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Graham McCann's Morecambe and Wise

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  • Graham McCann's Morecambe and Wise

    McCann is the cousin of somebody on here, isn't he? I can never remember who, which is rude of me.

    Anyway, McCann's biography of Britain's best-loved double-act is absolutely wonderful. I haven't been so impatient to get back to a book for ages.

    McCann somehow manages to infuse every page with huge admiration and love without ever entering into sycophancy or ever even really giving any opinions of his own, leaving it all to those who were there and observable facts. It reads like a chronological tale of Eric and Ernie being born, finding each other, fighting to the top and finally realising they should retire ... but at the same time communicates the love that the author feels for them, which in turn makes the reader realise how much they meant to him/her.

    The anchor of the book is the 1977 Christmas special - the pinnacle of their viewing figures and some might argue their best ever show. McCann clearly shows how they achieved such giddy heights, and how the decline set in soon afterwards. A short-lived decline and nothing to be ashamed of, but just not that golden 1970s period that we are all nostalgic for.

    He is also very skilled at showing just how good they were. Regardless of nostalgia, regardless of the warmth we feel for them as 'friends' in our pasts, the shows work now because Morecambe and Wise were so good.

    I have much more to say about it, but I'll just recommend it to everyone, even those who don't like Morecambe and Wise. But surely such people don't exist?

    It was printed in 1998, and I can't find a later edition, so Ernie Wise's death isn't dealt with, which is a pity. Does anyone know if McCann has written about Wise's death and legacy anywhere? Or if there is another edition?

  • #2
    He’s the best writer on British comedy. I have several books by him. The Frankie Howard biography is excellent.