Beware! This question is HIGHLY controversial. Does anyone share my dislike for Morcambe & Wise?
They were among the most successful of all British comedy duos, and their series still sell steadily on dvd. Yet I disliked them when they were current, and dislike them still. Almost all their material depended on cruelty and unfairness, usually with Ernie as victim, and in so far as it was intended to amuse, it was (to my mind) a celebration of those things. 'Well, it was art, not reality! ' you might say, and that I must concede - mainly.
In one important aspect, it was DEAD real. One of the running gags was a man who comes on with a harmonica, hoping to play, and is told, 'Not now, Arthur.' Then, at the very end of the show, he comes on again and plays for about a second, before being cut off.
Now, the harmonica is not one of the more highly regarded musical instruments. A number of pieces have been written for it, usually concerti for harmonica and small orchestra, and in many cases commissioned works for Larry Adler or Tom Reilly. But it has never been seen as a 'serious' instrument, like violin, French horn, piano or clarinet. It was therefore easy meat for a cheap jibe.
So was the player, Arthur Tolcher. He was, in fact, one of the top virtuosos in the country, and had at one time made a good living playing it in variety. But as variety waned, so did his income, and he was, by then, reduced to accepting payment for being humiliated on TV. Well, one must live, and I suppose he was glad of the work. One thinks of an ageing prostitute, who had once got good money for straight sex, but must now suffer ill-treatment on the nastier sort of porn videos.
I thnk the continued popularity of Morecambe & Wise reflects something deeply unpleasant in the British psyche. Does anyone feel like defending them?Answer this Follow this