Ant and Dec 'modern Morecambe and Wise'

Geordie duo Ant and Dec are a modern-day Morecambe and Wise, according to Eric Morecambe's son Gary.

He said the presenting pair have the same "natural chemistry" his father had with Ernie Wise

Gary Morecambe told the Radio Times: "The public can spot an impostor; they want the genuine article and they got that with Eric and Ernie, 100 per cent. Theirs was a natural chemistry. You see it with Ant and Dec. You feel safe because you know they've been together since they were 12. Well, so had Eric and Ernie. The public just didn't know it." Morecambe and Wise's rise to fame is shown in a new drama, Eric and Ernie, which will be shown on the BBC in the new year.

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It follows their career from the moment the then 13-year-old Ernest Wiseman met 12-year-old Eric Bartholomew at an audition in Manchester.

Morecambe's widow Joan said his mother Sadie, played in the show by Victoria Wood, was central to the pair's success.

She said: "She was determined that Eric wouldn't end up like his dad, working for the council, all hours in all weather."