THE widow of one half of one of Britain’s best-loved comedy double acts celebrated the unveiling of his statue today with an imitation of the pair’s trademark dance routine.
The sun came out this morning as Doreen Wiseman officially unveiled the statue of her late husband Ernie Wise in Morley, Leeds - where he won a talent contest in 1936 before going on to worldwide fame with comic partner Eric Morecambe.
As she pulled the cover from the 7ft stone statue of Leeds-born Wise, Mrs Wiseman blew a kiss before briefly performing the famous Bring Me Sunshine dance.
Mrs Wiseman said she thought the statue, which was carved by local sculptor Melanie Wilks, was "great" and said it was appropriate that the sun shone for the unveiling.
"Ernie wouldn’t have his statue unveiled on a dull day," she told BBC Look North.
Speaking about what her late husband’s reaction to the statue would have been, she said: "He would have said, ’Oh my God, have I got to walk past that every day?’."
Mrs Wiseman, who funded the statue, described sculptor Ms Wilks as a "miracle worker with her chisel" for creating the likeness of Wise from a six-ton block of stone.
The statue shows the comedian with a furled umbrella and a straw boater, in reference to the Bring Me Sunshine routine and the Singin’ In The Rain dance sequence he performed on the Morecambe and Wise show.
Morecambe and Wise were the comic superstars for a generation, with their gags about Wise’s "short fat hairy legs", castigation of Des O’Connor and the long-running sketches about Wise’s efforts to write a theatrical play.
Their Christmas specials went on to pull in up to 28 million people, a colossal feat which has rarely been bettered.
Mrs Wiseman said: "They took it seriously and it was a job, they rehearsed and they made it professional. They used to say it took 30 years to be an overnight success."
Their TV shows continued until the early 1980s but were ended by Morecambe’s death in 1984. Wise died in 1999.