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Little Ern: The authorised biography of Ernie Wise [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Robert Sellers , James Hogg
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2011
Even though they are the most famous comedy double act Britain has ever seen, until now there has never been a biography of Ernie Wise. Seen by some as just the straight man in the partnership, in fact 'Little Ern' was regarded by his peers as a great comedian in his own right. It took no ordinary talent to be the perfect foil for the genius of Eric Morecambe, and to be his friend, business partner and co-performer for nearly forty years. Morecambe's personality flared with ego and insecurity, and theirs was a personal relationship that had to be nurtured as carefully as were their on-screen personas. Nearly thirty years after their last appearances, the pair still dominate the landscape of British comedy, and are loved and revered as ever. With the cooperation of Ernie's widow Doreen, and drawing on unpublished material from the family archive as well as interviews with friends, Robert Sellers and James Hogg have shifted the spotlight sideways to examine for the first time the true and patient genius of one of the greatest entertainers of his generation.

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Little Ern: The authorised biography of Ernie Wise + Eric Morecambe: Life's Not Hollywood It's Cricklewood + Morecambe and Wise
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson; Unabridged edition (7 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0283071508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283071508
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`This entertaining and poignant memoir of one half of Britain's best-loved comedy double acts focuses on the `straight man' in the partnership who was the perfect foil, and whose talent has often been overlooked.'
--Prima

'...fascinating...an in-depth biography of Ernie Wise by Robert Sellers and James Hogg that follows the early life of Wise, his fateful first meeting with Eric Morecambe and their subsequent partnership, thanks to interviews with many fellow entertainers, as well as Ernie's widow, Doreen.' --Choice magazine

`Fully explores the often-overlooked contribution Ernie made to the act and to comedy in general' --Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Chris Burgess

`This well-paced, perceptive book is touching and persuasive in the case that it makes.' --Mail on Sunday, Anthony Russell

`... an uplifting, heart-warming and beautifully written book that will act as a comfort blanket recalling cheery Christmases past; a time when Christmas didn't really begin until the whole family gathered round the television set to enjoy the collective warmth of Morecambe and Wise...if you want some genuinely touching and interesting Christmas reading, pop this one in your Christmas stocking.' --Spectator online Jerry Hayes

`A cheerful and affectionate tribute to "the perfect straight man"' --Christopher Silvester, Daily Express

`Welcome fillers for the stockings of televisionistas include the first authorised biography of Ernie Wise.' --The Stage

About the Author

Robert Sellers is the author of the bestselling Hellraisers series and has written more than ten books on popular culture. James Hogg previously collaborated with Robert Sellers on What's the Bleeding Time, the biography of James Robertson Justice, and has both contributed to several books and acted as a consultant to television productions, all regarding British comedy.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Ernie 9 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover
The public may be more aware of Eric Morecambe's showier role, but Ernie Wise was one half of Britain's most successful double act, contributing as much to the pair's success as his partner. His importance has been downplayed in recent years - indeed, there are times you could be forgiven for thinking that Morecambe must have been a solo act - so it's good news that a biography devoted to Ernie has just been published.

My recommendation, however, at least for fellow devotees, has to be a qualified one. This is because while the book certainly offers a fuller picture of Ernie's life post-Eric than I have read elsewhere, drawing on interviews with his widow Doreen, there's no getting away from the fact that much of the main part of the book, namely the pair's rise to fame, will already be familiar, thanks to the proliferation of books about the pair. Additional details and observations newly supplied by Doreen and other interviewees do illuminate certain aspects of an oft-told tale, but we're not exactly talking blinding revelations on every page.

