Eric Morecambe’s family Christmas

Picture by Julian Brown for The LEP 11/12/14''Eric Morecambe's family before the  Eric Morecambe statue's return to Morecambe. Pictured centre left, widow Joan, sons Steven and Gary and daughter Gail (Morecambe)
Picture by Julian Brown for The LEP 11/12/14''Eric Morecambe's family before the Eric Morecambe statue's return to Morecambe. Pictured centre left, widow Joan, sons Steven and Gary and daughter Gail (Morecambe)

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Morecambe and Wise on the television. But while millions of us spend the festive season watching Morecambe’s favourite son, how will Eric Morecambe’s family spend December 25?

This year the great man’s widow Joan, sons Gary and Steven, and daughter Gail will be spending Christmas together for the first time in many years.

It will be a chance to reflect on what has been quite a year for the Morecambe family.

Back in May, Gail accepted The Visitor’s Sunshine Ambassador award on behalf of her dad in a ceremony at the Midland hotel, in this the 30th year since his untimely death.

Then in October the family was stunned by news of the attack on the Eric Morecambe statue, which led to repairs and its absence from the seafront for two long months.

Speaking on the day they visited Morecambe to view the repaired statue, Eric’s family revealed they were looking forward to relaxing after the tumultuous 12 months.

“On Christmas Day for the first time in a long time we’re all together for Christmas lunch,” said Gail.“There will be eight of us. We’ll go out for a meal then all back to mum’s in Harpenden (Hertfordshire).”

Joan, 87, said: “We’ll have to think about Boxing Day though. What will we eat? There won’t be any leftovers!”

Gary then quipped with a twinkle in his eye: “We’ll all have to eat crisps!”

The family will also have the chance to watch Eric on television with BBC, ITV and Channel 5 all planning Morecambe Wise programmes over the festive period. A repeat of a live Eric and Ernie show recorded at Croydon in 1973 will be aired. And Joan expects there will also be a last minute decision to air a classic Morecambe and Wise Christmas specials.

She said: “They invariably do it because Morecambe and Wise is a part of Christmas.”

Morecambe and Wise In Pieces will air on BBC2 on Christmas Day at 6.15pm, hosted by Penelope Keith who trawls the archives for classic clips of the comic pair in some of their most famous sketches.

This is the last of a five-part series.

The live show from the Ashcroft Theatre at Fairfield Halls in Croydon in 1973 will be shown on Boxing Day at 8pm on Channel 5. It was the only live Eric and Ernie show ever filmed in its entirety and first aired in April, closing with the signature tune ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.