If you are of a certain age, and from certain parts of the world, Christmastime means Morecambe & Wise on the television. Even though it’s almost 30 years since Eric Morecambe died, their BBC shows from the 1970s remain a high watermark in television comedy. Looking at the tv listings for this week in 2013, there are three different Morecambe & Wise compilation shows on the BBC.
I recently read Little Ern, by James Hogg, a biography of Ernie Wise. As an emergency medicine doctor, the moments that stuck out for me were those recounting Eric Morecambe’s heart troubles.
Eric Morecambe had his first heart attack in 1968. He began to feel unwell during a week-long live engagement, which worsened as he drove to his hotel after a show. Unable to continue, he had to stop and get a passerby to take him in his car to the nearest hospital. According to the bio, he checked in to the hospital, was confirmed to be having a heart attack, and then… nothing happened.