By Will Barber – Taylor
Narrated by British comedy legend Dawn French, Gold’s affectionate new series continues as the spotlight turns. This episode tells the fascinating story of the double act that changed the face of British comedy. Although straight from the Oxbridge Footlights set Pete and Dud were irreverent, surreal and controversial and at the forefront of the new satire and alternative comedy boom of the 1960s; they left behind a golden legacy of comedy that has stood the test of time.
Like the documentary about Kenneth Williams for The Interviews strand, the episode based around Peter Cook and Dudley Moore is far from an in depth look at their work. Aside from the perhaps inaccurate portrayal of how Cook and Moore’s much disliked creations (not just by people who knew them well but also by the performers themselves) Derek and Clive were received, the documentary is, of course, a clip show so doesn’t have the nitty gritty elements of both men’s personalities. For more in depth looks at both of them, Harry Thompson’s excellent biography of Cook would be a good place to start.
However, what the documentary manages to demonstrate, through its use of various interviews and an audio section from Cook’s failed TV interview series, is that both Cook and Moore were troubled, but very funny people. They come across as genuine, fractured but all too human. It contrasts incredibly from the rather distasteful and unfunny version of the two men shown in Channel Four’s panned Not Only But Always. There is also equal emphasis on both members of the duo, with no overate focus on Cook as opposed to Moore. The documentary also illuminates wonderfully Moore’s incredible musical gift and shows that he did not just use it for the purposes of comedy but for other things as well.
Overall, The Interviews: Pete and Dud is a heartfelt look at two of Britain’s greatest comedic duos and the relationship they had. It may not be the most in depth look at the pair’s complex and, at times, bitter relationship but it is none the less entertaining and shows them at their best which is being funny.
The Interviews: Pete and Dud will be broadcast on Gold on Wednesday the 22nd of July at 9pm. With thanks to UKTV.