Vic Reeves to star in Eric Morecambe drama

More casting details revealed

Vic Reeves, has been cast in the new BBC drama about Eric Morecambe’s early years – playing the comedian’s father George.

The newly-announced cast also includes stand-up comedian Daniel Rigby as a young Morecambe; as well as the League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith as Ernie Wise's dad.

They join Victoria Wood as Sadie – Morecambe’s determined mother, whose single-mindedness helped him forge a career as a children’s entertainer on the variety circuit.

The new film, sanction by the families of both Morecambe and Wise, covers the period 1930 to 1954, when their first television series Running Wild was slammed by critics.

Wood, who also came up with the idea for the programme, said: 'The casting has been a marathon. Because our story spans 20 years we have had to find three actors for each part – to play the comedians as children, teenagers and men. We were looking for a specific Eric or Ernie quality at each age and, once we found it, the rest was up to the make-up department to match their hair and eye colour.'

'Sadie did originally encourage Eric to become a performer as she felt he would not be happy in an ordinary job, and she also spotted the potential in him teaming up with Ernie.

'But the drama also focuses on the strength of the bond between the two men, which enabled them to overcome the flop that was their first foray into television.'

'We toyed with the idea of using puppets to play the young Eric and Ernie, but, in the end, sanity prevailed and we have our three Erics and three Ernies of different ages. We could only run to one Sadie, however, so I am hoping to show the passage of time by smiling a lot when Sadie is young, then wearing a different coat.'

Gary Morecambe, Eric's son, said: 'It's such a genuine thrill to see a film about the early days of Morecambe and Wise being helmed by someone of the calibre of Victoria Wood. It is the greatest possible tribute to the double act.'

BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow added: 'The casting of so many brilliantly and naturally funny people in these roles is a truly fitting way to celebrate the lives and careers of two of Britain's best-loved comedy superstars.'

The cast of Morecambe & Wise, which was written by Peter Bowker, also includes Bryan Dick as Ernie Wiseand Eastender's Emer Kenny as Eric's wife Joan.

Published: 9 Sep 2010

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