Peter Cook & Dudley Moore were a major force in establishing a completely new comedy era and have remained an ongoing influence on future comedy generations.
Peter Cook’s comedy career flourished during his time as an undergraduate at Cambridge where he became famous for his monologues for the Cambridge Footlights. At just 18 he wrote his most celebrated sketch about a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan, as well as writing the revues Pieces of Eight and One Over the Eight which were performed by Kenneth Williams in London’s West End.
Whilst at university, Peter formed an unlikely partnership with the accomplished musician, composer, actor and comedian Dudley Moore, who had earned a scholarship to study music at Magdalen College at Oxford.
Peter Cook & Dudley Moore – along with Jonathan Miller &Alan Bennett – wrote and starred in the satirical revenue Beyond the Fringe, which following its debut at the Edinburgh Festival went on to collect rave reviews in London’s West End and on Broadway. During this time, the immensely popular and influential Peter opened theEstablishment Club in Soho and later became owner of the satirical magazine,Private Eye.
The comedy duo recorded three series and a Christmas Special of Not Only..But Alsofor the BBC, introducing the hilarious cloth-capped duo Pete and Dud. Three specials of Goodbye Again were commissioned for ITV and together they appeared in the comedy feature films The Wrong Box and Bedazzled - having jointly written the screenplay, with Dudley having composed the score.
Together they toured Behind the Fridge in Australia before transferring to New York under the title Good Evening.
Dudley remained in America to pursue an acclaimed film career – his credits include 10 with Bo Derek, Arthur with Liza Minnelli (for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor) and the sequel Arthur 2: On the Rocks as well as Crazy Peopleand Blame It On the Bellboy.
Peter appeared popular UK programmes Blackadder, The Comic Strips – Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Revolver, Have I Got News for You?, Why Bother and A Life in Pieces. He made numerous appearances with Clive Anderson showcasing new characters as well as making appearances in concerts for Amnesty International.
Despite both enjoying separate careers, they reunited to appear in a US Comic Relief concert and later in The Secret Policeman’s Biggest Ball for Amnesty International. They released the notoriously obscene Derek & Clive followed by Derek & Clive Live (Island Records), Derek & Clive Come Again and Ad Nauseum (Virgin Records), the latter being accompanied by a film Derek & Clive Get the Horn released by Polygram.
Peter died in 1995 but his comic legacy lives on – in Channel 4’s poll of 300 professional comedians in The Comedian’s Comedians, Peter was voted their ‘all time No. 1.’
Dudley found time for his first and greatest passion of music, performing numerous concerts at several Carnegie Hall Benefits for the charitable organisation, Music For All Seasons. Dudley died in 2002 after a long and debilitating illness, leaving behind a legacy of comic and musical genius.