The comedians' comedian

Peter Cook tops poll

Peter Cook was last night named the world’s greatest comedy star – by his peers and successors

He topped the Channel 4 poll of Coemdians' Comedians ahead of John Cleese, Woody Allen and Eric Morecambe.

The list is dominated by British talent, although American acts were canvassed for their opinions, too.

Cook’s dominance comes amid a flurry of renewed interest in the star. Channel 4 broadcast a film about his turbulent relationship with Dudley Moore last week, both Radios 2 and 4 have broadcast shows about him, and two books of his writing have been published.

Even as his name was unveiled at the top of the chart on Channel 4 last night, ITV1 was screening a South Bank Show dedicated to lost Pete and Dud programmes.

However, Dudley failed to make the top 50.

Women also fared badly, with only four female acts making the grade:  Victoria Wood at 27, followed by French and Saunders at 31, Joan Rivers at 40 and Joyce Grenfell at 41.

Among those paying tribute to Cook were Austin Powers star Mike Myers, who said: "I didn't know dirty words could be done that artfully."

Arthur Smith added: "He had talent oozing out of him and he hardly had to exert himself as he was so brilliantly funny.

"He influenced a whole generation of people - even now he's spoken of in terms of awe."

And Greg Proops said: "There's a kind of insanity which is in his eyes, and that's where all the magic is, in thatevil, evil brilliant devil."

The full results were:

1. Peter Cook
2. John Cleese
3. Woody Allen
4. Eric Morecambe
5. Groucho Marx
6. Tommy Cooper
7. Laurel and Hardy
8. Billy Connolly
9. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer
10. Richard Pryor
11. Chris Morris
12. Tony Hancock
13. Bill Hicks
14. Peter Sellers
15. Steve Martin
16. Ronnie Barker
17. Steve Coogan
18. Charlie Chaplin
19. Eddie Izzard
20. Paul Merton
21. Eric Idle
22. Peter Kay
23. Larry David
24. Rowan Atkinson
25. Bob Hope
26. Harry Hill
27. Victoria Wood
28. Spike Milligan
29. Christopher Guest
30. Michael Palin
31. French and Saunders
32. Eddie Murphy
33. Bob Monkhouse
34. Rik Mayall
35. Steven Wright
36. Ken Dodd
37. Les Dawson
38. Chic Murray
39. Stephen Fry
40. Joan Rivers
41. Joyce Grenfell
42. Phil Silvers
43. Jackie Mason
44. Eric Sykes
45. Robin Williams
46. Paul Whitehouse
47. Bill Cosby
48. Mike Myers
49. Ricky Gervais
50. Mel Brooks

Published: 1 Dec 2004

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