Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Success Story. BBC. 30 mins. 1974
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Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Success Story. BBC. 30 mins. 1974

November 18, 2019


# Another opening # Another show # In Philly, Boston or Baltimo’ # A chance for stage folks to say hello # Another opening of another show # Another job that you hope at last # Will make your future forget your past # Another pain where the ulcers grow # Another opening of another show. # Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse # Three weeks, and it couldn’t be worse # One week, will it ever be right? # Then out of the hat
it’s that big first night…In April 1974, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
won a special Tony –the highest award that
New York theatre can bestow.For the last nine months, they’ve been playing
to capacity houses on Broadwayin their show Good Evening.This is a version of Behind The Fridgewhich ran for over two years
in Australia and London.They’ve worked together since 1959,when they teamed up with Jonathan Miller
and Alan Bennett in Beyond The Fringe.Apart from innumerable
television appearances,they’ve also played together
in several feature filmsand have worked separately on the stage.# The overture is about to start # You cross your fingers and hold your heart # It’s curtain time and away we go # Another opening of another show! # Another opening, another show… # What did you think of the show tonight? I thought it was OK.
I thought the tiny one was a little pushy. – What, the little chap?
– Yes. He was a bit sort of, I don’t know,
seemed to mug a lot. – Yes, he goes over the top quite a lot.
– Goes over the top. I enjoyed the bit when that thing comes down –
what’s it called? – The thing?
– No, the curtain. – Yes, I liked that.
– I thought it was tremendously well done. – It came down on cue…
– Yes. …and one had a chance to get out. Get out of the blasted theatre. – Yes, I thought that was nice.
– Yes, I enjoyed that. I think it was rather like a fine wine, you know. – Yes.
– It didn’t travel. – No.
– Do you travel much? Seldom. Seldom, yes, it’s best to stay
in the same place for about a year. Who are you, by the way? Erm, you met me about a second ago. – Yes, that’s right.
– I’m that chap you met a second ago. Yes, yes, silly of me. Yes, well, very nice to see you and… – Well, good luck with the thing.
– Yes, I hope everything… – Yes, it will.
– Is she still… She’s a little, as you can imagine,
she had one of those. Well, I understand
but mine was having some… Well, Henry, you know, he had one of those. Did he? Twice. Yes. Anyway, awfully nice. Nice to see you and I’ll be seeing you,
well, in about a second. I’m sorry. – You’re very good.
– Thank you. – Good grief!
– It’s good of you, isn’t it, that one? – Yes. (Laughs)
– John is looking well with his freckles. Oh, that’s Alan Bennett there, isn’t it? – What a chubby little fella.
– Yes, a chubby little fella. – Isn’t he lovely?
– Anyway, upstairs. Yes. – It’s a long climb, isn’t it?
– It’s a long climb for old men. All this way up to showbiz heaven. – Good evening.
– Evening. – Hello, how are you?
– Good evening. Hello, sailor! It doesn’t happen
unless the BBC are filming us. # Ta-da-da-da, ta-da-da-da Oh, no, it’s me, isn’t it? # Da-da-da-da, da-da… # Here we are, Peter, sitting in super Sardi’s. Along the Great White Way, which is the… After all, it is the ambition of every star. To sit in Sardi’s… On the Great White Way. …and be surrounded by figures of yesteryear. On my right, Gene Tierney on the wall there. Wouldn’t have minded giving her one
in Dragonwyck. Know what I mean? – A superb movie.
– What a mover. Movie? Oh! What a movie, yes. There on our right is… Who is it? A long forgotten face, but remembered to many,
E.J. Pemblewick. Who can remember him?
Who can forget him? EJP brought glamour to Broadway in a way I don’t think any of us
can ever remember. I think you’re so right
and do you remember Annabelle Lusgrit? Annabelle, well, I knew her passingly,
fleetingly. She had enormous potential. I saw that, but somehow
she was misused by the studio. But here she is hanging up in Sardi’s. Her father a Dutch captain,
her mother a French polisher, but from an early age,
Anna yearned for the theatre. (Cries) She broke free from the family foes of
the friendly Finnish fishing village of Fomsk and went to finishing school. Well, we first met, um, in 1959 when, er, a friend of erm…
myself and Jonathan Miller erm… wanted to put on a show
at the Edinburgh Festival, an official university show. And, er… I… we were both asked to
think of two other people who would be good to join us in the show, and Jonathan knew Peter
and I knew Alan very vaguely, and so the four of us got together. Wait a moment, we’ll put Lyme Regis
where Great Yarmouth was. And Ipswich where Lyme Regis was. And Great Yarmouth where Ipswich was. That’ll fool the Boche, eh? – That’ll fool him. Bye-bye.
