Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Ernie Wise statue is unveiled

A statue of Ernie Wise has been unveiled in Morley, Leeds

The widow of Ernie Wise, one half of one of Britain's best-loved comedy double acts, celebrated the unveiling of his statue with an imitation of the pair's trademark dance.

Doreen Wiseman officially unveiled the statue in Morley, Leeds - where her late husband won a talent contest in 1936 before going onto worldwide fame with comic partner Eric Morecambe.

As she pulled the cover from the 7ft stone statue of Leeds-born Wise, Mrs Wiseman blew a kiss before briefly performing the famous Bring Me Sunshine dance.

She said the statue, carved by local sculptor Melanie Wilks, was "great" and that it was appropriate that the sun shone for the unveiling.

"Ernie wouldn't have his statue unveiled on a dull day," she told BBC Look North.

Speaking about what her late husband's reaction to the statue would've been, she said: "He would have said, 'Oh my God, have I got to walk past that every day?'."

Mrs Wiseman, who funded the statue, described Ms Wilks as a "miracle worker with her chisel" for creating the likeness from a six-ton block of stone.

The statue shows the comedian with a furled umbrella and straw boater, in reference to the Bring Me Sunshine routine and the Singin' In The Rain dance sequence he performed on the Morecambe And Wise show.

Morecambe and Wise were the comic superstars for a generation, with their gags about Wise's "short fat hairy legs", castigation of Des O'Connor and the long-running sketches about Wise's efforts to write a play. Their Christmas specials went on to pull in up to 28 million people.

Their TV shows continued until the early 1980s but were ended by Morecambe's death in 1984. Wise died in 1999.