Norwich TV footage reveals Morecambe and Wise 'bored stiff' by Monty Python

Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

Comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. - Credit: PA

A long lost interview from a small Norwich TV station has been unearthed showing Morecambe and Wise saying they were "bored stiff" by Monty Python.

The legendary duo were asked their opinion of the cult comedy ensemble during a 1973 appearance on the campus television station at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Student-run Nexus made its own arts, entertainment, comedy, documentary, drama and news programmes from the late-1960s until 2009, before going online as UEA:TV. 

It was transmitted over a very limited range, though it could be picked up on the TV sets of people living in the Bluebell Road area.

Monty Python team

The Monty Python team doing their famous island sketch on the beach at Winterton in November 1972. - Credit: Alan Howard

Morecambe and Wise, then at the height of their fame with their TV shows seen by more than 20 million viewers a week, were interviewed backstage at Norwich's Theatre Royal during a run of four sold-out shows.

Monty Python, who themselves appeared at the Theatre Royal in 1973, had found fame with their mould-breaking, surreal and subversive Flying Circus TV show.

Rare interview footage of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

Rare interview footage of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise discussing Monty Python back stage at Norwich Theatre Royal. - Credit: Nexus

Eric Morecambe tells the student interviewer Colin Webb, then 25, he finds the ensemble "university comedy... and I'm afraid that a lot of it is very unprofessional".

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He adds: "But what does make me laugh, really makes me laugh. And what doesn't make me laugh bores me stiff!"

Monty Python performing at the UEA in Norwich in 1972.

Monty Python performing at the UEA in Norwich in 1972. - Credit: Archant

While insisting he likes Monty Python, Ernie Wise says he finds their sketches contained "five or six minutes of utter boredom".

"And then there's three minutes of very funny and then another eight minutes of boredom," he added.

Shown the footage by the BBC, Monty Python member Sir Michael Palin said he had found it intriguing. 

"It didn't seem particularly savage - but on the other hand, it was very clear what they felt," he said.

Michael Palin

Michael Palin said he was "intrigued" by rare footage Morecambe and Wise discussing Monty Python. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The generational comedy clash was found during the making of a BBC Radio Norfolk documentary, Nexus: Norfolk's Forgotten TV Station, to be broadcast at 1pm on August 30.

It was held on a Nexus VHS tape that former station member Paul Hayes, now a BBC radio producer, copied and digitised.

Vicious Rumours filming at Nexus TV in 1981

Vicious Rumours filming at Nexus TV in 1981 - Credit: UEATV

Mr Webb went on to work in publishing and on a book with Morecambe and Wise. He told the BBC he was "delighted" the footage of their first meeting had been found.

John Cleese filming Monty Python i9n Norwich.

'And now for something completely different...': John Cleese films one of the famous opening sequences for Monty Python's Flying Circus at the Norwich Castle mound on in 1971. - Credit: Archant