I just watched Miranda Hart’s film, ‘My Hero’, about her comedy idol, Eric Morecambe, and found it incredibly moving.
Their head writer, Eddie Braben, said the key word that described their act was ‘innocence’. Their comedy took us into a world of laughter and child-like gags that never lost their charm no matter how many times you saw them. Every Christmas we watched their shows, and then watch them again, every time they were repeated. We grew up on ‘Morecambe and Wise’.
It is considered proper to grow up gracefully and leave behind such childish things. Yet in performers we cherish that refusal to grow up and play ball, the wilful retention of innocence. They are the keepers of our own innocence and so we let them play it out one more time for us.
I watched ‘Morecambe and Wise’ with my mother the Christmas she was diagnosed with cancer. When we first heard we walked out of the hospital and across the road to a service station where we bought a large bottle of gin. The following weekend was Christmas and neither of us wanted to celebrate. But for an hour, the hour when we watched ‘Morecambe and Wise’, we forgot she was ill and could relax and have fun together.
As the BBC TV Centre closes, an era is over. The studios will be closed or hired out piecemeal. The bars and canteens where my mum, as a young actress, used to spot stars like Eric Morecambe and Christopher Plummer, will be empty.
But I hope the innocence lives on.
What were your favourite TV shows growing up? Leave a comment below or find me @emlin32 on Twitter.