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Morecambe And Wise - Two Of A Kind: The Complete Series [DVD]
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Undoubtedly the best-loved double act that Britain has ever produced, Morecambe and Wise first came to fame in the mid 1960s with their hit comedy series for ATV. Showcasing their mildly anarchic humour, impeccable sense of timing and keen eye for the absurd, the success of Two of a Kind propelled Morecambe and Wise towards the BBC and television superstardom in no uncertain terms.
Each show features fast-moving skits and musical parodies, with Eric and Ernie giving us their inimitable versions of television favourites Supercar, Face to Face and Candid Camera in addition to memorable interpretations of Shakespeare, Eric's ongoing battle to get his lines right and undoubtedly the most ambitious attempt ever seen to recreate the 'fight sequence' from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!
This eight disc set contains all 48 editions of Two of a Kind (aka The Morecambe and Wise Show) alongside a wealth of special features including an exceptionally rare early performance from 1957, several appearances on Val Parnell's Saturday Spectacular and the two surviving editions of Piccadilly Palace.
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Top customer reviews
These are the shows that made them household names - so much so that they also starred in three movies during this period. I just about remember seeing these the first time around (and again on BBC2 in the Eighties, following Eric's death). They were funny then and they make me laugh still. Favourites include the classic Boom Oo Yatta-Ta routine, the original Grieg Piano Concerto sketch, minus Andre Previn, the duet on a wall with Millicent Martin, and a backstage rehearsal in which the writers Dick Hills and Sid Green stand in for the actresses in a sketch. I seem to remember Ernie saying that this was also one of Eric's favourites. The famous 1964 episode in which The Beatles appear as guests is also here.
I don't think anyone doubts that the M&W colour shows for the BBC were their best work, but these ATV productions are extremely good, and their relative rarity makes them TV buffs' gold.
This eight-disc set contains the complete run of shows from 30 June 1962 to 19 March 1966 - series two to five from their ATV years. (Confusingly, the DVD leaflet calls them series 1-4 - presumably just in relative terms. The first series of nine shows from the autumn of 1961 apparently no longer exists.)
The eighth disc in the set contains the two surviving editions of series six, which was shown in a one-hour slot in colour on ABC-TV in the US under the title Piccadilly Palace, and in the UK in black-and-white as The Morecambe and Wise Show. The versions here are the first two UK ones, which reprise some of the earlier material, and the quality is noticeably poorer than before, with very obvious telecine artefacts. This does not detract from the enjoyment of the shows. (Incidentally, the on-screen titles of the earlier series were The Morecambe and Wise Show from 1964 and Two Of A Kind until 1963.)
The extras disc also includes an early appearance from a 1957 show with David Whitfield, in which Eric wears very old-fashioned glasses and seems like an embryonic version of the character we would come to love.
The biggest "find" on the extras disc is a complete 1960 Val Parnell Spectacular, hosted by Eric and Ernie and starring Paul Robeson, no less, singing a somewhat bowdlerized version of Ol' Man River ("show a little grit and you land in jail" instead of "get a little drunk"). This is a very high-gloss show indeed. There are also clips from other Parnell shows from the same period - one with Tommy Steele and another hosted by Bob Monkhouse, in which Eric and Ernie share the stage briefly with Mike and Bernie Winters, plus a bit from a Jo Stafford Show and a clip from the 1961 Royal Variety Performance.
For comedy fans generally and Morecambe and Wise admirers in particular (and who doesn't admire Morecambe and Wise?) this is the must-have box set of the year.