Morecambe & Wise In America. Image shows from L to R: Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe
Morecambe & Wise In America

Morecambe & Wise In America

  • TV documentary
  • Gold
  • 2018 - 2019
  • 3 episodes (1 series)

Jonathan Ross presents this three-part documentary series telling the story of how Eric and Ernie attempted to break America. Also features Glenda Jackson, Nicholas Parsons, Millicent Martin, Diana Rigg, Shaparak Khorsandi and more.

Episode menu

Series 1, Episode 1

Ed Sullivan, his band leader, and Morecambe & Wise. Image shows from L to R: Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise
This episode tells of Morecambe and Wise's first steps in their American adventure, appearing on the high-rating CBS variety series The Ed Sullivan Show.

Further details

In March 1963, Eric and Ernie made their first trip across the Atlantic to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Jonathan Ross tells the story of how they had been spotted appearing at The London Palladium by Sullivan, and how he booked them for three performances in that year.

At first the American studio audience weren't sure what to make of Eric and Ernie, and on their first appearance they were listened to in virtual silence. They selected a more physical routine for their second performance, and the reaction improved. With the Sullivan Show's huge ratings, they had begun to crack America.

Featuring footage never seen in Britain before, as well as personal home movie footage from Eric and Ernie's own collections, this episode tells of Morecambe and Wise's first steps in their American adventure.

Broadcast details

Thursday 27th December 2018
60 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 30th December 2018 6:00pm Gold
Monday 31st December 2018 10:20pm Gold
Tuesday 1st January 2019 6:50pm Gold
Thursday 9th May 2019 9:10am Gold
Sunday 8th September 2019 7:00pm Yesterday
Sunday 13th October 2019 7:00pm Yesterday
Saturday 28th December 2019 11:00pm Gold
Saturday 4th January 2020 8:00am Gold
Sunday 17th May 2020 7:00pm Yesterday
Friday 2nd October 2020 10:40pm Gold
Sunday 11th April 2021 10:20pm Gold
Monday 12th April 2021 1:55am Gold
Saturday 17th April 2021 7:45am Gold
Saturday 23rd September 2023 2:30am Gold

Cast & crew

Jonathan Ross Host / Presenter
Glenda Jackson Self
Nicholas Parsons Self
Millicent Martin Self
Diana Rigg (as Dame Diana Rigg) Self
Shaparak Khorsandi (as Shappi Khorsandi) Self
Gina Yashere Self
Anita Harris Self
Stephen K Amos Self
Penn Jillette (as Penn & Teller) Self
Teller (as Penn & Teller) Self
Michele Lee Self
Michael Grade Self
Gary Morecambe Self
Vince Calandra Self
Graham McCann Self
Susan Hampshire Self
Joan Morecambe (as Joan Morecambe OBE) Self
Gail Morecambe Self
Debra Supnik Self
Steve Punt Self
Barry Cryer Self
Jon Culshaw Self
William Cook Self
Eric Morecambe Self (Archive Material)
Ernie Wise Self (Archive Material)
Guest cast
Vina Saffian Self
Bill Bonhert Self
Production team
Simon Lloyd Series Director
Simon Lloyd Series Producer
Mark Wells Executive Producer
Andrew Solt Executive Producer
Joe McVey Executive Producer
Helen Nightingale Executive Producer
Greg Vines US Producer
Julian Caidan Editor
Paul King Director of Photography


The night that Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise made their US debut on the massively influential Ed Sullivan Show with a routine more suited to Blackpool Pier, they went down like the proverbial cup of cold sick. The second time they were on, they were hitting and wrestling one another to the floor. They had learned their lesson. Jonathan Ross presents this fascinating three-part look at how the comedians fared with Stateside audiences between 1963 and 1968.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 27th December 2018

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