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A Morecambe and Wise episode lost for 50 years is being aired on Christmas Day, The Manc

A Morecambe and Wise episode lost for 50 years is being aired on Christmas Day

The lost episode was discovered in an attic by Eric Morecambe’s son, and has since been colourised by the BBC.

A recently-discovered episode of The Morecambe and Wise show that was lost for 50 years is being aired on Christmas Day.

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Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise remain one of the most popular comedy duos in British TV history, after making their debut in 1941, and going on to develop complex skits, characters, and routines over the years.

The fourth and final series of The Morecambe and Wise Show for the BBC aired in 1978.

It’s pretty fair to say that sitting down to watch a Morecambe and Wise Christmas special became an important tradition for many families in the late 60s and 70s, with the comic double act’s festive shows often garnering prime-time audiences in excess of 20 million – some of the largest in British television history.

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And now, in 2021, that tradition can be relived once again.

Dating back to October 1970, the recently-discovered 45-minute show was the duo’s first for BBC One after they moved from BBC Two.

The previously-lost episode was discovered by Eric Morecambe’s son, Gary, who found seven canisters in the attic of his mother’s house in Hertfordshire while he was searching for old scripts last year.

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After the canisters were sent off by his agent to be examined, experts soon realised that they contained film.

A Morecambe and Wise episode lost for 50 years is being aired on Christmas Day, The Manc
The last series of of The Morecambe and Wise Show for the BBC was aired back in 1978 / Credit: BBC iPlayer

The lost episode – which has since been colourised by the BBC – had originally been wiped from the broadcaster’s archive so the tape could be used for other programmes.

Gary Morecambe said the unearthed episode  – which contains a sketch about a radio call-in challenge – represents “a golden era of television”, and he told BBC News that he was “staggered” when he received confirmation that the episode was salvageable.

“I didn’t realise at that point how far the BBC would go to present it,” Gary added.

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“That it would then get colourised, which is fantastic, so it’s been brought bang up to date, and also what’s really good is the quality of the show itself, you can see the embryonic Morecambe and Wise come through.”

A Morecambe and Wise episode lost for 50 years is being aired on Christmas Day, The Manc
The recently-discovered 45-minute show was the duo’s first for BBC One after they moved from BBC Two / Credit: BBC iPlayer

He continued: “It’s a bit like when they found something of Tony Hancock and Dad’s Army.

“These are important pieces from the golden era of television so to find something that was presumed wiped, and has been sitting in an attic for 50-odd years, that is very exciting and very important.”

The rediscovered episode will air on BBC Two at 7.45pm on Christmas Day.

Featured Image – BBC iPlayer

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