Biography Of Peter Cook Paperback – 4 Jun 1998
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'Lively and penetrating' ( Independent on Sunday )
'At last, this book explains the mystery of Peter Cook - how someone so funny, so loveable, so handsome, could make such a total hash of his life. Harry Thompson's pedigree in television comedy makes him an authoritative commentator on Cook's performances' (Lynne Barber, Daily Telegraph )
'Unputdownable, level-headed and intelligent' (Nicholas Lezard, Guardian )
'This definitive biography...as heartbreaking as it is entertaining' (Jessica Berens, Times Literary Supplement ) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Harry Thompson invented many TV comedy hits such as Have I Got News For You and Da Ali G Show. He was the author of several acclaimed bestsellers, including PETER COOK: A BIOGRAPHY and PENGUINS STOPPED PLAY, as well as a historical novel, THIS THING OF DARKNESS which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He worked as a producer at Talkback TV and in his spare time he ran the infamous cricket team, the Captain Scott XI. Harry Thompson died in 2005.
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Top Customer Reviews
More than that though, you get a thoroughly convincing assessment of Cook's long, slow descent into alcoholism (and most other vices you care to name), depression, loneliness, and fear of failure. It is perhaps a testament to 'Cookie' that he could sink so low, and so slowly, and yet remain so loved and admired by anyone, star name or not, who came into contact with him.
It is quite astonishing that a book could be this funny and at the same time so sad. The best biography I've ever read.
What a long way it is from Peter Cook's grandfather, a railway official in Kuala Lumpur who shot himself under the stress of a big promotion, and his father - a "sea-green incorruptible" colonial administrator - to the party he threw at the Cobden Working Men's Club in 1993, where the Rolling Stones rubbed shoulders with the Monty Python crew, two England cricket captains, Julian Clary and a mass of other celebrities. So tight was the scrum that Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller never managed to greet their host at all.
Like a stock market boom/bust cycle, the ups and downs of Cook's career were hugely amplified by the dictates of fashion. He was lucky enough to catch the early 1960s satire wave, and quickly became so sought-after that President Kennedy and his wife actually had to go and meet him, after he declined an invitation to the White House. Other than becoming global dictator, there was hardly anywhere to go after that but down - and Cook's perfectionism and lack of ambition conspired to make the descent almost as fast as the rise.
Cook's attitude to alcohol may have been at the root of his downfall. He simply wasn't prepared to give it up, and - like many people to whom money is no object - found himself drinking more and more.Read more ›
It would make an excellent film, too.
It was some years after reading this book that I learnt with great sadness of Harry Thompson's untimely death from cancer in his forties. He was clearly an exceptionally gifted writer.
Alex Pearl, author of 'Sleeping with the Blackbirds'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tatty, badly researched and little like the cold hearted man I knew.Published 5 months ago by TeeandCee
This is the best biography I've ever read. Harry Thompson was extremely well-placed to write it: he knew Peter Cook personally, worked as a producer of television comedy (including... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Not quite rabid
Thompson is a great fan of Peter Cook and that's the problem with the book- soft focus on the central character . Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jenny Seckerson
It's a good book but still early doors to write a biography of Mr. Cook.
The phrase "futile gesture" has passed into popular parlance, though only with lawyers... Read more
A good biography. Gives a good picture of the heady days of 60s satire and his place in it. Then his slow descent into drinking and eccentricity. Read morePublished on 19 Jun. 2014 by Dara Monahan
god father of modern comedy
the comedian's comedian
and truly one of the funniest men to ever draw breath. Read more