Morecambe heads to the Alban Arena this weekend

Morecambe is coming to the Alban Arena this weekend

Morecambe is coming to the Alban Arena this weekend - Credit: Archant

It was the late ’70s and a dark haired man with big round glasses and a thick Lancashire twang was carefully manoeuvring his way through one of many gags to a television audience of tens of millions.

On the other side of the screen a young boy watched in awe as the humorous man made his entire family laugh. This was one of St Albans actor Bob Golding’s first memories of the funny man with the broad accent and animated expressions.

He was just 14 when Eric Morecambe died of a fatal heart attack aged 58 and “was taken away too soon”.

He was aware it was a sad moment, but didn’t realise quite the impact the death of one of the nation’s best loved comedians would have on his life later, or that he would be nominated for an Olivier Award for his impressive portrayal of the late, great comic.

Bob first decided to pursue impersonating Eric, who lived in Harpenden for a lot of his life, after being compared to him: “I had a lot of people say you’ve got a touch of ‘the Morecambes’ about you, and that was what sparked it off.

This prompted him to get involved in a one-man show in which he plays Eric and several of his closest friends and family.

The latest production of Morecambe, which marks the 30th anniversary of his death and is part-produced by Eric’s son Gary, kicks off its 38-date tour this Saturday, March 29, at the Alban Arena.

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Bob said: “I couldn’t think of anywhere better to start the tour, it’s sold out now it’s a fantastic start to what I hope will be a fantastic journey.”

“The show is a whistle stop tour of one of the country’s best comedians - certainly one of the most loved.

“It’s fair to say it’s not necessarily a show about Morecambe and Wise, it’s very much about Eric’s life from birth through to death, and from his humble beginnings.”

The original production of Morecambe was awarded the Oliver Award for Best Entertainment in 2010 and Golding won an army of admirers for his extraordinary performance.

Now the show is back and bigger than ever: “There is a completely new energy behind the script. All the music this time is provided by 78RPM, a swing band, and they’re taking it to another level”, Bob said.

Impersonating such an iconic comedian can of course prove overwhelming as Bob explained: “It’s daunting every day, but then Eric himself said it’s all based on fear.”

But he stressed: “It’s a lovely job to do as I actually got to play so many different characters and emotions.”

He said of the “busy and colourful play”: “It’s a 60-page monologue on paper, but we like to think people coming away thinking seen a full cast.”

Since performing in the critically acclaimed show, Bob has formed a close relationship with Eric’s family: “They approached me at one of the venues we did our last tour been really good friends since then.

“They’ve been very supportive to me on the whole journey and ensuring his legacy continues in the right way.”

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