise in America will air on Gold in December.