Morecambe And Wise: The Garage Tapes. Image shows from L to R: Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe. Copyright: Whistledown.

Morecambe And Wise: The Garage Tapes

Morecambe And Wise: The Garage Tapes

Jon Culshaw presents an unheard treasure trove of vintage recordings by comedy greats Morecambe and Wise

BBC Radio 4
Jon Culshaw, Peter Bowker, Doreen Wise, Gary Morecambe, Michael Grade, Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise and Bob Monkhouse
David Prest and Stewart Henderson

Jon Culshaw uncovers an extraordinary audio archive of early Morecambe and Wise material, including a number of long lost tapes.

A few years ago, Ernie's widow, Doreen Wise, discovered piles of tapes and 78 recordings while clearing an old family garage. At the end of last year, Eric and Ernie's agents contacted independent radio production company, Whistledown, and they took a look at the material.

The most important finds are a number of long-lost episodes of Eric and Ernie's first radio show, You're Only Young Once, which was made for the BBC between November 1953 and June 1954. These feature songs, sketches, their trade mark banter and guest cameo appearances from other well-known performers including Bob Monkhouse.

The tapes in Ernie's garage are believed to be "run off" copies recorded by studio engineers immediately after the recordings and probably never played since, as well as acetate copies which Doreen paid the studio engineer a few shillings for.

Producer David Prest says: "Much of the value of the material is in what it shows about their comedy development. The early radio series are very naturalistic, and feature historical sketches and songs which precede the Seventies BBC TV shows by almost 15 years."

Production Details

Production company
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 4th May 2010 on BBC Radio 4 at 9am
Episode length
45 minutes
Last repeat
Sunday 4th January 2015 at 1:00am on Radio 4 Extra