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For his many friends and fans, Peter Cook was quite simply the funniest man they'd ever encountered. And nearly eight years since his death, his status as one of Britain's greatest comedians shows no sign of shrinking. Despite his reputation for idleness, Peter Cook was a great comedy writer, who created countless outrageous sketches and articles and was famed for his prolific role in the satire boom of the 1960s. The very best, the most famous and some of the most unusual of his comic masterpieces are collected here. Some of these pieces have never been published before, others are out of print, a few only survive in print, and many have only ever been seen or heard - never read. This collection ranges from Cook's first writing, at school and university, via Beyond The Fringe, with Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller, his dualogues with Moore as Pete & Dud and Derek & Clive, and their brilliant TV series, Not Only But Also, to transcripts of his late, great TV appearances, and a selection of his journalism for the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and Private Eye.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099443254
ISBN-10: 0099443252
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 29mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 3-Jul-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Every generation seems to have its breakthrough comedy. For some it was The Goons, for others Monty Python. In the late 1950s and early '60s, it was the satire boom begun by the Beyond The Fringe Oxbridge troupe of Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The most acerbic and self-confident of the group, Cook was generally seen as the genius, despite Bennett's later pre-eminence as the country's foremost man of letters or Miller's polymathic energy, or even Moore's energy and jazz skills. In those early days, Cook's self-confidence led him to write sketches which had shafts of genuine brilliance running through them. He went on to form the Establishment, a satirical comedy club, and was the saviour of Private Eye. The creator of legendary comic character E L Wisty and the brilliantly self-deluding duo of Pete and Dud (and their foul-mouthed alter egos, Derek and Clive), there is no doubting Cook's comic talents. And, by all accounts, he was superb company, his best jokes and routines told in pubs, bars and dinner parties to the smug few who were his audiences. But this book leaves the nagging feeling of a talent allowed to wither on the vine. William Cook has collated a pretty thorough overview - from adolescent doodlings which should have remained hidden, through to the genius of Beyond the Fringe and the excellent work he performed with Moore. E L Wisty, on the other hand, needs performing not reading, and Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, great though he is, doesn't bear the repetition he gets here. And the work Cook did for the Daily Mail should be buried deep under the sea. From then on, the occasional piece that works shines more brightly than it should, though we end with a piece of melancholic brilliance which Cook performed unannounced on a late-night radio phone-in: Sven the morose Norwegian, obsessed with fish and his on-off relationship with Jutta, his wife. The fact that Cook did not spend his life performing for the public is a tragedy for the public rather than Cook - he knew he had reached the heights. This book is a reminder both of how high he could go, and of how rarely he bothered to do so. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Peter Cook

Peter Cook (Author) William Cook is the author of Ha Bloody Ha - Comedians Talking (Fourth Estate) and The Comedy Store - The Club That Changed British Comedy (Little, Brown). He has worked for the BBC and written for the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday and the New Statesman.William Cook (Author) William Cook's most recent book is One Leg Too Few - The Adventures of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, published by Preface. He is also the author of Ha Bloody Ha (Fourth Estate), The Comedy Store (Little, Brown), Morecambe & Wise Untold (HarperCollins) and 25 Years of Viz (Macmillan). He edited Kiss Me, Chudleigh - The World According to Auberon Waugh (Hodder), Eric Morecambe Unseen (HarperCollins), and Tragically, I Was An Only Twin and Goodbye Again, two biographical anthologies of the work of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, both published by Century. He has worked for the BBC and has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Mail on Sunday. He currently contributes to the Independent, the Spectator and Conde Nast Traveller. He has won several awards for his travel writing, including the Johann Strauss Gold Medal for his writing about Vienna.

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