Thursday, 18 April 2019

A Comedy on This Day: The Morecambe & Wise Show (19 April 1976)

 The last of their regular BBC shows presents the duo at the pinnacle of their popularity. Their innate likability does a lot of work in getting the duffer patches of some sketches over the line. I think that because so many people associated them with happiness, there was a collective willingness on the part of audiences to go along with them, making their shows a kind of communal celebration of good cheer.

 The best bit is the most-repeated moment - the famous breakfast dance which mimes 'The Stripper' to various actions with eggs, pancakes, sausages, grapefruit, etc. The section when Eric tosses the eggs to Eric, who then breaks and beats them in time must have taken a bit of rehearsal. I'd forgotten that there are a couple of minutes before the dancing, mostly of the pair dropping things. You'd wonder where this sketch was going if you were watching for the first time.

 Its something of a surprise that the BBC's top comedy talents at the height of their powers didn't find more impressive musical guests this week. Diane Solomon, who did at least have minor hit albums at this time, sings a song of undying devotion ('Whistle Me') from the perspective of a dog. Her performance of the song is wholly upstaged by the large grey Afghan hound sat on her lap - "His name's Kafka. Isn't he lovely?"

 Top recording artistes Champagne don't even have pets to hide behind. They are a 3M 2F group, but one of the men is a drummer, perched behind his kit of a dais at the back of the set. The remaining quartet are lined at the front in a Brotherhood of Man-type formation, but unfortunately the two men (one of whom sports an impressive afro and beard that reminds me of George Berry) are encumbered by guitars, so interaction between the sexes is minimal. The women try to make the best of things by walking back and forth and raising their arms in trousered outfits formed out of six tiers of fringed pink material that flaps about in unison a bit. Their song, 'Love for All Seasons' ("The flowers that we picked in June/ would die too! soon!", etc.) is unfamiliar and a bit confused.

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