Morecambe and Wise almost split

Ernie's letter reveals all

Ernie Wise wanted to break up his partnership with Eric Morecambe before they hit the big time, fearing their act had lost its ‘zip’, a newly discovered letter has revealed.

The two-page note, signed ‘your best pal’ was written around 1950, when they had been touring the variety circuit as a double act foe about a decade.

It said: 'Well Eric, I want to get straight to the point. I want us to break up the act I’m afraid it won’t work.

‘I have such a terrific amount of animosity to put up with at home. I feel it would be better if we parted. I know that this will be quite a shock to you but I had to come to some decision.

‘I can't go on as things are. I'm not satisfied with my work. I have lost a lot of zip…’

The letter was discovered by Eric's son Gary as he researched a new book about his father, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.

He said: ‘My father’s response was to write straight back, basically saying he’d never heard such rubbish in his life and hat Ernie should have a few days’ rest to get over it and they should get back to finding some work – which is exactly what happened.’

But it took nearly 20 more years for them to land the BBC show that propelled them from theatre stars to national treasures

Gary says he knew of the letter since the Seventies, but only found out it still existed when researching the new book, and persuaded his mother Joan to allow its publication.

You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone – Gary’s third book about his father – was written to mark the 25th anniversary of his father's death, and is out this Thursday. Click here to buy from Amazon.

Published: 12 Oct 2009

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