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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 12 October 2011
Having purchased other sketch/variety type shows, I was expecting a slow build up to the comic genius I remembered from my childhood. The surviving material from the duos first BBc series reinforced that expectation. While it is undoubtedly funny, it's just not the M&W I remembered. But with the first colour episode, and the introduction of Eddie Braben as their writer, the series just sort of arrives fully formed. Braben did what no other writers for Eric and Ernie did, he based his whole approach around their own off-stage personalities and the three together raised the bar for TV comedy. All the things we remember so fondly are in place and the leads are firing on all cylinders from the opening credits to the first, dazzling curtain call of Janet Webb. This episode also features the great Peter Cushing's debut and the start of one of the longest running gags in comedy history, "I haven't been paid yet". The rest of season two is just as funny. Even the one or two contemporary references that I couldn't follow still made me laugh with the delivery.

The third series builds on this solid foundation and soars into new realms of comedy inspiration. M&W were always a comedy duo, never a double act, as neither ever acted as the "straight man". Each had their own idiocies and balanced the other perfectly. Ernie, pompous, self congratulatory, but with a childlike glee at times, and Eric, irrepressible, down to earth and taking the mickey out of everyone and everything, but never, ever cruel; often acting as a one man comic greek chorus commenting on the action around him. There is no "fourth wall", they involve the viewer completely and as other reviewers have said, even during their bickering, the affection they had for each other is infectious.

At the risk of sounding an old fogey, the guest stars were proper stars, with a prescence about them that we rarely see today. International stars of stage and screen, serious musicians, you name it, they wanted to be part of the fun. The ultimate must surely be Andre Previn, whose performance is absolutely perfect, it's a real shame that, apart from a couple of cameo appearances later, it was a one off. The guests, appearing as "turns" by themselves and in relation to M&W mean that sheer nostalgia value would earn this collection 5 stars. A particularly surprising moment away from the comedy is when regular guests, folk group "The Pattersons" burst into a song that was incidental music in the ITC serial "Strange Report".

Very highly recommended.
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on 4 February 2011
Anyone who is a Morecambe and Wise fan will not need me to tell them how good they were. Their affection for each other spilled over the, "Footlights", and became infectious. I remember as a kid, the family event of watching their shows and delighting in seeing my Grandad crying with laughter, which also became infectious. Therefore when I watch these DVDs I watch with great affection for the two of them. Nostalgic, yes but also still very funny.

I am impressed with the quality of the picture, which seems to have benefited from some digital remastering, or perhaps it's the upscaling of my Blu-Ray player. Whatever it is, it holds up well on the 42" screen and you soon forget the 4:3 aspect ratio. There's very little black and white footage, just some surviving clips from their first series. In fact, my only note of disappointment to date (currently up to Series 4) is that the early footage didn't include the B&W show when they had the Beatles on as guests and Eric kept referring to Ringo as, "Bongo". I know this must survive because I've seen it repeated on the TV recently. Of course it might be on an early B&W Christmas Show, which are grouped together at the end. I haven't watched any of these yet so hopefully my disappointment will be premature.

Needless to say, it's only a small flaw (if one at all) in an otherwise brilliant presentation. Well worth buying.
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As a child of the 70s, the Morcambe & Wise show was the highlight of the week, and Christmas days were planned around the Christmas specials. Eric and Ern's style of entertaining was driven by their deep friendship, which gives their performances an infectious warmth. Their bickering and their insults are all the funnier because it's obviously all they can do to keep a straight face. There's a real joy in watching Morcambe's ad-libs, impossibly quick and off-the-wall, but it's an equal treat to see little Ern's singing and dancing skills which were considerable in themselves. There are the plays what Ern wrote, with some of the biggest stars of the day loving every moment of their 'humiliation', for example Penelope Keith having to tuck her skirt into her knickers and climb down scaffolding when the Hollywood staircase turns out to be only half-built. Some of the musical acts may be dated now, but many have a timeless appeal such as Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen (they were brilliant) and Irish folk-trio The Pattersons (I wish they'd released an album that lived on in cd format). The sheer variety of song, dance, slapstick, satire, and honest, silly fun made them first rate entertainers, and the deadpan delivery of innuendo (such as Ernie in the garden deciding to show his plums this year) is hilarious without being smutty. But what lies at the heart of why I love Eric & Ernie so much is the palpable niceness of the two, the affection that underscored their partnership and their genuine desire to make people happy and forget their troubles. I do wish the box-set had included a glossy booklet about the duo, but the lack of one doesn't merit deducting a star from this wonderful collection. Not even half a star.
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on 22 August 2011
I bought this thinking I had seen most of it, but I was wrong, there's far more material here than I had seen. You can see a small part of the first series, which is interesting, but by the second series there's most of the charateristics, guest stars, stage work, scenes at home, the refernces to a wig, and height, the slap round the face.

