Lost Morecambe and Wise tapes unearthed

R4 to air unheard footage from the Fifties

A collection of previously unheard Morecambe and Wise recordings has been unearthed in a garage.

The tapes were discovered by Ernie’s widow Doreen when she moved home six months ago.

The material – on acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes – dates from the Fifties. Several of the recordings also feature Bob Monkhouse and Harry Secombe.

About 45 hours of material was found, including the long-lost 1954 radio series You’re Only Young Once, the pair’s first BBC show.

Audio from the pilot for their ATV series was also found as well as master copies of songs, after-dinner speeches and tapes of their end-of-the pier shows.

Corporation experts were able to restore some – but not all – of the ancient recordings, and highlights are set to be broadcast on Radio 4.

‘It is good stuff that’s never been heard before and raw stuff from the early Fifties,’ said Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer.

‘Some of the sketches were remade for the Seventies. There was a famous Dick Turpin sketch with double entendres which started out in ’53 or ’54 and ended up on TV in around 1975. They are both a bit of comedy history and entertaining in themselves.’

An hour-long collection of highlights, Morecambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes, will air on May 4, presented by Jon Culshaw.

Published: 18 Feb 2010

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