That's not my Pete...

Cook's widow slams 'bitter' film

Peter Cook’s widow has slammed a new Channel 4 film for portraying the comic as a bad-tempered drunk.

Lin says her husband was not the jealous, bitter monster as portrayed in Not Only, But Always, and that some of the scenes in the film are simply inaccurate.

She told the Sunday Times:  “Of course Peter drank, but I can assure you that in the 12 years I was with him he was off the drink for long periods.

“And the film doesn’t reflect the kind side, which all his friends know was what he was like.”

The film, which will be shown on Channel 4 at Christmas, shows Cook throwing a TV  through a window when he sees Dudley Moore on screen canoodling with women, a scene Lin says probably didn’t happen. It also shows her finding him dead on the kitchen floor in 1995, when in fact he spent a week in hospital before he died.

Lin made her criticisms even after producers agreed to alter the final, downbeat, reel of the film  on her advice, to give a more ‘uplifting’ ending

Another friend, Adrian Slade, told the paper: “The film shows too much of an unrelentingly waspish side of Peter. He was mocking but not nasty. He really was a very nice man and certainly very generous.

 “The film is rather simplistic. It has Peter as the devil and Dudley as a little saint.”

However, despite the flaws in its accuracy, both Lin and Adrian agree the film is well-written and well acted.

In another interview, Notting Hill star Rhys Ifans, who plays Cook, says he obsessively researched the role, and concluded that the comic was an essentially lonely man.

He told Scotland on Sunday: “I read everything on him, and watched everything. I could go on Mastermind and talk about him.

“I became acutely aware of his loneliness as a man and a performer. Especially for a comedian like that, it is such a solitary existence - particularly when he and Dud went their separate ways... how brutalising that loneliness was for him. Quite possibly that was what killed him.”

Published: 21 Nov 2004

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