Morcambe, Wise and Mr Preview

Rerun: Oscar-winning conductor André Previn was an unlikely choice of celebrity guest for the Christmas special of ‘The Morcambe and Wise Show’ recorded on 7th December, 1971 - but the 13-minute sketch they taped together remains one of Britain’s all-time favourites.

The music hall-style caper - which revolves around a comically catastrophic interpretation of Grieg’s Piano Concerto - was actually a reversion of a sketch Eric and Ernie had performed at least twice before, but never with a guest performer.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Mia Farrow helped Previn nail his role in this iconic skit; explore whether the duo’s comic schtick was truly as ‘classless’ as is often claimed; and reflect on whether ‘Mr Preview’ really knew what he was letting himself in for…

Further Reading:

• André Previn on ‘The Morcambe and Wise Show’ (BBC, 1971):

• 'Make any fool of me you like, but I won’t have you make fun of the music’ - André Previn at 80 (Classic FM, 2018):

• ‘The Prelude of Mr Preview: How André Previn won over Morecambe & Wise’ (British Comedy Guide, 2020):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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