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Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK


Morecambe's memorial to Eric

Comedy legends: Morecambe and Wise at their peak

The Queen is to unveil a statue of Eric Morecambe in the resort from which the comedy legend took his name.

Celebrity guests from Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise's legendary TV shows will be among the stars at the ceremony in Morecambe, Lancashire, next month.

Presenter Angela Rippon, actors Frank Finlay and Sir Nigel Hawthorne, and political commentator Sir Robin Day will recall their own memories of the comedy duo on 23 July.

The four were guests during the heyday of The Morecambe and Wise Show in the '70s and '80s.

[ image: Former guest star: Sir Nigel Hawthorne]
Former guest star: Sir Nigel Hawthorne
Former BBC newsreader Angela Rippon famously displayed her legs in a high-kicking dance routine in the 1976 Christmas special, while Frank Finlay and Sir Nigel Hawthorne featured in Little Ern's plays "Wot I wrote".

Morecambe, whose real name was John Eric Bartholomew, died in 1984 aged 57. His partner Ernie Wise passed away in May this year, aged 73.

Sir Robin Day said: "Eric was a supreme master of comedy. It is a great honour for me to have been invited to the unveiling of Eric's statue.

"I loved my several appearances on the Morecambe and Wise show. They beat me about the head with bottles."

The larger-than-life bronze statue is the work of Barnsley sculptor Graham Ibbeson and will take pride of place on Morecambe's refurbished promenade.

It was commissioned by Lancaster City Council after a campaign in the town to remember its most famous son.

Speaking earlier this year, Mr Ibbeson - a big fan of Morecambe and his partner Ernie Wise - said: 'Let's face it, every adult in the country knows what Eric looked like and each one has his or own personal memory of one of Eric's many facial expressions."

Last month, Morecambe and Wise were given postumous fellowships at the British Academy Television Awards.

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