Bring me sunshine: The legacy of Eric Morecambe

This week, it will be 25 years since Britain's favourite comedian died of a heart attack – and still he retains his place in the nation's affections. Andrew Johnson asks these leading figures: Why?


Bruce Forsyth Veteran entertainer and host of
Strictly Come Dancing

"Eric's appeal will never die. His humour was always up-to-date, and he was funny on his own – he always had a lot to talk about and was a lot of fun in conversation. Morecambe and Wise's appeal is like that of Only Fools and Horses: as long as people sell television sets it will always be funny. You're either funny or you're not, and Eric was funny."

Angela Rippon Newsreader and guest on the 1977 Christmas show

" The Morecambe & Wise Show established the tradition of getting very serious people to do funny things. It was a way for people who are only seen in one particular sphere to be seen differently. Now we have Children in Need; but I think that really began with Morecambe and Wise, and it's had a terrific result."

Glenda Jackson Politician and actress; guest on the 1971 show

"Eric and Ernie could create a link between themselves and the audience that went right through the glass screen of the television so that the audience genuinely loved them. They were always straight with the audience – they never left them short."

Lee Mack Stand-up comedian

"I'm a massive fan. I'm going on Celebrity Mastermind soon and Eric's going to be my specialist subject. He is the funniest British comic of all time. Eric is the comedian's comedian. I don't know anyone who doesn't like him. It's the timeless thing and there's nothing cynical about him."

John Hegley Poet

"Luton Towndemoted but not down. We have the cup that overfloweth, plenty to still get us delighted: the pre-match pubbub, the half-time pies – even if there isn't a vegetarian option. Plenty still to shout about. What would Mr Morecambe say? Bring me Forest Green Rovers; bring me Ebbsfleet United; don't bring me Grays Athletic; bring me sunshine; get me delighted. Wise up."

Barry Cryer Comedy writer

"People felt they knew Eric. When he died I remember people saying that it was as if they had lost a friend. You can't fake that. Ernie had it as well. Eric's timing was as sharp as a razor blade. He learned every syllable of his script – although he could ad lib as well – and he used to get a bit impatient with Ernie, who was a slower learner."

Meera Syal Comedian

"I liked his innocence. He was like a toddler; there was an energy about him that was completely infectious – and really unfashionable now that we have postmodern comedy of cruelty. There was something kind and silly about Eric and Ernie. He and Ernie had an almost psychic connection, which comes from working for so long together. "

Nicholas Parsons Quiz show host and actor

"I knew Eric very well – he was president of the Lord's Taverners when I was on the council. He was the most delightful, warm, open, funny man I've ever met. He just charmed everybody. He was always giving of himself and turned everything into fun. A lot of comedians are different when they are off stage but Eric was the same whenever he was working or with the public. In some ways, he didn't quite relax. He wanted to see people smile and be happy."

Keith Harris Ventriloquist

"I was lucky enough to work with Eric for about three years. I did three tours with The Morecambe & Wise Show. We called him Mr Morecambe in those days because you respected the top of the bill. I was about 19 and he used to stand at the side and say, 'You need to do a bit more comedy rather than be clever'. I took that on and got better."

Eddie Izzard Comedian

"I always thought Eric was doing stuff that was just out of the box. In stand-up terms, he was just going in different directions – it was beautiful. When you're in a double act you're doing physical situation comedy. Eric was always looking for angles to get in double entendres."

Additional reporting by Victoria Richards and Rosemary Lobley

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker