Wahey! – it’s Eric

Bob Golding as Eric Morecambe
Bob Golding as Eric Morecambe

For as long as he can remember, people have told Bob Golding that there was a touch of Eric Morecambe about him.

So he decided to channel that into a show about the comic, Morecambe, which comes to the Lyceum next week.

“It’s a whistlestop tour of Eric’s life starting from humble beginnings as a young lad entertaining at kids shows, meeting Ernie and forming a double act that lasted 43 years, and all the ups and downs in between,” he explains.

“His health was a big part of how he lived his life right up to his death 30 years ago in May.”

Written by Tim Whitnall, it is a one-man show in which the actor not only plays and I play lots of other people as well - including Ernie, Eric’s wife Joan, other acts.

“The first half of the show is telling the audience things perhaps they didn’t know from the early days and then the second half is giving them what they already know about Eric with nods to some of the big hits,” says Golding.

“I get asked what’s the dark side of Eric Morecambe and honestly there wasn’t one.”

Such a demanding requirement for an actor must have seemed quite daunting.”For me the main worries when we did it first five years ago was the technical stuff, not so much the 60 pages of monologue but the 280 sound cues and all the props and costume changes.”

Having “a touch of Eric Morecambe” about him is one thing, he needed to take his impersonation to a higher level. “I listened quite a lot to radio recordings from the early days to get his voice right. There’s a very precise rhythm to his voice. I had a lot of fun listening to that. His voice is amazing.”

And he has convinced the section of the audience who matter most. “The family have been supportive,” he reports. “Gail his daughter held my hand - literally - during the Q & A at Tewkesbury, the theatre where he had his fatal heart attack, which couldn’t have been easy for her to do.

“His son Gary has come on board as a producer for this tour and has become a friend.”

This is a new production directed by Paul Hendy who is responsible for panto at the Lyceum every year. “We are taking it to a new level like the music which is by the 78RPM big band recorded live. It’s mentally and physically demanding, there’s more stuff for me to take on.”

Bob Golding is an experienced voiceover artist, especially on children’s television where his is the voice of Milo and Max on the Tweenies, PC Plod and Whizz in Noddy in Toyland on Five, Dennis and Gnasher on CBBC), and Dinopaws, a new CBeebies cartoon about three baby dinosaurs.

“Students are really impressed if they hear I do Milo and Max. They remember it from when they were kids, it’s a post-irony thing, I guess.”

Morecambe is at the Lyceum Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday.