Farewell Andrew Preview

The conductor Andre Previn, former husband of singer-songwriter Dory, former husband of Mia Farrow, and one of the most respected and popular pianists and conductors of our age has died aged 89.

It is no disrespect to his memory or his talent to pinpoint the most famous moment of his life, in Britain, as beiing his first appearance on the Morecambe & Wise Show, as a conductor conned into conducting Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Eric Morecambe as the soloist.

No matter how often I watch it – and I was lucky enough to see it go out the first time – there is no part of this which has gotten old or dimmed. Previn was a natural, and he lives with Eric and Ernie as  their equal, not just their patsy.

Watch it again, cherish how much of a good sport he was, and how bloody funny the whole thing is and forever will be.

7 thoughts on “Farewell Andrew Preview

  1. That sketch is comedy perfection. Timeless, flawless, just as you say. Apparently Eric and Ernie were a little apprehensive as Previn’s schedule didn’t allow for the substantial hours of rehearsal they normally put in with their guests. All their worries evaporated as soon as Andre arrived and they realised what comic understanding he had. He got the whole thing straight away and the chemistry between them was magical. That much is obvious.

  2. Oh yes. Apparently, the “I’ll get my baton. It’s in Chicago” line was an ad lib from Previn, after which Eric knew things would work. A classic.

  3. You’re both absolutely spot-on. I too saw the original broadcast, and couldn’t believe how good the three of them were together. That really was–and still is–comedy gold.

    1. Things like this are perfect. The people who can be that good aren’t with us any more. Eric’s slapping Andre Previn on both cheeks right now.

  4. Quite right – this still takes me straight back to that Christmas all those years ago – both my parents myself and my very cynical older brother watching drinking and eating and ALL finding it quite brilliant – not much comedy can do that …. it was a privilege to be watching it (as you quite rightly said – live – not on a DVD or a VHS or streamed or copied) live so you knew that everyone else who saw it would talk about it and also find it brilliant Thanks for that Andre – 3 true greats.

  5. But so frustrating that I couldn’t find an unedited version of the sketch on YouTube (amazingly, a version from a Sixties M&W show, Previn-less, has been found). This ought to belong to the nation in perpetuity.

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