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One Leg Too Few Paperback – 15 May 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (15 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099559927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099559924
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"With wit and warmth, William Cook charts the rise of a remarkable 20 year comedic partnership - and how it fell apart." (The Observer)

"A well written biography by a talented writer... William Cook charts the progress of their unlikely marriage very perceptively" (Daily Mail)

"This is the definitive biography of the double act; not only informative but also vastly entertaining." (Sunday Express)

"Sympathetic yet sharp-eyed, he gives a vivid, poignant sense of the forces that held them together and which, ultimately, tore them apart." (Mail on Sunday)

"Funny, sad and always entertaining" (The Independent)

"The author deftly weaves together camaraderie, comedy and collapse – and beloved sketches lift off the page. A nostalgic joy" (Jonathan Dean The Sunday Times)

"William Cook’s dual biography is absorbing and incisive… This book goes a long way towards unravelling the enigma of two men who redefined the art of comedy. It is touching, funny, sad, tragic; all the things Pete and Dud were. And that is all you can ask of a biographer." (Herald Sun)

"What makes William Cook's biography especially touching is its sense that, despite their messy divorce, they never stopped loving each other. Cook recounts their story with wit and clarity. But it is as a psychological portrait of the pair's devoted then fractured friendship, that the book is really compelling" (Sunday Times)

"Detailed and moving account of the career of this eternally popular yet fatally ill-matched comedy duo" (Observer)

"William Cook is supremely knowledgeable about British comedy, and has interviewed many insiders. So read this and weep." (Guardian)

Book Description

One Leg Too Few by William Cook is the first full-length dual biography of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and the first to be written with the consent and cooperation of both of their estates, by bestselling author of Tragically I was an Only Twin.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By flagstone on 6 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
It's pretty much hacked together from the other biographies. Nothing new, no interesting perspective. The writing is just standard meat and potatoes biog style.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Hayes on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
This well-written and pacey dual biography of the iconic comedy partnership of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore contains few details about their lives and doings that I have not already seen elsewhere, but `One Leg Too Few' is still balanced and well-structured and very readable. My main reservation about the book is the fact that occupying the its second half, the author has opted to include nearly 150 pages of accounts of recent visits with various people who were close to, or acquainted with, Cook and Moore: having ploughed through these with dwindling levels of interest, I have to say that they do not really add much to a better understand of the pair's adventures and misadventures - the best bits from these interviews could have been incorporated into the main body of the preceding text, and the rest junked if favour of additions to the main part of the book.
For instance, I would have liked the main part of the story to have contained some more historical context, such as how Cook and Moore's output related to the times and societal changes through which they lived (especially the Derek and Clive period, which coincided with the rise and fall of Punk subculture). It also would have been nice to have some recognition of Dudley Moore's musical contributions to 'Not Only... But Also' - as well as composing the catchy opening signature tune (and, of course, the closing 'Goodbyee' duet), he usually performed a number with his Jazz Trio and/or with guesting vocalists - these performances brought an additional layer of finesse to the proceedings that has not been adequately acknowledged, I'd argue; and by demonstrating Moore's considerable versatility, added to the depth of the comedy that formed the main part of the shows. Apart from those carps, 'One Leg Too Few' is a worthy addition to the Cook/Moore biographical canon.
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By Bantam Dave TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 May 2015
Format: Paperback
For many years the BBC used to routinely wipe the tapes on which their shows were recorded. Consequently not that many people below a certain age will have seen Not Only... But Also, the series made by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore when they were at the peak of their powers. Some will have seen recent grainy screenings of One Leg Too Few, the classic sketch which provides the title to this autobiography, and others will have seen the odd Pete and Dud routine but there is little else that still survives. I just about remember watching them when I was a boy back in the 1960’s, but I would have been far too young to understand most of the humour. Even so, I find it very hard to take too seriously William Cook’s statement that they were the best double act in British comedy history. Most innovative maybe, but surely not the best, not when there have been far funnier twosomes like Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Reeves and Mortimer and even Sooty and Sweep. Even if you disagree with their biographer’s assessment of their place in comedy history you could not argue that this is anything but an outstanding account of the lives and careers of two men whose partnership rarely ran smoothly.

Both Cook and Moore were complex characters. Peter Cook was undoubtedly a comedy genius but it is fair to say that he did his best work in the early years of his career, particularly after he had became overly dependent on alcohol. Although he loved Dudley Moore like a brother he became resentful of Moore’s later success in Hollywood and subsequently treated him very badly, causing a rift which was never totally mended. Dudley Moore was naturally funny but he would have preferred to have become famous for being an acclaimed jazz musician.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By V Wackett on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Having read Tragically I Was An Only Twin and Goodbye Again (I bought them as presents for people and kept them for myself), I was intrigued to find out what more William Cook could have to say about Peter Cook (no relation) and Dudley Moore. The book takes its title from a sketch that Peter Cook wrote long before meeting Dudley Moore, when he was just 18 years old. He claimed it is the funniest thing he wrote. What is intriguing about this book is how it reveals the complexity of the relationship, how Cook & Moore became, in comedic terms, more than the sum of their parts and how toxic their genius became. The first chapter charts the day in 1978 when Cook & Moore met for the last time to record Ad Nauseam. It makes for very uncomfortable reading as Peter Cook, plainly unhinged by drink, unleashes uncontrolled comedic bile. Dudley Moore looks on in horror.

The book draws you in to their story, from Dagenham and Oxford to Radley and Cambridge, from Hampstead to Hollywood. It's cleverly structured so you can read the story (and it is a gripping story) in the first part, "Not Only" and the interviews, each written as stand-alone chapters in the second part, "But Also". The surprising thing that emerges is the depth of feeling that they had for each other and how its only real means of expression was through comedy. On paper, it looks to the outsider like Peter Cook was a relentless bully, tormenting and belittling Dudley Moore whenever possible. What emerges from William Cook's book is that Peter loved Dudley but that he knew of no other means of expressing himself other than through drink and comedy.

Whether you're a fan or not, this book tells an important story.
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