The main changes from the earlier series is that the musical numbers are allowed to progress, and if you are only a familiar with the later work you still expect Morecambe and Wise to come on and mess about.

My criticisms of the DVDs are no extras, and that the scenes aren't the same as the sketches, so if you are less keen on the 'serious' music, as I am, skipping often skips across sketches as well, also if you are looking for a particular sketch you don't get any indication where it might be!

For less than £50 you get a gem in this box set, enjoy
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on 26 June 2013
After a horrifying New Years Eve party, which involved being sat around forced to watch the unspeakable trash that is Geordie Shore, my twin sister faked illness and we came home to begin watching this. We received the box set for our birthday after seeing Daniel Rigby play Eric in the drama "Eric and Ernie" and watching the Andre Previn episode that is repeated every year at Christmas.

It is simply superb! We're both big modern comedy fans, and being 25, it all happened before we were even born, and we can finally see why Morecambe and Wise are so well loved by the nation. We love the musical turns; house band Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen are (were) fantastic musicians, and a little cheer for the Pattersons, an act that look very out of place by todays standards. It all harks back to a much more innocent, cleaner age of prime-time telelvision and comedy, that is very rare nowadays.

M&W are unbeatable in everything they do. Eric is so quick off the mark, and it makes you wonder how much is ad-libbed and how much is scripted. We love the yellow curtain scenes with Eric's goings on behind it, the short monks sketches never fail to raise a laugh and the 5 second "Sing Something Simple" sketch we watched last night was brilliant! Ernies plays "wot I wrote" are fantastic. Have to look up who some of the guest stars are, as it's before our era, but they're all superb anyway. Did Peter Cushing ever actually get paid?

So many glorious episodes to enjoy. 20 discs!
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on 31 December 2012
fantastic box set, but product info states it contains 5 xmas special (back of the box and amazon product info). in fact it includes all 8 xmas specials (the same as the separately released 3 disc set. which amazon pair up as a buy together????)
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on 8 March 2011
Hi Muds,

You have got the wrong period for the Beatles clip you are talking about. M & W were with the BBC from 1968 to 1976 and the B&W footage of the Beatles comes from around the mid 1960's when in fact M&W were actually on ATV Television (if you note the beatles are wearing the dark suits and cropped hair styles of their early period).

According to the Wikipedia website it appears that ITV are releasing Eric and Ernie's work with ATV on DVD with the first series available in December, so you may soon have your wish!

Hope this helps.
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on 13 November 2016
How could anyone not like these "two of a kind"....There was never any foul language. There may have been some very very subtle innuendos that only adults, and those like myself, would twig onto. Perfectionists to the last... Sadly these two are no longer with us to entertain us especially at Christmas time.
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on 26 October 2011
His funny box set from the masters. Put it in stright away and fast delivery. Absoulete gold :) All of this finsihed before I was even born and I find it the funniest thing I have ever watched! Just simple pure comedy and feel good stuff.
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on 14 January 2013
Good entertainment with out foul language, always liked Morecambe and wise so it was great to be able to buy a box set to watch full versions of their programs not just highlights fully recommend it for a good laugh
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