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
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
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.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine