Comedy partnership Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise have been celebrated with a blue plaque erected at their final television home. (Pictured left with presenter Noele Gordon on ‘ATV Midlands’ 5th anniversary programme, 1961)
The funnymen’s ‘golden era’ is often noted as being their BBC years from 1968 to 1978 with the programme produced at the BBC Television Centre in West London. The studios closed earlier this year for a revamp which will see them become office, shop and hotel space. A small studio operation will remain.
Before rejoining the beeb (following an initial disastrous spell during the 1950s) the pair had had a successful run with ATV from 1961 to 1968 with programmes airing on ITV first from the ATV Television Theatre in Wood Green, North London, and later from ATV Elstree in Borehamwood. The later is now BBC Elstree, home of Holby City and EastEnders. The former is a Halifax building society.
Rather than using any of these buildings bizarrely the blue plaque tribute has been placed where Eric and Ernie ended their career, with the less successful Thames Television years from 1978 to 1983. As Ernie once noted the ITV company had paid so much for the duo they skimped on the actual production. Only four series were made at Teddington. (Right M&W at Thames)
Nevertheless The Heritage Foundation have today unveiled the plaque at the former Thames Television studios at Teddington in West London. The studios currently operate as an independent facility.
Joan Morecambe, Eric’s widow, told the BBC it was “A very special day indeed.”
The Heritage Foundation will be erecting a blue plaque for Eric Sykes in July.