Two Of A Kind Series 1 DVD

Sunday, 09 October 2011 18:54

There has been some, shall we say, ‘historical revisionism’ concerning Morecambe & Wise. Many forget that their first TV series was actually with the BBC, a disastrous format called Running Wild in 1954, which failed to build on their established live variety act, instead giving them material that simply just wasn’t them. They’d been a duo since 1941, and it took until 1962 for impresario Bernard Delfont to realise it was time to give them another chance on the telly.

Selling the idea to his brother Lew Grade, Delfont got the show made by ATV with the title Two of a Kind. Writers Dick Hills and Sid Green were brought in, fresh from having broken the mould with their work with Anthony Newley on The Strange World of Gurney Slade. The quartet hit it off, the writers even joining in with some of the sketches, and the portents of things to come were established in their first series, out now on DVD.

Morecambe & Wise - Two Of A KInd on DVDMany argue that Morecambe & Wise wouldn’t truly blossom until Eddie Braben took over their writing chores. However, Hills and Green were involved in the writing of the three motion pictures made by the duo in the 1960s (“The Intelligence Men (1965), “That Riviera Touch” (1966), and “The Magnificent Two” (1967)). If you’ve ever seen those movies you’ll know that they contain the classic Morecambe & Wise attitude to their interaction and the style of material they performed, so this release of the first series of Two of a Kind will be something of a game-changer - in terms of who was responsible for helping set the style of the duo.

The act is already well formed - mildly anarchic humour, an impeccable sense of timing and a keen eye for the absurd. These thirteen classic shows appear complete and uncut on this DVD, each starting off with a spoof of another TV show (including the likes of Dixon of Dock Green, The Flintstones, 77 Sunset Strip, Naked City, Z Cars and even Supercar, with Ernie as Mike Mercury and Eric as Mitch the Monkey). As it’s very much a variety show, you also get two music acts per half hour, including the likes of Acker Bilk and The Beverley Sisters.

They reveal their keen appreciation of Shakespeare by enacting the Brutus and Cassius quarrel in “Julius Caesar”, and, in a nod to contemporary theatrical trends, Cleopatra’s death scene is played in modern dress. To clear up any possible confusion, there’s even a sketch to help viewers remember which one is which, echoing the problems people now have with Ant and Dec!


There is a saying that the memory cheats, but in the case of Two Of A Kind it’s a situation where people have forgotten how much of a template, for what was to come, this was for the work of Morecambe & Wise. Previously released in compilation formats in the 1990s on VHS, it’s good to see the shows in the form as they were originally intended.

If you like the duo, or have relations who do, provided they don’t have a demented bias against monochrome and video recordings of a 1960s pedigree, then this will make an excellent stocking filler. There are some sound glitches along the way, but none that are truly deal breakers. By the way, aside from the 13 episodes, you also get an extensive stills gallery from not only this series, but also from early ATV material featuring the duo, including Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Morecambe & Wise – Two Of A Kind – The Complete First Series is out now as a two DVD set from Network DVD. It has a running time of 325 minutes approx, a ‘PG’ certificate, and a RRP of £19.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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