Peter Cook

Peter Cook

Peter Edward Cook (November 17, 1937 - January 9, 1995) was a British satirist, writer and comedian who is widely regarded as the father of the British satire boom of the 1960s. He is closely associated with an anti-establishment style of comedy that emerged in the late 1950s in the depths of the Cold War.
Shoot forward a few days, and Stu posts an article about Bill Hicks – another comedian I know little about.
Cook was himself 'establishment' educated, at Radley and Pembroke College, Cambridge, and it was at the latter that he first performed and wrote comedy sketches.

On graduation, he wrote professionally for, amongst others, Kenneth Williams, before finding fame in his own right as a star of the satirical stage show, Beyond the Fringe, with Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett and Dudley Moore.
Working with others such as Eleanor Bron, John Bird, and John Fortune, he broadened the scope of television comedy and pushed out the hitherto restricted boundaries of the BBC.

Peter Cook's first regular television spot was on Granada_Television's Braden Beat with Bernard Braden, where he featured perhaps his most enduring comic character, the static, dour, and monotone E. L. Wisty.
With his star firmly in the ascendant he opened The Establishment Club in Soho which allowed him to associate with the big stars of the day. He became a friend and supporter of Australian comedian and actor Barry Humphries, who began his British career at the Establishment Club, and Dudley Moore's acclaimed jazz trio (which included Australian-born drummer Chris Karan) played there regularly for many years in the Sixties.

His comedy partnership with Dudley Moore, led to the popular and critically feted television show Not Only... But Also. Using few props, and with musical interludes performed by Moore, they created a new style of dry absurdist televison which found a place in the mainstream. Here Cook showcased characters like Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling and Pete and Dud. Other memorable sketches include '"Superthunderstingcar", a send-up of the popular Gerry Anderson marionette TV shows and Cook's parody of silent star Greta Garbo.

Although now recognised as one of the classics of TV comedy, the BBC erased most of the videotapes of the first two series. Only fragments of these programs remain, although much of the soundtracks (which were released on record) have survived. Only the final series, most of which was shot on colour film, has survived largely intact.
Both Peter Cook and Dudley Moore acted in films, and Cook worked with Moore in such films as The Wrong Box (1966). Their best work on film was probably the cult comedy Bedazzled (1967), now widely regarded as a classic. Directed by Stanley Donen, it was co-written by Cook and Moore and starred Cook as George Spigot (The Devil) who tempts frustrated short-order cook Stanley Moon (Moore) with the promise of gaining his heart's desire -- the love of the unattainable Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron) -- in exchange for his soul, but repeatedly tricks him in a variety of ways.
UK chart singles:-

"The Ballad Of Spotty Muldoon" (1965)
"Goobye-ee" (1965) with Dudley Moore


The Wrong Box (1966)
Alice in Wonderland (1966)
Bedazzled (1967)
Monte Carlo Or Bust, also called Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969)
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)
Find the Lady (1976)
The Secret Policeman's Private Parts (1981)
Yellowbeard (1983)
The Princess Bride (1987): The Impwessive Clergyman
Whoops Apocalypse (1988)
Getting It Right (1989)
The Best of Amnesty: Featuring the Stars of Monty Python (1999)