The unique story of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise – British television's most iconic double act.
The Morecambe and Wise Show was the crème de la crème of TV light entertainment from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. The hardy perennial comedy duo at its heart had even greater longevity, spanning five decades from their wartime debut at the Liverpool Empire to Morecambe's tragically early demise in 1984.
This is no simple, linear story of rags to fame and riches; Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise learnt showbiz the hard way. They began their careers as child stars, became famous in Variety, and then faded just as quickly into obscurity. But they would re-emerge bigger, better and brighter – and with a sackful of experience grittily won – to reach a level of celebrity and popularity that is unlikely ever to be equalled. By the time of their last BBC Christmas Show in 1977, they were twenty-four carat comedy gold – a national institution whose shows drew audiences in excess of twenty million. They also loved each other like brothers, and the audience repaid that love; they were the nation's best friends.
Other quality double acts have been and gone, yet none come close to the affection in which Morecambe and Wise are held. In Sunshine and Laughter, Louis Barfe tells their touching story, and explores how it is that thirty-seven years after their last television show, the tall handsome one with glasses and the one with the short, fat, hairy legs continue to work their unique brand of comedy magic.
'Happiness and Tears is as much a tribute as a biography ... The result is sure to delight Dodd's many admirers' TLS.
'Barfe takes us through Dodd's fascinating life and career with great clarity, some impressive sleuthing and obvious affection' Readers Digest.
'[An] industriously thorough, entertaining biography of the late Sir Kenneth Arthur Dodd' Spectator.
'An absolute joy' Choice Magazine.
'Fascinatingly odd' Daily Express