– Bye-bye, ta-da. Here, how do we get ‘ome? (Laughter) Beyond The Fringe ran
for two years with us, in London. Then we came to America
and it ran for two years here with us. (Applause) Perkins. Perkins, sorry to drag you away
from the fun, old boy. – That’s all right, sir.
– The war’s not going very well. – Oh, my God!
– (Laughter) We’re two down,
the ball’s in the enemy court. War’s a psychological thing, Perkins,
like a game of football. – Yes, sir.
– You know how in a game of football, – ten men often play better than eleven?
– Yes, sir. – Perkins, we’re asking you to be that one man.
– Sir. – Perkins.
– Sir. – I want you to lay down your life.
– Yes, sir. We need a futile gesture at this stage. (Laughter) It’ll raise the whole tone of the war. Get up in a crate, Perkins,
pop over to Bremen, – take a shuftie.
– Sir. – Don’t come back.
– Right you are, sir. (Laughter) Goodbye, Perkins. God, I wish I was going too. Goodbye, sir,
or is it au revoir? – No, Perkins.
– (Laughter) (Applause) I had written scripts for myself at Cambridge, which later got transferred to London
for Kenny Williams, who performed them in a totally different way,
and I think probably far funnier than I did. Those became Pieces Of Eight and One Over
The Eight which were successful as revues. I was sort of a professional writer
at the age of whatever it was, 20, and it was one of the reasons I was actually
advised by my agent at that time, not to appear in some amateur revue
up at Edinburgh, called Beyond The Fringe, because I was sort of diminishing my stature
as a professional writer for Kenneth Williams, and I overrode his advice. One of my favorite sketches I wrote
very early on when I was about 18, which was called One Leg Too Few, which was about a one-legged man
auditioning for the part of Tarzan. It’s a bit alarming that I wrote it at 18 because
I don’t think I’ve written anything better since. That’s one of my favorite sketches. Stella, send in the next auditioner,
would you, please, a Mr. Spigot, I think it is. Thank you. (Kissing sounds) (Laughter) Um… Mr… Mr. Spigot? Oh, yes, Spigot by name, Spigot by nature.
(Laughs) Good, thank you very much. Thank you very much,
there’s no need to follow me everywhere. Oh, right. Mr. Spigot, erm… you are auditioning, are you not,
for the role of Tarzan? – Right.
– (Laughter) Mr. Spigot, I couldn’t help noticing,
almost immediately… that you are a one-legged man. You noticed that. When you’ve been in this business
as long as I have, Mr. Spigot, you get to notice these little things
almost instinctively. Now, Mr. Spigot,
you, a one-legged man, – are auditioning for the role of Tarzan.
– Right. A role traditionally associated
with a two-legged artiste. – Correct.
– And yet you, a unidexter, – are applying for the role.
– Right. A role for which two legs would seem to be
the minimum requirement. (Laughter) Well, Mr Spigot, need I point out to you
in too much detail, where your deficiency lies
as regards the landing of the role? Yes, I think you should point it out. (Laughter) Need I say with overmuch emphasis that
it is in the leg division that you are deficient. – The leg division?
– Yes, you are deficient in the leg division – to the tune of one.
– (Laughter) Your right leg, I like. (Laughter) I like your right leg,
it’s a lovely leg for the role. The moment I saw it come in through the door, I said “Hello, there’s a lovely
leg for the role” I said. What a lovely leg for the role. I’ve got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is, neither have you. (Laughter) When I came out of Oxford,
I did all sorts of… odd jobs. I was dying to get into revue,
and acting of some sort, and I did various auditions.
I remember auditioning for George Devine at a very silent Royal Court Auditorium. And… I wrote… In fact, I started writing
incidental music for the Royal Court, for things like Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance
and Platinov and One Way Pendulum, and I had a sort of permanent little niche
for a while, which was very pleasant. But my music was terribly unfinished
in those days. I used to come to sessions with… with…
you know, trailing off in the 17th bar. # Repetitive piano chords # (Laughter) (Applause) (Laughter) (Applause and cheering) There’s not much we’ve done for the BBC
that’s really been censored. We’ve had erm… certain small difficulties. But they’re usually caused by us
putting in more things than we want. In which case we can compromise and get back
to what we were originally going to do, and now we’ve said that, we can’t do it again. We would like to be more blasphemous
and obscene, but you limit the audience. I don’t know if you could do it on television,
although it gets freer every day, although you do get this sort of seizing up every now and again. I think we’d both quite like to do
an absolutely obscene, really dirty show, and with a small audience in mind. Normally with sketches,
we improvise to give it a feeling of flow, and, um… and it’s a good way of…
getting a natural feel to the sketch. Thank you very much. The spaghetti is very good here. – Yes.
– It’s all hand woven and… (Laughter) …I think you’ll enjoy it very much indeed. – Thank you very much.
– There we are. Use a spoon and whirl it round,
get it into your mouth. Or, knife and fork if you like. I wonder if you could tell me
your qualifications for the job. Well, erm, I was at Sheffield University
for three years, and I got a BA… (Laughter) …a first, actually…
Not a BA, what am I talking about? – A BSc first in science.
– A first in science. And I specialized in nylon fibers and things. And, erm… er, that’s about it as regards qualifications. What about your thesis you wrote? Oh, my thesis.
Yes, of course I had to write a thesis, and I wrote it, in fact, on your product, sudolene
and its uses in modern materials. Yes, we manufacture sudolone. It’s sudolene, isn’t it, with an E? As we manufacture it, I think I can call it
what I bloody well choose. (Laughter) – Yes.
– I’m sorry about that, yes. That’s quite all right. I understand
you’ve given up your job in Millwall. Yes, I have actually. I’ve more or less
burned my boats there really, I… came down here to London about four
weeks ago with the wife and four children, moved into a little place in Catford,
it’s a bit pokey, you know. – We got another child on the way, probably.
– Yes. (Laughter) I sort of more or less severed all my
connections because of the children, you know. (Laughter) – Yes.
– You know… And I suppose you… you’re rather short of cash? (Laughter) Is the spaghetti not agreeing with you? No, it’s… I said, you’re probably rather short of cash
having given up your job, come here and sold up everything. Yes, a bit short.
A bit on the short side for cash. (Laughter) Now, I imagine… (Laughter and applause) I… imagine, Mr. Moore, that, erm… (Laughter) …rather a lot depends on my decision. – Well…
– Vis-a-vis the cash. – Well, more…
– (Laughter) …more or less, you know,
everything really. – Everything depends on me and my decision.
– It’s an important moment in my career. – Are you enjoying the spaghetti?
– It’s delicious, yes. (Laughter) Oh, I’m so sorry,
I seem to have spilled my spaghetti. The thing about the shows
we’ve done on stage, in any case, together, is that they’ve been very sort of… there were
just the four of us in Beyond The Fringe, and two of us in this show,
and they’re not spectacular by any means. We’ve always had this fantasy of just having
about 30 seconds of 100 girls, 100 Rockettes, dashing across the stage just
for no reason at all, which would be very nice. That’s what was so marvelous
about doing Play It Again Sam, you know, the Woody Allan play,
because there were five or six girls in there and I remember having to audition
about 400, it was lovely. It was one of the most…
exquisite moments of my life. Yes, the best audience I think we’ve played to… The best audiences
have been in Australia and New York. Recently, anyway. Sir Arthur, what is the porpoise
of your visit to Australia? (Laughter) There is no porpoise involved
in my visit to Australia. – I’ve never got involved with a porpoise.
– (Laughter) One of my strictest rules –
never get involved with a porpoise. Whatever you may have read
in the sensational tabloids, I have never become involved
with a porpoise. What I think is happening,
is you’re misreading the word purpose. – (Laughter)
– Oh, yes. You see? The word purpose
which is a totally different kettle of fish. Though of course, ironically enough,
the porpoise is a mammal. It suckles its young. – Like a whale?
