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Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook [Paperback]

Peter Cook , William Cook
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 July 2003
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 prolific writer, who created countless outrageous sketches and articles, the very best, the most famous and some of the most unusual 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 dialogues with Moore as Pete and Dud, and Derek and 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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Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook + Scapino (Nick Hern Books Drama Classics) + All in the Timing
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (3 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099443252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099443254
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Peter Cook may have had problems that prevented him ever fully achieving all that his comic genius was capable of, but that side of the writer and comedian is not the point of Tragically, I Was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook, which is a quite marvellous anthology of the man's writings.

Cook's reputation has continued to flourish since his death, and many consider him (along with Spike Milligan) one of the greatest comic writers this country has produced. Although his public face was always the quaffing, sardonic commentator, he was, in fact, a writer who simply never stopped creating new sketches and articles for both public consumption and his own satisfaction. Many of these pieces have not been published before, and many have only been broadcast once. This collection brings together many high spots of Cook's career: from his early success with Beyond the Fringe (and his initial meetings with Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore) to his time as an éminence grise behind the magazine Private Eye.

Needless to say, all the marvellous EL Whisty monologues are here, as well as classic Pete and Dud routines, and even the more scabrous collaborations between Cook and Moore as the foul-mouthed Derek and Clive. The fact that Cook's Milligan-like drawings complement the text makes this a truly cherishable volume. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The latest instalment in the corporate adventures of Alex, the pinstriped cartoon character who appears in the pages of the 'Daily Mail'. It's been a tough year for the investment banker: his world is rocked by financial scandals and he faces a fight to keep his job. A collection of Cook's finest and funniest writings - many of which have never been published before. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are no longer One Book Too Few 9 Oct 2002
By A Customer
At last, a collection of the musings of one of the greatest living Englishmen (albeit, now a dead one). Peter Amadeus Cook, as John Cleese referred to him. Since Peter's death there has been the odd book about him here and there. Harry Thompson's excellent Biog and Something Like Fire the collection of memories of friends and colleagues edited by Cook's last wife Lin being chief among them. This however is the nitty gritty, the dog's doo-dahs or perhaps more aptly, the bee's knees (as many of Cook's wildly inventive stream of consciousness tales included that very insect).
Here are culled examples - though not as the name suggests 'The Complete' - Peter Cook creative outpoorings, from his early reviews through to the Clive Anderson special with assorted pieces of writing in between, not quite what you might call journalism but mini works of genius every one.
Peter is dead, E.L. Wisty never managed to dominate the world but we can still help make a difference if every household had a copy of this book. Sit it in your loo and read a sketch per visit, put it by your bedside (it may help get rid of film starlets bothering you in their nocturnal lusts), just buy the book dammit, read it, injest it, spoil yourself in its healthy outlook on the ridiculous world we live in and give thanks for Peter Cook.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 400 plus pages of comic genius Peter Cook!!! 29 Oct 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
This collection is superb- transcripts of various pieces/sketches etc that Cook made over several decades. From the classic Beyond the Fringe (& preceding work, though sadly not the short ghost story that is mentioned in the introduction)through to the collaborations with the late Dudley Moore (Not Only But Also, Pete & Dud, Derek & Clive)alongside work for Private Eye ("The Seductive Brethren")& the more recent, if no less great, pieces for/with Clive Anderson & Chris Morris. There's so much here, & you don't have to offer pious reverence to the initial audio/visual sources (especially if these don't exist, or have been binned, as much of Cook's early work)- this is a great book you can dip into. Derek & Clive does smack a bit of Pinter! This collection is a brilliant reminder of a great comic, & proof that Cook didn't blow it or anything like that...Ideally this should be read alongside Lin Cook's biography of him & the brilliant Bedazzled also!!! Peter Cook was punk rock before punk rock, he was a genius who'd achieved pretty much everything by his Stephen Fry says on the cover "The funniest man who ever drew breath". Plus, it's great to read (where else?) on the toilet!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny... 25 Mar 2008
There can be no arguing against the glaringly obvious fact that Peter Cook was bloody funny. Funny. Ve'y, ve'y funny. Like every single innovative humourist, not all his creations make one guffaw till vomitus projectus. But, the stuff in this block of glued together leaves is largely brilliantly funny -- ranging from the crass, to the urbanely witty. All those who say otherwise are petty little contrarians.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really amusing 18 Oct 2008
By edzshed
The only bad thing I have to say about this collection of Peter Cook's work is that the cover describes it as the complete Peter Cook, and well it's not, it's would be truer to call it the best of Peter Cook. And it really is that, it's got most of the classic scripts from the Tarzan sketch to Pete n Dud. The part that I really enjoyed to the point where I was chuckling away is the latter part of the book, it would seem that Peter Cook got funnier and funnier as time passed, watch out for Sven and his fishes expecially funny given as it was from a radio phone in.

