Well the Not Only was Peter Cook and the But Also, Dudley Moore. In the 60s and 70s this pair were a major part of the new comedy era, and Peter Cook was probably one of those who was the most responsible for the change in direction of comedy. He wrote a couple of well received revues for the West End, Pieces of Eight, and then One over the Eight, and then with Moore, Jonathon Miller and Alan Bennett, wrote and starred in Beyond the Fringe, the show that finally killed off the intimate review and replaced it with the Satire movement. Cook was the professional amongst the four and as such was paid more (although he actually received less due to his agent taking his cut!), and was responsible for a lot of the script, whereas Moore, was the musical one and came up with the parodies and musical interludes.
Not Only But Also was their BBC show, written and conceived by the pair, which developed their partnership, and gave rise to the famous Dagenham Dialogues of Pete and Dud, and included other gems such as One Leg too Few, and Sir Arthur Streeb Greebling. Their way of writing was rather novel in as much as they would talk into a microphone, recording their impromptu speech and then review it, developing parts that they thought had promise and discarding the rest. The scripts were not written in stone though, and half of the charm of the show is the ad-libs from Cook and Moore's reactions to them, usually with him trying to hold back laughter.
The series ran for three series from 1965 to 1970, but alas, Auntie, in all her infinite wisdom chose to junk so many of the tapes and films. This was a real shame as it is purported that Cook tried desparately to buy them. That is what makes the release of this tape amongst the Comedy Greats range that much more worthwhile. The only downside is that is has been available before, so if you rushed out to buy The Best of...What's Left Of... Not Only... But Also some years ago, then their is no need to bother with this release (unless you have worn out your copy like I have!!!!). For those who have spent out on digital TV, then you will already have far more than the rest of us anyway as, from what I can make out, all the surviving shows have been broadcast on the UK ARENA channel.
Both had their separate careers though, and Dudley is an accomplished pianist and musician and went on to star in many films, whilst Cook was responsible for the first Satirical nightclub in London - The Establishment - and was a founding member of the Private Eye team. A new book that documents the satire boom of 1960s in the UK has just been published by Orion books, and is priced at a reasonable £20. This charts the members of Beyond the Fringe, the subsequent popularity of all things satire, Private Eye, The Establishment, and TW3, or That Was The Week That Was to the uninitiated. With a wealth of stills and excerpts of scripts, this brings together a lot of contemporary information with comments from those involved and is very well researched. In addition to the book, Orion have also released an audio cassette, however, I have not had a chance to review this yet - watch this space.
There is still a lot of interest in Cook and Moore and recently Moore was featured on BBC2's Arena documentary series - probably the last time he will do as he is in poor health. The programme concentrated more on the man and was all the better for it as it was a story that has seldom been investigated. Cook has not been forgotten either and was featured as one of the Comedian's Comedians on Radio 2. This series has been profiling various comedy artists that have made a huge impression on other comedy artists, and amongst those was Cook. Whilst only half and hour and littered with admirations from various contemporary comedians, the show also gives tantalising snippets of the great man at work.
For more details on the pair why not go to the Peter Cook Appreciation Society here. they seem to have an endless suplly of information on the pair and produce a very nice fanzine - publish and BEDAZZLED - which, I am very ashamed to say, I said I would plug for them some while back and promtly got bogged down with finishing my doctorate. Sorry fellers. They are now on issue 22, but #21 ran to am inpressive 52 pages and had interviews, tribute articles and various news items. Subscriptions are a meagere 8 quid a year and details can be obtained from PETER COOK APPRECIATION SOCIETY, PCAS, 15 TEMPLE DWELLINGS, TEMPLE STREET, BETHNAL GREEN, LONDON, E2 6QG. ENGLAND
So what is still around that contains the great duo, or at least one of them. Of course there are all the films with Dudley and the best place to find them is at Blackstar (follow the link to the left and help keep this site running!) and there are the following...
If this isn't enough, then why not look out for the BBC Radio Collection tape of WHY BOTHER? This single cassette was released in March of this year, and contains the interview between Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling and Chris Morris from 1994, and was one of his best performances since the heyday of the the 60s. The tape contains all of the five interviews and covers such diverse subjects as his early years when he was sent to prison and his life before the eels incident.
As a fan of Peter Cook, I cannot praise this highly enough, and anyone who has the same ideas about comedy as me will love this tape as well. With a price tag of £5.99 on cassette or £7.99 on CD, it is reasonable value for money as well. The catalogue numbers are 0563557478 and 0563558601 for the tape and CD respectively.
Pete & Dud - An illustrated biography.
When this first arrived on my doormat I thought, oh not another stock book. There are far too many books that seem to be written today to deadlines,and very little research goes into them. They all appear to be the same size, and have stills that everybody has seen before, and the facts that eveybody has read before (and I could imagine Pete and Dud sitting there weighing up the manuscript, and coming to the conclusionthat it is a couple of ounces too heavy and ripping a couple of pages out!). THIS IS NOT THE CASE. The author endears himself to me immediately by praising Kenneth Williams (who was amongst the first to perform Cooks material in Pieces of Eight), and then goes on to say that this book is his appreciation of the duo - and appreciation it is.
Whilst he does highlight their failures, this is a very well thought out biography with a good deal of work gone into it, and the result is a very readable and enjoyable volume. If you want a full, in depth biography of each of the pair, then I suggest you go for one of the huge biogs already published, or have a look at the Beyond the Fringe book, as does the writer, Alexander Games. If you want a good read, some excellent stills, and an overview of their careers, then this is the book for you. It is availabel from better bookshops.
And finally, the page would not be complete without details of the duo's film...
In 1967, Cook and Moore starred in this film comedy, written by Cook,a nd based on a lot of ideas from the both of them. Cook played the Devil, a one Mr George Spiggott (who had one leg too few earlier in his career) and Moore played Stanley Moon, a short order chef who was in love but couldn't seem to do anything about it. Cook comes up with this deal, whereby Moon sells him his soul and he will grant him wishes, however, the Devil is a crafty chap and is not going to give eveything Moon wants! Whilst Cook always had problems with acting, he turns in a brilliant performance in this film and it is one that I always enjoy watching. There are many other notable names present, Bron, Humphries, and even Raquel Welch.
|George Spiggott||Peter Cook|
|Stanley Moon||Dudley Moore|
|Margaret Spencer||Eleanor Bron|
|Inspector Clarke||Michael Bates|
|Irving Moses||Bernard Spear|
|Lord Dowdy||Michael Trubshawe|
|Mrs. Wisby||Evelyn Moore|
|Vicar||Charles Lloyd Pack|
|Directed by||Stanley Dohen|