– Yes, I’d love a whale, have you got one? (Laughter) The worst audience I’ve ever had was
at Great Yarmouth, the Young Conservatives. They had this awful thing
about you’d come along as members of the Footlights from Cambridge
– you’re hired, you know? Three people come along to do cabaret. The awful thing also, slow hand clapping. Come along, cabaret. – Cabaret!
– Come along, cabaret. You go on and you think
“Jesus, I hate this lot.” And you have to try and be funny. I mean, it was earning a lot of money
in those days… as opposed to now
when the pound is down to rock bottom. It was a lot of money, actually,
but I just disliked them very much. I did a… I did cabaret in Manchester
following wrestling and striptease. That was one of the worst audiences. They
were excellent but my material was very bad. – You weren’t stripping or wrestling, were you?
– Right. I think when we first started Not Only But Also,
we were very relaxed with each other, actually, erm… and that feeling
transmitted itself through the box, and I think that was the most important thing
actually. – (Applause)
– Good evening. This evening we have taken
our Not Only But Also cameras to the heart of London’s West End, where, at a nightclub,
La Maison Sophistiquee, we see the opening
of the great, colored jazz singer Bo Dudley. (Laughter) # Mommy’s got a brand new bag, yeah # Mammy’s got a brand new bag, yeah # We gonna groove it
the whole night long, baby, yeah # We gonna groove it
the whole night long, yeah, baby # We gonna work it out, baby, mm! # We gonna shake it tonight, yeah # Yee-hoo! Freak out there.
# Yeah # I hear you talkin’,
I hear you talkin’ there, baby, yeah # Uptight # Yeah, whoo-oo # Yeah # Well, now, you better turn me on, baby # You burning up, now, yeah,
whoo-hoo # Yee-hoo! # – (Applause)
– Absolutely… – Absolutely terrific.
– Did you like it? Yes, I thought it was tremendous. Now… erm, Bo Dudley, or may I call you Bo? – B-O, call me Bo.
– (Laughter) I think for the benefit of English viewers,
it would be a help if you could actually, erm…
explain some of the lyrics. I think the slang is a little hard to understand. Could we go through the song verse by verse? – I’d be delighted.
– Good. # Momma’s got a brand new bag, yeah # Momma’s got a brand new bag, yeah. – (Laughter)
– Um, this is fairly self-explanatory, isn’t it? It’s a simple story, momma, the sort of
Harlem mother has gone out into the streets and she’s seen this bag which is very nice
and she’s bought it, and that’s it, she’s got a brand new bag. What kind of a bag would that be? Well, of course in the old days
it probably would’ve been a carrier bag, but in these days of scientific advancement,
it’s probably a gaily colored plastic bag. A gaily colored plastic bag
which she’s bought and is brand new, and the song goes on. It goes on # We’re gonna groove it
the whole night long, baby # We are going to groove it
the whole night long, baby. Now, this presumably is a reference to the fact
that the mother having bought the bag, decides to make some indentations on it, to make some grooves on the bag,
a sort of decorative pattern presumably. It’s a darkie decorative process. – Is it?
– Yes. – How is it done, the grooving?
– It’s done with a groover. – With a groover.
– Yes. Of course, in the old days,
when they used to have knife grinders and watermelon sellers in the streets,
you used to have groovers. # Mississippi groovers #
who call out, you know, and… Well, in fact,
it’s now a purely domestic occupation. It’s done by the mama. – By Mama.
– By Mama. By the darkie mama.
We’re going to groove it the whole night long. – It takes a long time.
– It takes a long time to groove these bags. – Baby. It’s for the baby.
– Is it the child’s anniversary? Probably the child’s anniversary
or the first tooth being cut. And so, the bag is grooved by the mother
all night long, it’s a long process? Exactly, and it goes on.
