I just watched Eric and Ernie, the brilliant BBC drama about Britain’s favourite comedy duo, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. It covered their early lives and careers and was the second recent BBC drama to surpass the small screen. I also spotted my home town. Stockport Plaza, the Plaza steps and the Apollo in Ardwick were all used. The writer, Peter Bowker (Blackpool etc), is from Hazel Grove, Stockport. So it was a treat for the North-West.
It also accidentally charted the birth of Vic Reeves as an actor. He played Eric’s father and struggled early on against a brilliant child actor playing young Eric. Vic’s not an actor and he was left looking like Wallace and Gromit in his BBC wardrobe provincial tank top. But then he got the hang of it. The development of Vic the actor seemed to mirror the development of the father. While his mother Sadie pushed Eric in the early years, it was his father who reminded him that he wasn’t cut out for dead end jobs later on. According to the blog, the moment the misery ended for Vic the actor was when he and Victoria Wood (Sadie) were waiting to shoot the prom scene in Morecambe and the rain lifted and the sun shone over the sand. I think it might have been shot in Grange-over-Sands because Morecambe has rain but no sand. Anyway, it’s brilliant.
In catching up with Christmas viewing, Dr Who stood out because so many hated it. I hadn’t watched Matt Smith, and the new writing by Steven Moffat was a surprise. He’s updated the format and A Christmas Carol was decidedly postmodern with its cryogenic beauties, nods towards Dickens and Marilyn Munro references. An extraordinary fairy tale, with sharks in the fog. Be scared, be very scared of the postmodern.