Beating the bongos for books about our comedy legend

Michael Fountain.
Michael Fountain.
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Michael Fountain is one of the few people who can claim to have regularly held Eric Morecambe’s bongos.

His book on being much-loved comedian Eric Morecambe’s chauffeur is being launched at the town library next month.

Michael became the legendary Morecambe comedian’s chauffeur in 1969 shortly after Eric’s first heart attack.

Originally a postman in Harpenden, he took on work as a driver to earn a little extra cash and gained Eric’s trust and respect during an initial BBC-funded first year.

Once that year came to an end Eric offered him a full-time position as his driver, handyman, housesitter and friend.

Becoming Eric’s official chauffeur changed Michael’s life completely. He travelled around the country with the comic and a host of other famous names in the now famous EM100 Rolls Royce, and even helped out in the shows.

Tommy Cooper, Elton John, Fred Trueman and the Duke and Duchess of Kent are just some of the famous people Michael met and drove, all with their own story to tell.

Away from showbusiness, the private life of Eric was very rarely seen by the public but Michael was a close friend and with him until the very end.

Driving Mr Morecambe will be launched at Morecambe Library on November 1 with a talk and book signing session at 2pm. Tickets are available free from the library.

In The Treasures of Morecambe & Wise, Eric’s son, Gary Morecambe, brings together memorabilia from Eric and Ernie’s personal collect ions for the first time.

Gary made some fascinating finds among his dad’s albums and papers and he is the only person to have been granted access to Ernie’s private collection. This allowed him to create an entertaining inside story of arguably the most successful comedy double act of all time.

For more than 40 years Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise lit up the stage and brightened our TV screens.

They were supported by numerous stars from the worlds of acting, music and dance who lined 
up to make cameo appearances in sketches that left audiences doubled over with laughter.

Gary has written a unique and personal account of their lives and comic partnership.

For anyone with fond memories of the one with the glasses and the little one with the short, fat, 
hairy legs, this book – with an introduction by Eric’s widow, Joan Morecambe – will provide hours of delight.

Filled with many rare photographs from their early lives as well as classic images of those magic television performances, The Treasures of Morecambe & Wise features

lNotes written by Eric for a TV performance in America

lErnie’s recollection of their first encounter

lThe speech written 
by Ernie while in Switzerland for the Montreux TV Awards

lThe note drafted by Eric just prior to his first heart operation

lAn extract from Eric’s personal album of stills from The Intelligence Men comedy film.

This Morecambe and Wise gem is published in hardback by Carlton on October 31, priced £29.99.