Bristol locations provide period backdrop for Eric and Ernie TV drama
A one-off BBC Four programme celebrating Eddie Braben, the comedy scriptwriter behind the success of Morecambe and Wise, has been filming at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios and on location across the city.
For more than a decade, Braben penned Morecambe and Wise’s material, reshaping the pair into the iconic double act of Eric and Ernie that the nation took to its heart.
The one-hour film celebrates Braben as the man behind the duo’s greatest successes, culminating in their iconic 1977 Christmas Show. But it also depicts the pressure and pain he went through to help create the screen work of Britain’s most beloved double act.
The two-week shoot has been taking place on sets built in 8,000 sq ft of space in The Bottle Yard’s Studio 6. Bristol Film Office also assisted the production team with sourcing a host of locations, setting up recces and unit bases to fit in with the 60s and 70s period.
Locations included Colston Hall, Mariners Drive in Stoke Bishop, Thingwall Park in Fishponds, The Wills Building in Bedminster, St Annes Board Mills Social Club in Redfield, Brislington United Reformed Church and Filwood Community Centre in Knowle West.
Producer Alison Sterling said: “The presence of The Bottle Yard as a filming resource in Bristol has been an enormous boon to the local film industry. There is a thriving network of really high-quality crew in the region which is helping us in the making of Eric Ernie and Me.
“Nearly all our crew and equipment are based in the Bristol region and we are delighted also to be able to use locations in the communities of Filwood, Brislington and St Annes. All the residents have been exceptionally welcoming.”
Natalie Moore of Bristol Film Office said: “What could be more intriguing than a look at the relationship behind the success of the nation’s favourite double act?
“We’ve helped line up a variety of locations for this shoot and it’s fantastic to see the many sides of Bristol, from residential Knowle West to the iconic Colston Hall, portraying a 60s and 70s period British setting for a story about one of the most popular comedy duos of all time.”
Stephen Tompkinson, star of DCI Banks, will play Eddie while Eric Morecambe will be played by Mark Bonnar and Neil Maskell takes the part of Ernie Wise.
Bottle Yard Studios director Fiona Francombe said: “We’re very excited to host this excellent new BBC Four film, featuring such a strong cast headed up by the talented Stephen – great to have him back on site after he filmed Trollied here previously.
“We’re equally pleased to see Alison return to the studios after she produced Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s Flying Blind here in 2012 and line produced Claire Downes’ We Can Be Heroes here last year.
“It’s always a joy to see cast and crew returning to work on new projects that can also benefit from strong support provided by our city’s Film Office for location filming.”
No broadcast date has yet been announced for Eric, Ernie & Me but it is expected to be screened around Christmas.
Other productions recently filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios and across Bristol include BBC One’s Poldark and Three Girls, BBC Two’s Ill Behaviour and ITV’s Broadchurch.
Pictured, top: Neil Maskell, Stephen Tompkinson and Mark Bonnar in Eric, Ernie and Me. Image courtesy BBC Objective Fiction/Natalie Moore
Bottom: Alexander Macqueen, Mark Bonnar, Stephen Tompkinson, Neil Maskell and Rufus Jones. Image courtesy BBC Objective Fiction/Natalie Moore