1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (UK)
1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
14 x 45 minute episodes
7 x 30 minute episodes
2 x 50 minute episodes
This classic comedy series began as a one-off show from jazz musician and comedian Dudley Moore and his Beyond The Fringe partner Peter Cook.
Cook wrote two sketches, one with two tatty characters in cloth caps and raincoats, and the other about a man whose work was to teach ravens to fly underwater. As a result, they were asked to do a series together.
Peter Cook began writing humorous material while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge. It was here that he wrote a revue called Pieces of Eight for Kenneth Williams and also became involved with many of the “Footlights” revues.
It was for one such revue that he created a character by the name of E. L. Wisty, a drably dressed gentleman with colourful ideas of world domination.
He took the character into the hit revue Beyond the Fringe when it played on both London and New York stages. It was here he met Dudley Moore.
Not Only… But Also was a mixture of music and sketches and a segment called ‘Poets Cornered’ which gave the opportunity for comic talents such as Spike Milligan and Barry Humphries to show off their spontaneous rhyming skills under the threat of being dropped into a tank full of gunge – the first appearance of the “gunge tanks” that became such a feature of ‘zany’ quiz shows and children’s programmes in the 1980s.
Other guest stars included Peter Sellers and John Lennon – who appeared as a lavatory attendant (pictured above).
But it was Pete and Dud who were the real stars of the show appearing as two cloth capped philosophers from Dagenham, debating the issues of the day over a sandwich and a pint.
Pete and Dud worked brilliantly together, and although the sketches were mostly scripted they were prone to bouts of ad-libbing, especially from Cook who went out of his way to make his partner break down into fits of laughter.
Many of Pete and Dud’s deadpan conversations started from such an absurd point it was often hard to imagine where the two might end up. In one sketch, Pete tells Dud about his recent nocturnal adventures. “I was lying in bed the other night when I heard tap, tap, tap at the bloody window pane. I looked out – you know who it was? Bloody Greta Garbo!” Their art gallery conversation, offering their views on great artists, epitomises Pete and Dud’s comic brilliance.
It was hailed as the best show to come from BBC2 so far and was so successful that it was quickly repeated on the main channel.
Some classic sketches were The Leaping Nun’s of St Beryl – who resurfaced in the pair’s film Bedazzled (1967) – and a ‘Good vs. Evil’ cricket match.
But perhaps the best-remembered routine is Superthunderstingcar, a wickedly observed spoof of the Gerry Anderson puppet shows (pictured).
Not Only… But Also closed with the song Goodbye-ee which made its way into the Top 20 chart in July 1965, and although the series only lasted two all-too-short seasons it was constantly being revived in one form or another right up until Peter Cook’s untimely death in the mid-90s.
Cook and Moore went on to record three highly obscene comedy albums in the guise of Derek and Clive, but Cook’s increasing drink problem and Moore’s blossoming Hollywood career effectively killed the partnership.