Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise are one of Britain’s best loved comedy acts. The popularity of their shows continue to this day, despite the last edition being made over thirty years ago. Now their ITV festive specials are to be released on DVD.

Morecambe and Wise were a staple ingredient of British television for four decades, and nothing showcased their comedic brilliance more memorably than the wonderful Christmas specials that enlivened festive viewing for tens of millions of viewers.

The duo began their television career at the BBC – who almost ended it. Thankfully after their original disasterous beeb outing Lew Grade gave them a chance and a successful run with ATV followed. Those early ITV shows lead into a return to the BBC in the late 60s – and the best years of comedy material would follow.

In 1978 the entertainment world was surprised to learn Eric and Ernie were departing BBC One for Thames Television. While the Thames years may not be a patch on the ones spent at aunty Beeb, mainly due to a lower budget, they still have moments of comedy genius and amusing sketches.

Families across the country gathered around the box for these legendary shows – as much a part of Christmas Day as the Queen’s speech and the after-dinner nap – with Eric and Ernie aided by an array of guest stars, including David Frost, Hannah Gordon, Glenda Jackson, Leonard Rossiter, Frank Finlay, Peter Barkworth, Des O’Connor and Alec Guinness. – Network

The first volume of Morecambe & Wise – The Christmas Specials, comprises three Thames Television era shows screened on Christmas Day on ITV in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Bursting with botched song and dance numbers, mangled classics, bad puns and short fat hairy legs, these ratings record-breakers show why Morecambe and Wise remain the nation’s favourite comedy duo.

The DVD is released next month with a RRP of £9.99.

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