Monday, 10 March 2014

Perfect by name ...

A new clip show entitled The Perfect Morecambe and Wise is currently being broadcast on Saturday nights. Yes, there have been quite a few programmes about the pair recently but - based on the first two episodes - this particular assembly has the advantage that some of the sketches aren't overfamiliar through exposure on documentaries and other clip shows and their earlier ATV work is also represented.

I'm drawn to the little dance they do halfway through a Syd Lawrence number. Watching it you think: "Ah, maybe we're seeing some of the musical interludes to give a flavour of the original context," but then on they trot. If you are in the UK and reading this within five days of its being posted then go to BBC iplayer here, and start watching about 3.20 in.

Is it a classic clip? I dunno. But you can see the contrast between the two men: Ernie's transparent delight in the moves and Eric maintaining a kind of solemnity. The overall shape is pleasing: they are decorous, city-suited, and there is slow build to their climactic jitterbugging, the whole rounded off by a simple but smile-inducing bit of business.

But in the end there's not much point in comparing it to other, more celebrated routines. It's them. It's like that feeling I remember when once watching Oliver Hardy (sans Stan) in a less than great film called Zenobia listening to his daughter sing. Whatever these men do I want to watch it. And maybe it's also about seeing Ernie giving the lie to the idea that Eric Morecambe was really a single act. Anyway, if you can watch it, do so. Think I'll try it one more once ...

More Morecambe and Wise stuff here, here and halfway down here.

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