(1925–99) English comedians. Both were early discoveries of Jack Hylton, Ernie auditioning for his radio show Bandwagon in 1938, aged 13, with the legendary Arthur Askey, and Eric for Hylton's revue Youth Takes a Bow, which Ernie joined two months later. Their double act, originally called Morecambe and Leeds, was established after the war. Their early career was on radio and in summer seasons in Blackpool; television would claim them almost entirely from the 1960s. Announcements made in front of a plush curtain, the running gag of Ernie's ‘plays what I wrote’ featuring stage and screen actors of note (Glenda Jackson, Flora Robson, John Mills), the referential nature of song-and-dance routines, Ernie's efforts to sing a solo, catchphrases and catch-actions (the two-handed slap on the cheeks, the shoulder hug, Ernie's mythical toupé), all contributed to the clean, cosy, and safe reputation of the Morecambe and Wise Show, which attracted consistently high ratings. Their Christmas specials, rerun into the twenty-first century, have assumed national heritage status.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance in Oxford Reference.