It has been half a century since legendary duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise first hit our screens, bringing sunshine to many through comic one liners and slapstick routines back in 1968 and, their Christmas specials have formed the festive centrepiece for many Brits during the sixties, seventies and beyond with re-runs and re-releases.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary and some of their most memorable Christmas episodes, Madame Tussauds Blackpool has re-styled the iconic wax figures in their classic white suits and top hats worn in their highest rated ever Christmas special in 1977.
From 1969 to 1980, the Christmas specials saw families huddle around the TV and watch the all-dancing and all-singing festive bonanza. Their 1977 Christmas special reached audiences of over 28 million (half the population) as the nation sat down to view the likes of Eric Porter, Elton John, Fenella Fielding, Anne Hamilton, Des ‘Connor and many other famous faces perform in hilarious sketches and make a fool of themselves.
Matthew Tithington, general manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool said: “Morecambe and Wise are not only a British institution in their own right, but have become a Christmas staple for many, earning the title as the BBC’s Number One Christmas Memory in 2017. We wanted to re-style the figures in a recognisable festive look that we are sure fans will love”
Speaking when the figures were first unveiled, Eric’s widow, Joan Morecambe commented: “Their humour is still so popular today because it is timeless. It is good clean fun and not topical so will never date”.
Madame Tussauds Blackpool asked visitors to the attraction to rank their top five Morecambe and Wise Christmas special moments:
1) 1971 – Shirley Some Mistake – Having just sung ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ for the James Bond theme tune, Shirley Bassey was invited to sing ‘Smoke In Your Eyes’ in this Christmas special whilst she tried to keep a straight face as Ernie and Eric fumbled around her .
2) 1971 – Previn Preview – Music and mischief combine in this hilarious sketch as Eric attempts to play the piano under the baton of renowned conductor André Previn, who he misnames, “Mr Preview Privet” and continually accusing Previn of playing the wrong notes.
3)1972 – Reindeers on the Roof – Here the comedy act donned furry reindeer outfits as they waited for Santa on a chilly rooftop, with amusing one-liners such as, “My fetlocks have frozen together”.
4) 1976 – Singin’ in the Rain – Take Ernie as Gene Kelly and Eric as a policeman and what do you get? One of the greatest parodies of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin In The Rain’ complete with all the slapstick humour the pair are so well known for.
5) 1977 – There is Nothing Like a Dame – Drawing in 28.5 million, the nation sat down to watch the cast of Dad’s Army, Elton John and Paul Eddington perform in this energising and all-singing and all-dancing festive bonanza.
Visit Madame Tussauds Blackpool to celebrate the anniversary and the festive season as mulled wine and mince pies are served for all to enjoy.