Inevitably, then, it's the bookends - earliest days and declining years -which will be of most interest to diehard fans. Those early days have been covered in the past, but I don't think I've read elsewhere of Ernie's family's attitude to his cash-making potential: Doreen, uniquely placed to judge, sees Ernie's early years as a kind of slavery, that his childhood was stolen from him, explaining his later enjoyment in the "toys" which his success bought him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dying For A Laugh 21 Nov 2011
By Wingate
Format:Hardcover
It is the inescapable conclusion of the authors and Doreen Wise and eventually the reader that Eric and Ernie paid the ultimate price for fame with their lives.It is clear from Doreens recollections that their performances took a lot out of them both physically and mentally.Even the authors cannot fathom why they went through with their ITV contract when Eric suffered his second major heart attack.Ernie chose not to take up other offer of work whilst Eric was recovering so maybe Eric felt that he had to show loyalty by carrying on.Ernie on the other hand could have chosen to take up the other work which might not have put pressure on Eric to return either so quickly or at all.Whilst Eric died in a very sad and dramatic fashion poor Ernie effectively spent 15 years dying one way or another.So it is a very sad book in many ways.
The one thing i did not like about the book was the way that it sought quotes from the likes of Ben Miller,Miranda Hart and Ant & Dec about the pair.It is one of the curses of modern tv biogs where the opinions of lesser lights are inflicted on us.Let us hope that this will not create a trend in books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A partnership of equals 12 Mar 2012
By Bantam Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
In most comedy double acts one half usually gets the lion's share of the plaudits whilst the other is largely seen as merely a stooge for their more talented partner. In many cases this is fair; it is hard to imagine the likes of Mike Winters, Syd Little or Tommy Cannon getting very far in show biz as a solo act. Occasionally though you get a double act where both partners are supremely gifted but because one is allowed most of the laughs the other partner is often unfairly overlooked. Two prime examples of this must be Oliver Hardy and Ernie Wise, but whilst it is probably true to say that nowadays Oliver Hardy's genius has finally been recognised the authors of this book clearly think it is about time that Ernie Wise is similarly appreciated. As well as producing an absorbing read there is no doubt that they also make a good case for a reappraisal of little Ern.

On stage from a very early age, Ernie Wise was a showman through and through. He never classified himself as a comedian, and would probably have preferred to have been a song and dance man but soon recognised the extraordinary chemistry he had with Eric Morecambe was his route to fame & fortune. We learn that he was also the driving force in the partnership, and it was his drive that carried them through the early days when they were just another struggling variety turn. Far from being the carefree clown, Eric would take setbacks to heart but Ernie would keep his spirits up on the rocky road to stardom. It was also Ernie who would take charge of the business side of the partnership, helping to organise their bookings and the terms of their contracts; he became known as a hard-headed negotiator, usually getting the best deal for himself and Eric.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for fans of Eric and Ernie 11 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
A great book telling the whole life story of Ernie Wise from his humble beginnings, the initial meeting and subsequent partnership with Eric Morecambe and finally the story of his final years after the death of Eric in 84. The author has managed to get some BIG showbiz names to contribute to this book Des O`connor. Mike Parkinson and Michael Grade to name but three. And they add a wonderful insight as to how Morecambe and Wise stayed the nations favourite double act for so long.

Have to say though its a very sad read of Ernies attempt to stay in the public eye once Morecambe had died. you get the impression his showbiz pals were willing him to retire apart from the odd chat show or countdown appearance but couldnt persuade him. and he probably in all honesty made a massive mistake trying to carry on in the public eye- the author as good as suggests that.

still a fantastic book with memories almost on every page
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography
Loved it. Was in condition as it was second hand and it was a good buy good buy and arrived in very quick time. Have no issues what so ever. Enjoyed reading it.
Published 5 months ago by Yvonne Harrison
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst biography I've read.
I bought this hoping to get some insight into the other less reported half of the famous duo. Unfortunately I got a load of cobbled together quotes, a lot of them from people who... Read more
Published 10 months ago by S. Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Masterpiece
A few years back, a friend of mine once said, "Ernie Wise never said anything funny." At the time that seemed a bit harsh, and a simple viewing of any Morecambe & Wise sketch will... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Richard Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very wise, Mr Wise
An accomplished, well researched and well written biography of Ernie Wise, the straight man to Eric Morecambe. Read more
Published 10 months ago by L. Mullin
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any fan of Eric and Ernie
I must admit that a book like this was well overdue. It gives a very different angle to the legends that were Morecambe and Wise. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't see the join!
A sublime wander through the life of Ernie Wise,There were a lot of things in this book I didn't know about the boys and it is full of joy and memories about them. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mark Lupton-Emsley
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a good read
I really liked the book it was just like the drama version of it. it was interesting as too how they both started out. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes comedy or biographies.
Published 15 months ago by Audrene Foley
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Morecambe & Wise fans
Although not a particular fan myself I bought this book for my mother who knew Ernie as a child. However, I read the book myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by linda kellett
5.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of reading Little Ern!
He was the one with the short fat hairy legs. The one who wrote the plays wot he wrote. The one who kept a close eye on the money, both on stage and off. Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by Random Woman
5.0 out of 5 stars Ashley review
Hi i have enjoyed this biography very good and enjoyed very much i could not put this down until finished
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by sweapper
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