Morecambe and Wise statue to be unveiled in Blackpool

Eric clasping Ernie
Image caption The sculpture portrays Eric Morecambe hugging Ernie Wise

A statue of comedy legends Morecambe and Wise will be unveiled in their "spiritual home" of Blackpool in October.

It will mark the 75th anniversary of their debut performance as a double act at Liverpool's Empire Theatre in 1941.

The 8ft bronzed sculpture has been designed by Graham Ibbeson, who made the statue of Eric in the comedian's hometown of Morecambe in 1999.

Eric's widow Joan said: "It will be a day that will live with us forever."

Image copyright Graham Ibbeson
Image caption Eric's son Gary and widow Joan will attend the unveiling in October

Speaking on behalf of herself and Wise's widow Doreen, she added: "We never dreamt of seeing a statue unveiled to both Eric and Ernie in Blackpool, a town that we have so many happy memories of from all the many shows the boys performed there over the years."

The comedians appeared in more than 1,000 shows in the seaside town.

Image copyright Blackpool Winter Gardens Trust
Image caption The statue will be located in the foyer of Blackpool Winter Gardens

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ernie and Eric performed six summer seasons in Blackpool
  • The popular double act started their 43-year-long partnership by performing in variety theatres
  • After an unsuccessful TV debut in 1954, they honed their skills on stage before making popular shows on the BBC and ITV
  • Their Christmas specials were a highlight of the festive period, attracting more than 27 million viewers in 1977
  • Guest stars included The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Glenda Jackson, Andr√© Previn and Des O'Connor
  • Eric died in 1984 after a heart attack, while Ernie died in 1999

Mr Ibbeson said: "I am delighted to have brought the boys back together so the nation can see them as they should be - Eric and Ernie alongside one another."

The £75,000 statue, which has been funded by donations, will be unveiled at Blackpool's Winter Gardens on 14 October.

In 2014, the sculpture of Eric in Morecambe was reinstalled after a man tried to saw off one of its legs.

A statue of Ernie was unveiled in his Yorkshire hometown of Morley in 2010.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen unveiled the Eric Morecambe statue in 1999

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