DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson is to play the part of scriptwriter Eddie Braben, the genius writer behind Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, in a brand new drama biopic, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
He will star in the BBC film, Eric, Ernie & Me, which will also see Catastrophe and Apple Tree Yard star Mark Bonnar play Eric Morecambe, with Neil Maskell (Humans, Utopia) taking on the part of Ernie Wise.
The BBC4 film, which is likely to air this Christmas, will focus on Braben’s attempt to reshape the double act into the Eric and Ernie phenomenon that the nation took to its heart. Starting as a gag writer for Ken Dodd, Braben was hired in the late 1960s to write for Morecambe and Wise by then head of BBC light entertainment Bill Cotton.
The action will reflect the pressure and pain he went through to help create the screen work of Britain’s most beloved double act and will culminate in their iconic 1977 Christmas Show.
The broadcast, know for the chorus line of male BBC presenters such as Michael Aspel and Barry Norman singing There’s Nothing Like a Dame, was watched by more than 28 million viewers, making it one of the 25 all-time most watched programmes on British television.
Directed by the Bafta Award-winning Dan Zeff and written by Neil Forsyth, Eric, Ernie & Me also sees Rufus Jones (Stan and Olly, W1A) play the double act’s long term producer John Ammonds.
Alexander Macqueen (Peaky Blinders, Hunderby) plays Bill Cotton and Liz White (Ackley Bridge, Our Zoo) takes on the role of Braben’s wife Deirdre.
Tompkinson said: “Thanks to Eddie Braben, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise became the most beloved comedy double act since Laurel & Hardy. The intimate utopia Eddie created for the boys has left us with everlasting joy and sunshine.
“To be able to tell this beautifully crafted piece by Neil is a rarity that reminds us how lucky we were that these three gentlemen bonded together and the efforts that went behind holding generations eternally grateful. For this project to have the blessings of the Braben, Morecambe and Wise families, makes us constantly aware of what an honour it is to portray these comedic legends.”
The drama will be produced by Objective, the production company behind hits including Fresh Meat, Toast of London and Peep Show.