Morecambe & Wise: The Lost Tapes. Image shows from L to R: Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe. Copyright: ITV.

Sunshine And Laughter

BBC Radio 4 documentary about Morecambe and Wise. 5 episodes (1 series) in 2021. Features Penelope Keith.

Catch-up on Episode 5 on BBC Sounds

Sunshine And Laughter

Readings from Louis Barfe's book about Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

BBC Radio 4
5   (1 series)
Penelope Keith
Louis Barfe and Libby Spurrier
Celia De Wolff

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise met for the first time at the Swansea Empire in the 1930s, while appearing as separate acts in one of Jack Hylton's touring variety shows.

Both were successful child stars, and each recognised instantly a kindred spirit instantly, They were soon touring together with Sadie, Eric's redoubtable mother, finding them digs and looking out for them.

They learnt their trade the hard way with periods of unemployment and several flops - on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York they had to re-write virtually the entire act for the American sense of humour. But the hard won experience gained on the way up proved the making of them.

With brilliant writers like Eddie Braben, Morecambe and Wise found success first at ATV, then at the BBC with The Morecambe And Wise Show, which included stunning and legendary sketches awith Andre Previn, Shirley Bassey and Angela Rippon.

Morecambe and Wise had become a national institution. Their shows topped the ratings right up until the untimely death of Eric Morecambe in 1984. It's clear that, in their professional life, they were inseparable, fonder of each other than most brothers. After Eric's death, Ernie Wise soldiered on professionally, but he was now only half a star, and it was clear that for the rest of his life, after a partnership of five decades, Ernie would be searching for Eric.

If Eric had lived, all they would have had to do for work would be to appear on stage as themselves, and they had had a lifetime's experience for that.

Production Details

Production company
Also known as
  • Sunshine And Laughter By Louis Barfe (Other official name)
Opening and ending theme is Bring Me Sunshine sung by Morecambe and Wise.
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Monday 30th August 2021 on BBC Radio 4 at 9:45am
Last new broadcast
Friday 3rd September 2021 on BBC Radio 4 at 9:45am
Length of episodes
15 minutes
Last repeat
Saturday 4th September 2021 at 12:30am