# We’re gonna work it out, baby, mm # – We are going to work it out, baby.
– Mm. Thunderbirds, that’s going back a bit. Again, I think it’s… Well, I think we saw
a Thunderbirds program and then sort of mapped something out
from that. That was probably less improvised,
I can’t remember. Probably less improvised as we were taking
up a style and were led in different directions.Five.Four.Three.Two.Come on, one!One.Superthunderstingcar is gol(Laughter) (Big Ben chimes) Excellent. In a few moments the Houses of Parliament
will be blown to smithereens. You are brilliant, Master Braun. You are an idiot, Clout. Yes, Master Braun. Stand by. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. I think the appeal
of Not Only But Also in England… was very largely based
on the two characters, Dud and Pete, who are basically working-class characters. And I think for a show to be generally popular
in terms of an audience rating, there has to be an element in the show
which is working-class. The Dud and Pete characters
evolved completely by accident, in that we had a sketch
which we were doing about two, I suppose you could describe them,
they’re not Cockneys, but they’re sort of, erm, suburban Londoners, and it’s just a sketch
about these two people sitting in a pub, fantasizing about how they’re molested
by famous film stars. Bloody Greta Garbo clawing at the window
and all that stuff. We just did that as a one-off sketch
and the characters caught on, and so Dud and Pete developed from there. It was an accident. Most things that have
happened in my career have been accidents. That’s the sign of a good painting, Dud. If the eyes follow you round the room,
it’s a good painting. If they don’t, it isn’t. Yeah. Funny you say that, Pete,
cos I was in the bathroom the other day. – Course you were, Dud, I remember that.
– Course I was, Pete. And, I’d the feeling, I’d the feeling of
somebody in the room with me, you know? – I thought funny, you know.
– (Laughter) Bathroom door locked, you know.
Funny, somebody in the room with me. I didn’t see no one coming, I felt these
eyes burning in the back of my head. – Funny, you know.
– (Laughter) So, er… I whipped round like a flash, I see the bloody Laughing Cavalier up there,
having a giggle. – I felt so embarrassed, you know.
– Course you would. I’ll tell you what’s even worse, Dud,
than the Laughing Cavalier. – Can you think of anything worse?
– No. There is something worse than the Laughing
Cavalier, which my Auntie Muriel has. She has the bloody Mona Lisa in her… – No!
…in her toilet, yes. It’s dreadful, that awful sniffy look about her
looking so superior, peering down at you. She looks as if she’s never
been to the lav in her life. (Laughter) That’s the thing about the Laughing Cavalier –
at least he has a giggle, doesn’t he? – He laughs, yeah.
– Yeah. – He don’t sit there all prissy…
– No, mate. No. …disapproving of you.
– Yeah, I know. That’s dreadful.
Have you been down the Rubens? – No.
– You haven’t seen the Rubens? – There’s one over there.
– Is there? Yes, lovely. He does all the fat ladies
with nothing on. Great big fat ladies, yeah, except for a tiny little wisp of gauze,
always lands on the appropriate place. Always the wind blows a little bit of gauze
over you know here, Dud. See it down there, can’t you? Course, you know, it must be
a million to one chance, Pete, that the gauze, you know, lands in the right
place at the right time… when he’s painting. I bet there’s thousands of paintings
that we’re not allowed to see, where the gauze hadn’t landed in…
in the right place. – You know, it’s on your nose or something.
– (Laughter) Well, I suppose if the gauze
landed on the wrong place, Dud, you know, landed on the nose
or the elbow or somewhere unimportant, what Rubens did was put down his paint
and went off to have lunch probably. Yeah, or have a good look, one of the two. (Laughter) Well, anyway, let’s cut this short, and have another look at the two
extraordinarily successful personages. Oh, yes, let’s do that. Oh, they’re lovely. (Both) # Oh, beautiful people
with your wonderful eyes # And your extraordinary noses # Your talents are… # (Applause) # Now it’s time to say goodbye
# Goodbye. # Now’s the time to yield a sigh # Oh, yield that sigh, baby # And now’s the time to wend away # Until we meet again # Some sunny day # # Goodbye, goodbye,
we’re leaving you sweetheart # Goodbye
We wish you a fond goodbye! # Fa ta-ta-ta, fa-ta-ta-ta # Goodbye, goodbye,
We’re leaving you sweetheart… – (Applause)
– # Goodbye # We wish you a fond goodbye… # Oh-ohh # Ohh # Goodbye, goodbye,
we’re leaving you sweetheart # Goodbye
We wish you a fond goodbye # (Peter) Our thanks to
Wanda Clissold and all the girls for all their help in purveying the show. Our special thanks to the Duke of Edinburgh
for not being here and also to that lovely lady in the wardrobe…

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  1. It's a gift from the gods watching Dudley trying to keep things together when he's dying to laugh during a sketch.

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