At the opening of this charming one hour special Jonathan Ross describes the discovery of a lost Morecambe and Wise episode as something akin to Indiana Jones finding the Holy Grail. Well, let’s not overdo it, Wossy, but it is a fabulous blast from the comic past.
The discovery by Morecambe’s son of a lost tape in the family’s attic has given ITV the excuse to cobble together some classic Eric and Ernie routines – even Judy Dench shows up in one of them – alongside celebrity commentators and a smattering of “new” material. And it all makes for a wonderful hour of telly.
Whilst the familiar sketches are all laugh-out-loud, inevitably some of the rediscovered material is mixed. Must couldn’t resist a chortle at the hospital sketch though, with Eric visiting Ernie and asking the hair-raising: “Who goes there, friend or enema?”
In The Telegraph, Anita Singh reckons “The bits of the programme in which celebrity fans watched these sketches occasionally felt a bit forced. But you could forgive that, and just enjoy the classic moments.” And she concludes that the programme made “no attempt to find dark secrets, but [is] simply a celebration of great comedy.” The Scotsman’s Aidan Smith described the programme as “one for the completists” but enjoyed that it “was fleshed out with properly classic goofery alongside Shirley Bassey, Des O’Connor, Glenda Jackson and Andre Previn.”