Peter Cook - Greek Street, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.836 W 000° 07.846
30U E 699081 N 5710882
Quick Description: This City of Westminster green plaque, to the comedian Peter Cook, is attached to a building on the north east side of Greek Street.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/10/2015 10:43:34 AM
Waymark Code: WMNW70
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 1

Long Description:

Wikipedia has an article about The Establishment that tells us:

The Establishment was a London nightclub which opened in October 1961, at 18 Greek Street, Soho and which became famous in retrospect for satire although at the time was more notable for jazz and other events. It was founded by Peter Cook and Nicholas Luard, both of whom were also important in the history of the magazine Private Eye. The name "The Establishment" is a play on the meaning of "establishment" as in "institution," i.e. the club itself, and the broader definition meaning the prevailing social order of the time, which the satirists who founded, funded and performed at the club typically undermined. Peter Cook called it "the only good title I ever came up with."

The venue allowed the opportunity for budding comedians and satirists to perform new material in a nightclub setting, outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Chamberlain, whose censorship of language and content was a problem for many performers. Some who appeared included Lenny Bruce in 1962 (subsequently banned from entering the UK a year later), Barry Humphries (as Edna Everage), and musically, The Dudley Moore Trio. The Establishment, a tie-in album of comedy routines and sketches featuring John Bird, John Fortune, Eleanor Bron and Jeremy Geidt, was released on the Parlophone label in 1963.

A second club was established in New York in 1963. However, both folded after only a few years. The Establishment in London closed in 1964.

In March 2008, the site of the club was renamed Zebrano's but after a small group of Peter Cook devotees, Sally Western, Jonathan Hansler and Robert Ross, pressured the management for some recognition of the old club's importance in satire, the owners agreed to place "The Establishment" in writing above the door. A green plaque was also positioned above the door by Westminster City Council after campaigning by the group.

The Establishment was referenced in the book Stop-Time by author Frank Conroy. The book is a semi-autobiographical account of Conroy's own life, and he mentions getting drunk at The Establishment, and then racing his car home to his apartment outside London while he was living in England with his wife in the '60s. The Establishment also featured briefly in the semi-fictional Peter Cook and Dudley Moore biopic Not Only But Always; seen only in an exterior shot, it bore no resemblance to 18 Greek Street and it is unclear whether it was an actual building or a film set.

The Biography website tells us about Peter Cook:

Synopsis

Born in England in 1937, comedian and actor Peter Cook first achieved prominence as one of the writers and performers of the British comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe (1959-1964), as well as its sequel, Behind the Fridge (1971-72). Cook invented the stage character E.L. Wisty, a forlorn figure perplexed by the complexities of life. He later collaborated with Dudley Moore on the irreverent TV series Not Only... But Also. Cook died in London in 1995, at age 57.

Background

Famed comedian, actor, satirist and writer Peter Edward Cook was born in Torquay, Devon, England, on November 17, 1937. Cook gained an early education at the independent boarding school Radley College before studying at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, where he became a member of the prestigious Footlights Club, of which he was later named president.

Cook first achieved prominence as one of the writers and performers of the British comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe (1959-1964), which was adapted for a television movie in 1964. He cemented that fame with a sequel revue, Behind the Fridge (1971-72), which—like its predecessor—was made into a memorable TV movie (1971). Cook starred alongside Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett and Dudley Moore in both revues' London and New York productions. Cook's and Moore's comic partnership would prove most binding, however, as the two went on to work side-by-side for several years thereafter.

'Derek & Clive'

From 1965 to 1970, Cook collaborated with Moore on the irreverent TV series Not Only... But Also. The two later formed a comedy duo/routine known as "Derek & Clive," with Moore playing Derek and Cook playing Clive. Together they released three comedic records in the 1970s: Derek and Clive (Live) (1976), Derek and Clive Come Again (1977) and Derek and Clive Ad Nauseam (1978). (More than three decades later, in 2011, a greatest hits album honoring the famous duo entitled Rude & Rare The Best of Derek and Clive would be released.)

Legacy

Cook is perhaps best known for inventing the stage character E.L. Wisty, a fictional, forlorn, know-it-all figure perplexed by the complexities of life; Cook played the character several times throughout his career.

Cook made regular film appearances, as well, notably in The Bed Sitting Room (1970) and The Princess Bride (1987)—in which he respectively played an inspector and a clergyman—and was long associated with the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Peter Cook died on January 9, 1995, in Hampstead, London, England, after suffering from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. He was 57 years old.

Blue Plaque managing agency: City of Westminster

Individual Recognized: Peter Cook

Physical Address:
18 Greek Street
London, United Kingdom


Web Address: [Web Link]

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