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Did weekly paper inspire comedian’s name change?

A weekly newspaper has been featured in a BBC drama which suggested it may have inspired the name change of one of Britain’s best loved comedians.

The Morecambe Visitor appeared in BBC2 drama Eric and Ernie which was shown on New Year’s Day, with the drama claiming the paper may have been behind Eric Morecambe taking on the stage name of his home town instead of the surname Bartholomew.

In a scene from the drama, Eric’s mother Sadie holds up a wartime copy of the paper when she is considering a new stage name for her son, leading to her husband joking that she wants to call him Eric Visitor.

But the paper says it does not believe it was actually the inspiration for the name change, instead saying it was suggested by an American singer, as books on the life of Morecambe and Wise have reported.

Chief reporter Greg Lambert, in a review of the TV programme, writes: “Eric Morecambe took his name from The Visitor – or at least according to a BBC2 drama depicting the early life of Morecambe and Wise.

“In a scene from Eric and Ernie shown at 9pm on New Year’s Day, Victoria Wood (Eric’s mother Sadie) had a flash of inspiration to change her son’s stage name when picking up a wartime copy of The Morecambe Visitor.

“At this, her husband George (Vic Reeves) quipped: ‘You want to call him Eric Visitor?’ But in reality, we don’t think this conversation ever happened.

“According to books on the life of Morecambe and Wise, Eric Bartholomew took the name of his home town on the advice of an American singer when they appeared on the same bill in 1941.”

He added the drama was a ‘great advert’ for Morecambe, with some of the scenes filmed at the town’s Winter Gardens and others shot at the local seafront.

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  • January 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Erics name change came bout from a conversation with a singer called Adelaide Hall in Nottingham. Sadie did not think that Bartholomew worked as a name. Adelaides husband, Bert Hicks, overheard the conversation. He mentioned his friend had changed his name to his birthplace, Rochester. He asked where Eric was born… the rest is history. Eric recounts this story on, I believe, an episode of Pebble Mill.

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