It's a true Christmas treat, witnessing magical footage of the comedy nonpareils, seen for the first time in the UK. May our hearts bubble over with helpless laughter.Lucy Mangan, The Guardian, 27th December 2018
We've seen this nasty treatment meted out to Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams, Tommy Cooper and many more -- and now, in a miserable distortion of the truth called Eric, Ernie And Me (BBC4), to Morecambe and Wise.
This hour-long drama was based on the life of Eddie Braben, who wrote much of the duo's material in the Seventies when they were at their peak. But according to this version, Eric & Ernie were nobodies before Braben arrived -- rotten material, no rapport, behaved like strangers on stage.
That's complete nonsense. They were a superstar double act, who had starred together in a series of films. Even the Beatles clamoured to be on their show.
Braben was a brilliant gag-writer, who took the boys to new heights. But it was wrong to claim he plucked the Andre Previn/'Andrew Preview' sketch out of the air: the raw version was penned in the Sixties by Eric & Ernie's former writers, Sid Green and Dick Hills.
The whole thing was a depressing business, obsessed with Braben's breakdowns and bouts of mental illness. Writer Neil Forsyth seemed to be reproaching us: see what agonies this poor man suffered to make us laugh.
Most scurrilous of all was the way it portrayed Eric as a manipulative, cowardly tyrant, who bullied everyone around him. That bears no relation to any description of the man that I've ever read.Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 1st January 2018
ATV/ITV made them mega TV successes and household names with Two of a Kind (1961-1968, written by Sid Green & Dick Hills) and that TV success was 'bought' by the BBC who offered them much more money and then made their shows 1968-1977 (written by Eddie Braben). The BBC bought them because they were already ratings successes and they built on that.John Fleming, John Fleming's Blog, 29th December 2017
We all remember the classic Morecambe and Wise sketches and Christmas specials that they made for the BBC, but their first TV success was arguably over on commercial television, at ATV in the 1960s. This series was Two of a Kind and it spawned some of the double act's most famous routines.Ian Wolf, On The Box, 11th December 2016
The concluding part of this heartfelt tribute celebrates the superstar years of Eric and Ern: the monster ratings, the game-for-anything guests (Bassey, Previn, Jackson, Keith) and vital collaborators. We're treated to sketches last seen in the 60s, discover important inspirations and hear the honest thoughts of writer Eddie Braben, Eric's son Gary and dance-mad producer Ernest Maxin.
People forget that Morecambe and Wise were a quartet on TV - writers Dick Hills and Sid Green appeared with the boys on screen, even after their move from ITV to the BBC. But after Eric's first heart attack in 1968, Hills and Green left and Eddie Braben took over. It was a marriage made in comedy heaven.
Looking for a way forward, the duo remembered what had made them in the first place, and brought the warmth of the theatre to the cold technical space of a TV studio.
There's a priceless story about a fretful Morecambe convinced the Nothing like a Dame routine wouldn't work - Maxin's mime of Eric's face as he watched the final edit is especially moving. "He turned around," adds Maxin, "he put his arms around me, gave me a big kiss and the glasses filled up with tears... with relief that it had worked!"
There are some fabulous memory-joggers, too. Remember Janet Webb, the mystery woman who took all the applause at the end of their early 70s shows, even though she'd done absolutely nothing to earn it? "Goodnight, and I love you all!"
You'll be gripped by every step of the story, and look around you at the end to see if you can spot a dry eye.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 1st December 2013