There are those who say - and Peter Cook himself was among them - that most of his humour was autobiographical. Others - and Peter Cook himself was among them -contend that this simply isn't the case. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle.
Peter Cook made President Kennedy wait in line to see him and visited Elizabeth Taylor in her dressing room. He befriended tramps and fundraised for CND. He was capable of extraordinary kindnesses and occasional cruelties. He helped define comedy and satire for a generation, but ended his life a recluse. Harry Thompson has produced the first ever comprehensive biography of this influential and fascinating subject who came up with some of the funniest sketches and greatest jokes of all time.
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
Lively and penetrating - Independent on Sunday
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.