WAHEY! Fact and fiction collide in a burst of sunshine at the Assembly Hall this year, where actor Bob Golding brings to life one of Britain's best-loved comics in his new one-man show, Morecambe, a journey into the life of Eric Morecambe.
"I have always been a huge fan of Morecambe and Wise," says Golding, "and one of the great things about doing this play has been the reaction. Everyone has reacted with a big broad grin.
"Eric and Ernie reached such a huge section of the community with their affectionate accessible silliness, and let's face it nobody does silly better than the Brits. We all have an uncle or a mad aunt or indeed a parent who has made us laugh with that ability, and sitting at the top of the silly tree are Morecambe and Wise."
While many of the events and characters described in the play are real, Morecambe is a fictional account of the life of 'the tall one with glasses', still, researching the role has given Golding a unique insight into the comedy hero.
"With the research Tim Whitnall, the playwright, and I have done over the last year it's become more and more apparent that the Eric we all saw on television was very close to the man off screen. He was the eternal entertainer. 'Always On' was an expression we kept reading or hearing from people who knew him. He certainly worked very hard. He and Ernie rehearsed everything over and over until a routine was deep rooted, and if there is anything we discovered about him off-stage it was that he really did take comedy very seriously."
It is now 25 years since Morecambe died. "It's a huge honour to play Eric," adds Golding.
"He reached many people and generations, so getting it right is obviously a big concern, but I think it's important to say that my performance is not meant as an impersonation, it's a simple tale about a simple man who affected millions of people. My responsibility is that of an actor – to tell the story and hopefully evoke some kind of a reaction from an audience, be it affection or laughter.
"Eric had something very special, he had that ability to mix sincerity with buffoonery – the ultimate jester. Once I'm on stage I will work my socks off to make sure I deliver and if I can capture a tiny piece of Eric Morecambe in that time I'll be over the moon."
Morecambe, Rainy Hall, Assembly Hall @ The Mound, until 31 August (not 17), 4.10pm, 8-15, 0131-623 3030
Win M&W 6 DVD
THE GUIDE has teamed up with 2/entertain to give you the chance to relive your memories of the UK's best loved double-act with the DVD release of The Morecambe and Wise Show Series 6.
The Morecambe and Wise Show was one of the most popular TV series ever and represented the comic duo at the height of their powers. With their sketches, musical numbers and magical tomfoolery, they would captivate an audience of millions.
This series features some classic sketches, including Gardener's Wild with Percy Thrower; Ernie Spots the Ball Every Sunday; Eric's dog Brutus; Eric and Ernie as backing singers ("Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!") to Tom Jones and John Mills donning a kilt for his part in Escape From Stalag 54.
A host of other fantastic calibre guests starred including Cilla Black, Glenda Jackson, Michael Parkinson, Vera Lynn, Shirley Bassey and Andre Previn.
The Morecambe and Wise Show Series 6 (PG) is now available on DVD (15.99)