DVD release for recovered Morecambe & Wise episodes

Tuesday 3rd May 2022, 1:41pm

The Morecambe & Wise Show. Copyright: BBC

A new DVD release of The Morecambe & Wise Show has been announced by the BBC.

Now available to pre-order, Morecambe & Wise - The Lost Tapes, includes a number of previously lost episodes that have recently been recovered and restored. It will be released on 6th June.

The iconic comedy duo's first series for the BBC, dating from 1968, was wiped and only isolated fragments were known to have survived, which were included in previous DVD releases from the celebrated sketch show.

However, of the eight episodes in the series, four have now been recovered from black and white film prints and will be released on the DVD, alongside the full soundtracks of the other four editions.

Three of the recovered programmes have been further restored to colour with cutting edge, artificial intelligence-driven colour-recovery technology. Picture restoration has been undertaken by Peter Crocker and sound restoration by Mark Ayres.

One episode, however - the first that was recorded - only survived as a badly decomposed film print, rediscovered in a dilapidated cinema in Nigeria. Ground-breaking new technology has been developed to scan the film with x-ray and recover the images locked inside. This was part of a world-first seven-year long restoration project by the BBC and Queen Mary University, London.

The Morecambe & Wise Show. Image shows from L to R: Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise. Copyright: BBC

A fourth colour episode, a special aired in Autumn 1970 as the duo's BBC1 debut after enjoying their first four series on BBC2, is also included in the release; alongside two short documentaries about the hit comedy series' missing episodes; further excerpts of surviving footage; a special BBC2 trailer for the 1974 Christmas special; a 1963 BBC radio interview with the double act; and a 1968 interview with Eric Morecambe that also features fellow comedy star Marty Feldman.

The set is rounded off with a full, uncut studio recording of a 1972 episode, and digital recreations of original production paperwork, including scripts and Radio Times cuttings.

To coincide with the DVD release, a special screening will take place with the British Film Institute on 21st May at the National Film Theatre on the Southbank in London.

Morecambe & Wise - The Lost Tapes

Over four hours of never before released episodes of The Morecambe & Wise Show. Lost for over fifty years, now available for the first time on DVD.

In 1968, the BBC broadcast the very first series of The Morecambe & Wise Show. One of the BBC's first ever full colour comedy series, the programme would run for another nine years, quickly becoming one of the most beloved BBC television shows of all time.

Sadly, none of the eight episodes that made up Series 1 of The Morecambe & Wise Show were ever archived. And until recently, they were thought lost forever. However, after more than a decade of patient archive research and restoration, the series is now available to enjoy again. Four complete episodes have been recovered on film, with the other four surviving as high-quality audio-only recordings. Following extensive restoration all eight episodes are presented here on DVD for the very first time.

Also included is an extensive collection of additional special features, all previously unreleased. They include a once lost one-off special episode from 1970; an unbroadcast 1972 studio tape; a specially shot BBC Two trail; two rare 1960s BBC interviews; deleted scenes and featurettes.

First released: Monday 6th June 2022

  • Distributor: BBC
  • Region: 2 & 4
  • Minutes: 462
  • Subtitles: English
  • Catalogue: BBCDVD4386

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