Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

ITV’s Morecambe and Wise switch to the BBC.

1968 Article

Still in B/W
Comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise have quit ITV and gone over to the BBC. The switch follows a behind the scenes row.

A spokesman for Mr. Lew Grade, head of ATV, said last night: “Morecambe and Wise wanted to dictate new terms as well as the length and content of programmes.”

“We refused to be dictated to.”

Eric Morecambe –he’s the tall one –said: “We had negotiations with ATV about doing a new series, but we couldn’t come to terms.”

“We asked for more money and we also asked that the programmes be televised in colour –shown in black and white in this country, and sold, if possible, to the USA in colour.”

“But ATV couldn’t agree on this.”

“The BBC met our terms. This doesn’t mean we have necessarily fallen out with ATV. If they offer us good terms in the future, we may well do our next series for them.”

Yesterday they signed up for a new series of seven half-hour shows which will cost the BBC more than £10,000 a programme.

It will be the first time Morecambe and Wise have worked for BBC television since 1953[sic].

For the past seven years there have starred in a series–a–year for ATV, and some of their shows have been sold in colour to American.

The new series, to be written by their regular scriptwriters, Sid Green and Dick Hills, will be shown on BBC2 later this year and be screened on BBC1.

Mr. Bill Cotton junior, the BBC’s head of variety, said last night “We are delighted at have Morecambe and Wise on our side.”

© Daily Mirror 1968

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