Eric & Ern take to the stage at Margate’s Theatre Royal

Eric & Ern Photo by Paul Coltas

Critically acclaimed and Olivier Award-nominated for their uncanny portrayal of the comedy duo, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens bring Eric & Ern to the Theatre Royal tomorrow (February 26).

Crammed full of renditions of famous comedy sketches, and coupled with contemporary references in their unique style, the show evokes memories of times when whole families would huddle around the telly on Sunday evenings to share in the much-loved antics of Britain’s national treasures.

As seen on BBC One’s ‘The One Show’ and ITV1’s ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’, the performances contain some of the first new writing in the style of Morecambe & Wise material in over 30 years.

Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens have been performing and writing as Eric and Ern for more than five years. The performers themselves have a wonderful relationship with the families and estates of Morecambe & Wise – with all scripts given the families’ seal of approval before being performed.

“I have been fascinated with Eric Morecambe for as long as I can remember,”said  Jonty. “I took on his persona at school and it never really left me. He was the funniest and loveliest of men. We both feel it’s a privilege to play Eric and Ernie and some people have said it’s like we’re channelling them – some nights it does feel like that.”

Photo by Paul Coltas

Ian said: “We do treasure the relationship we have with each other – as did Eric and Ernie – and I think it’s obvious that we love performing the comedy of Morecambe and Wise.”

Ian and Jonty met at drama school over 30 years ago and continued their friendship playing golf together at The Stage Golf Society in Richmond. When Jonty was asked to play Eric at a charity show he knew that with his short fat hairy legs Ian would be the perfect Ernie Wise. Having brought the house down the two then wrote some ‘bespoke’ material for their friends at the golf club.

It was these performances which set them off on an incredible journey, with rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an acclaimed West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre, and an Olivier Award nomination for ‘the play wot we wrote’ – ‘Eric and Little Ern’.

Jonty said: “More importantly, the audiences love watching it – which is always handy. But it’s more than just watching a comedy show – there’s a real emotional connection, because we all remember watching it together. The audience reaction has been amazing.”

Curtain up for Eric & Ern at the Theatre Royal is 7.30pm.

Some tickets are still available.

Full Price: £22.50, Restricted View: £17.50, Groups: Buy 10 get 11th free, Booking Fee: £2 per ticket

Book on the MargateLive website here


  1. i always thought the real ones were rubbish , and that they would never get away with that nonsense today – then this turns up = its a great big NO from me.

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