It's definatly worth a read if you have a sense of humour, if you don't I would like to recommend 'Starting to Paint With Acrilycs' by John Raynes which is not funny in the slightest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More For Dedicated Comedy Fans 15 Jun 2007
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Peter Cook was someone that anyone with any interest in comedy will have heard of. His partnership with Dudley Moore on Not Only But Also included the classic Pete and Dud sketches, which later evolved into the more foul mouthed Derek and Clive, and he was rightly celebrated for his work with Beyond the Fringe.

This book is not a biography (although each chapter is prefaced by some information about Cook and his work at the time) but a collection of what William Cook considers to be the best of Peter's work. There are certainly some classic sketches in there (including 'The Worst Job in the World', which involves Jayne Mansfield and the removal of lobsters and a Pete and Dud sketch retelling their harassment by beautiful actresses), but William Cook also includes articles and transcripts of Peter's work from a variety of sources.

Personally, I didn't enjoy reading the sketches so much as I enjoyed the articles. This is mainly because I think Cook's humour works best in the delivery and Cook's was so unique that reading his work seems a very poor substitute. In addition though (and at the risk of being branded a heretic), I think that there's a certain 'sameyness' to Cook's sketches - albeit sameyness of a surreal nature. You know what you're going to get from a sketch, which kind of robs it of its magic. That aside, I did enjoy reading his articles, particularly his sports articles (and this comes from the fact that (a) I don't support his teams and (b) I have very little interest in sport). Cook was certainly more prolific than I had imagined, and I also hadn't realised that he'd worked with both the 'godfathers' of comedy (e.g. Miller and Bennett) and also some of the current comedy titans such as Chris Morris and Clive Andersen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The World Domination League
Before reading this book I had not read anything Peter Cook had done. I had seen Bedazzled and the 'One Leg to Few' sketch from Beyond the Fringe, and am a regular reader of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bethanie Culyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic Genius
With the sub-title of The Compete Peter Cook, William Cook's (no relation, strangely enough) 2002 compendium of this most innovative of British 'comedian's' (a title which seems... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Derek & Clive
Not only some well known sketches, but also letters to the daily mail and transcripts of off the cuff interviews. Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2011 by Charlie E
3.0 out of 5 stars Very funny at times, though not always
Edited by William Cook, (no relation, apparently) this is a collection of scripts from Peter Cook's 35-year working life. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by Phil O'Sofa
5.0 out of 5 stars Message for Big Nose
Last night, in a dream, Peter Cooke came to me and gave me instructions, spiritual guidance as it where. He said I was to log on to Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2005 by C. Mcsloy
3.0 out of 5 stars A good collection of scripts, an OK potted biography
Let me put my impressions of this book into context first:
I love Derek and Clive, Pete and Dud and the latter Cook material such as the Sven phone calls, the Why Bother... Read more
Published on 14 May 2004 by Nigel Collier
1.0 out of 5 stars the emperor has no clothes
I've always been baffled by the rave reviews of Peter Cook as the funniest man alive, so I was intrigued to buy the book to see what I had been missing. Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars the emperor has no clothes
I've always been baffled by the rave reviews of Peter Cook as the funniest man alive, so I was intrigued to buy the book to see what I had been missing. Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2003 by Bignose
3.0 out of 5 stars more than just scripts - an insight into Peter
As lover of Peter Cook's monologues and sketches, this was a birthday gift, and I read it on holiday.
What did I learn? Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2003 by Peter Wyllie
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