Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise: perhaps Britain’s most iconic double-act, a duo responsible for the most memorable comedy sketches ever. However, you might not be able to recall the name of Eddie Braben, the genius gag writer behind many of Morecambe and Wise’s funniest shows – including their 1977 Christmas special, which brought in 27 million viewers.
The real Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise
Now, Braben’s contribution to one of the most acclaimed comedies of the century is being highlighted in a new dramatisation.
Here’s everything you need to know about the cast…
Stephen Tompkinson plays Eddie Braben
Who is Stephen Tompkinson?
Best known for playing Alan Banks in DCI Banks, he’s familiar to many as Damien Day in Drop the Dead Donkey and Danny Trevanion in Wild at Heart. You may also recognise Tompkinson as pharmacist Brian from Sky sitcom Trollied.
Mark Bonnar plays Eric Morecambe
Considered by many to be one of Britain’s greatest comic talents ever, Eric Morecambe (real name John Eric Bartholomew) was the aggressive, knockabout comedian to Ernie Wise’s straight man act.
Despite his energetic stage presence, Morecambe suffered from health problems throughout his life. In 1968, the 42-year-old Morecambe suffered his first heart attack as he was driving back from a show to his hotel. This prompted Morecambe to quit his 40-a-day cigarette habit in favour of a pipe.
However, he suffered a second heart attack in 1979 and in 1983 died from a third and final attack shortly after coming off stage.
Who is Mark Bonnar?
A big name in the world of TV drama and comedy, Bonnar has starred in Line of Duty (as Mike Dryden), Casualty (Bruno Jenkins), Psychoville (Detective Finney), the Porridge remake (Officer Meekie), Apple Tree Yard (Gary Carmichael) and Catastrophe (Chris).
Neil Maskell plays Ernie Wise
Although preferred to be called the ‘song and dance man’ of the duo, Ernie Wise was often seen as the ‘straight man’ of Morecambe and Wise. He was also known for performing amateurishly plays “wot I wrote” in the Christmas specials, which became a highlight for many viewers.
Who is Neil Maskell?
Maskell has made his name playing hitmen and hardmen in films like Kill List and series like Channel 4’s Utopia, though he’s also cropped up in comedies like Raised by Wolves and The Mimic. He also appeared in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Liz White plays Deidree Braben
The ever-encouraging second wife of Eddie, Deidree supported her husband as his comedy work started to take its toll.
Who is Liz White?
White is probably best known for playing Annie Catwright in Life on Mars, but you might also have spotted her in Teachers, Doctor Who, Our Zoo, Granchester and as the titular Woman in Black in the 2012 film.