Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Eric's Titbits

1976 Article

Eric gets his say
Only Here for a Laugh - Eric’s Titbits – 1976

EM: There’s no answer to that. What am I doing here, anyway? My mother warned me not to talk to strangers.

TB: You’re this week’s guest columnist. The editor has given you the freedom of the page to talk about whatever you like. You’ve got carte blanche.

EM: I have? Where is she then? I knew a girl called Blanche once. She was a girl guide. Gave me a guided tour round her tent. I was a boy scout at the time but I had to leave the troop when I lost my woggle. Now there’s a novelty. The scoutmaster ordered me to tie a granny. I told him to get knotted. Ernie Wise was in the same troop. He reckoned he was an outstanding scout because he was full of good intent.. We were invited to appear in Rol Harris’s Gang Show once.

TB: You mean Ralph Reader?

EM: No, it was definitely Rolf Harris. He was waltzing Matilda at the time. I remember him painting her while he played his didgeridoo. Not a pretty sight. I preferred her the colour she was. Anyway, Ern and I were all set to do our bit in the show but we got our shorts mixed up. Ern lost contact with his short, fat, hairy legs. I got an Ernia.

TB: This isn’t making sense Eric.

EM: Oh, is it supposed to? I thought you had Lord George-Brown doing the serious stuff. I’m only here for a laugh.

TB: Lord George-Brown writes a regular column about the world at large. The Editor wants you to provide a little light relief.

EM: Have you met Ernie Wise? He’s a little light relief. Ern and I have been together for thirty-five years. I think people are beginning to talk.

People always ask me whether he really does wear a wig. I’m sworn to secrecy, but let’s just say that he keeps Axminister Carpets in business. Without him, they’d be on the floor. We’re busy rehearsing our BBC TV Christmas show at the moment. There was an audience of more than 25 million for last year’s show.

We were really switched on.

It should be a knock-out show this Christmas. Elton John is one of our star guests. He really makes a spectacle of himself. Played football with him once. He pirouetted on his high heeled boots and disappeared up hi yellow-brick road. We found him later at Watford Junction hitching a lift to the third division.

TB: Between you, me and the readers, Eric, do you mean those insults you are always hurling at Des O’Connor?

EM: Course not sunshine. I think he’s one of the greatest singers in the country. Just struggles when he sings in town, that’s all. Have you heard his latest record? Songs for Deaf Lovers. There’s a Government health warning on every cover.

Actually, Des and I are good friends. I thought he was marvellous on our last Christmas show. But he’s still not paid us.

TB: How do you get distinguished artists like Andre Previn and Eric Porter to become your targets on the Morecambe and Wise shows?

EM: You mean Andy Preview and Coal Porter. Easy. We just use threats. We told Andy Preview that if he didn’t come on the show we would report him for misconducting himself in public. And we threatened Coal Porter with another episode of Bruce Forsyth’s Saga. Andy Preview still hasn’t got over hearing me play the piano. It was Grieg’ Piano Concerto in ‘E’ flat colonel arranged by Mrs Mills. Mr Preview was most impressed. Said he’d never heard anything like it in his life.

TB: What do you do with yourself when you’re not appearing at the theatre or on television?

EM: Well, I’ve got a lovely wife and family, a dog and a bank manager to support. The bank manager refuses to come out or our wardrobe. Says it suits him in there. In my spare time, I am something of an ornithologist. And I like looking at birds. My main hobby is fishing. Mind you, I’ve been a bit put off since I saw Jaws. Haven’t fancied a bit since then. Friend of mine played one of the victims. It was a bit part. I don’t get the time to go to the pictures as often as I would like. Last film I saw before Jaws was Harry Secombe’ epic Goon With The Wind. Best film I ever saw was Humphrey Gocart in the Lunchpack Of Notre Dame.

My favourite films are westerns. Did you ever see Hopalong Cassidy And The Sundance Kid? Nanette Newman was great in that. And how about Gunfight At The OK Choral starring the George Mitchell Minstrels. That left a lump in the throat.

TB: Peter Cushing is a good friend of yours, isn’t he?

EM: Correct sunshine. But that’s not to say I like his films. He takes people for suckers. I’ll say this for him though. He does like a part you can get your teeth into. Peter is planning to do a musical version of Dracula with Christopher Lee. It will be called Teeth For Two.

TB: Are you and Ernie planning any more films?

EM: Only if the right vehicle comes along. We recently turned down one idea. It was suggested we do a remake of Bridge Over The River Kwai but because of a low budget it was going to be made in Newcastle. Bridge Over The River Tyne didn’t seems to have quite the same ring about it.

Like all clowns, Ern and I have got a secret yearning to do Hamlet. We played Hamlet once, it finished up Luton 4, Dulwich Hamlet 0.

TB: The Editor has invited us to leave his page Eric. Well, don’t just stand there. Take his money and run. I leave you with this final thought; What do you think of it so far?

EM: (no answer)

© Titbits 1976

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