Belittling Ern : the changing performance dynamic of Morecambe and Wise

Hewett, RJ ORCID: 2021, 'Belittling Ern : the changing performance dynamic of Morecambe and Wise' , Comedy Studies, 12 (2) , pp. 203-214.

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Despite their renown as one of the most successful double acts in British television history, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise have received scant academic attention. However, they have been celebrated in numerous biographies and documentaries, as result of which various narratives have come to be constructed around them: namely, that their success at the BBC in the 1970s was in large part due to the re-working of their screen personae by writer Eddie Braben. Braben claimed to be the first person to have incorporated the real bond of affection that existed between the men into their screen alter egos, and also stated that his reimagining of Ernie Wise’s character as a pompous yet talentless writer allowed him to eschew the traditional role of a straight man and feed. Drawing upon archive interviews, written accounts and textual analyses of Morecambe & Wise’s television performances, both at the BBC in the 1970s and in the 1960s at ATV, this article demonstrates that their personalities were very much an established part of the act prior to Braben’s arrival, and that his reinvention of their screen dynamic, while capitalising upon Eric Morecambe’s comic talents, in fact served to weaken Wise’s agency as a performer.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Journal or Publication Title: Comedy Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 2040-610X
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Richard Hewett
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:19

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