TV UK TV

Eric and Ernie (BBC-2 Jan 1, 2011, Daniel Rigby, Bryan Dick)

Eric and Ernie

Period drama Eric and Ernie tells, in fabulous style, the rise to fame of Britain’s favourite comedy double act. Beginning with their childhood years and both being drawn to the stage and in particular the music hall Eric Bartholomew ends up joining forces with Ernie Wiseman after the pair join a stage revue as teenagers.

Realising they have something pretty special the pair are guided by Eric’s driven mother Sadie and eventually begin to make a name for themselves until a disastrous TV series – Running Wild leaves them contemplating giving it all up.  Until that is they realise that all they really need to do is rely on their own instincts and stick to what they are good at – making people laugh!

Eric and Ernie is a superb piece of drama, brilliantly realised too – from the script from the always excellent Peter Bowker to the outstanding performances from the two leads both of whom capture all the nuances and characteristics of these two legendary comics down to a tee.

Daniel Rigby IS Eric Morecombe so good is he. Great supporting roles too for Victoria Wood (who came up with the original idea for the production) as Eric’s highly determined mother who can’t quite believe it when Eric and Ernie tell her that they can go it alone now. She has spent years dedicating herself to their careers, more often than not to the detriment of her marriage to husband George (another fab performance from Vic Reeves here acting under his real name Jim Moir).

Superbly done and carrying with a real air of melancholy at times too which also adds immeasurably to the overall feel of the production. The BBC are making this genre of biopics of television icons very much their own these days and they always brilliantly done too.

production details
UK / BBC Two / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 1 January 2011 @ 9.00pm

Writer: Peter Bowker / Producer: Timothy Bricknell / Executive Producer and Original Idea: Victoria Wood / Director: Jonny Campbell

cast
DANIEL RIGBY as Eric
BRYAN DICK as Ernie
VICTORIA WOOD as Sadie
JIM MOIR as George
REECE SHEARSMITH as Harry Wiseman
JONAH LEES as Young Eric
HARRY McENTIRE as Young Ernie
THOMAS ATKINSON as Little Eric
JOSH BENSON as Little Ernie
EMER KENNY as Joan
HANNAH STEELE as Doreen
TED ROBBINS as Jack Hylton
ANDREW GREENOUGH as Gordon Noval
JULIAN WADHAM as Ronnie Wadham
ESME BIANCO as Showgirl
THOMAS ALDERSLEY as MC
ANGELA CURRAN as Edna
STEPHEN AINTREE as Vernon
ALEX PRICE as Nigel
MARTIN WALSH as Fishmonger
CLARA DANCY as Usherette
RIA JONES as Landlady
PAM SHAW as Lily
MARCUS TAYLOR, SIMON HOLLAND ROBERTS, FINETIME FONTAYNE, LEE OAKS as Stage Door Keepers
ROBERT WILCOX as Doug
PETER GUNN as Billy Crackers
CAROLYNNE GOOD as Girl From Vasaria
IAN ROSS-HENDERSON as Heckler