Peter Cook and Dudley Moore first worked together in Beyond The Fringe with Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.
When Beyond The Fringe completed it's last tour, Dudley Moore was offered a BBC Series - Not Only But Also - showcasing his comedy and Music. He brought Peter Cook in as a scriptwriter and occasional performer. Cook's role in the show expanded to equal billing, and the Pete and Dud Dagenham Dialogues were born.
Much of Not Only But Also has been wiped, but the shows that do remain show the two performing together in an irreverent, often improvisational way - a result of not really having time to rehearse, Cook's propensity to go off-script when a new thought came to him, and the devilment in Cook's eyes when he spots a new way to make Dud corpse
Like here (at about 5:25)
Not Only But Also ran for 3 series, but by the end relations between the 2 were strained, primarily due to Peter Cooks increasing un-reliability and increasing alcohol intake.
In 1973, they assembled their best sketches into a revue show - Behind The Fridge - and set off on tour of Australia and USA.
While in America, Peter Cook attempted to smooth relationships with Dudley by booking some time in a studio and the pair just taking some time out to have rambling conversations, a few drinks, and see what happened.
What happened was basically the Dagenham Dialogues peppered with swearing. And so was born the alter egos of Derek and Clive.
Chris Blackwell - Head of Island Records who'd booked the studio for them - gave out Bootleg copies to friends, who passed them on, and passed them on again. When Peter Cook heard about this, he pushed Chris Blackwell to release it commercially (Dudley Moore was a little concerned as it may impact the Hollywood career and image he was looking to build).
For the commercial release, some other sketches were added from their current Stage Show - it's not that they're bad sketches, they just don't flow with the tirade of filth and bad language of the other tracks
(no less funny though)
And so was born the legend of a pair of toilet cleaners discussing philosophy, meeting strangers, and reminiscences of past employment. As the sleeve notes said, they're basically just a couple of c*nts.
The album may not have sold in droves (it did make number 74 on the Australian Album Chart), but was picked up and shared by the many (it was packaged like a bootleg, and it was bootlegs that reached the ears of more than those who actually laid out hard cash).
But it's reception (and reputation) was enough for Pete & Dud to revisit the characters the following year, releasing 'Come Again' and this time finding a place in the Top 20 of the UK Album Chart.
'Come Again' is basically more of the same, but with the shock quotient turned up several notches. It was known that Peter Cook's decent into alcoholism was rampant at this time, and the clanking of glasses and slurred speech on the album suggest that Dudley Moore was in a similar state of inebriation.
The other noticeable thing about the conversations on 'Come Again' as a sign that their working and personal; relationships with each other were strained almost to breaking point - Peter Cook never missing an opportunity to have a dig or snide remark in Dudley's direction.
The third installment of Derek and Clive - 'Ad Nauseum' - came in 1978, and marks the end of their working relationship.
The album itself was effectively recorded sober - as can be seen in the accompanying film (Derek and Clive Get The Horn, released 1979) - and for the most part a happy and cordial affair. But there are moments when Peter Cook cannot stop himself sticking the knife in and going just too far for Dudley Moore's liking.
Towards the end of the recording, and after a particularly spiteful attack - Dudley Moore walks out saying "It's no wonder we're splitting up". And indeed, 'Ad Nauseum' was to be the last joint project they worked on.
But the legacy of Derek and Clive was not over - Peter Cook and Richard Branson had organised for the recording of the album to be filmed, and the resultant film (although not granted an official release due to censorship issues) was put out on video.
Unfortunately, about as many copies of the video were impounded by the Police as were sold to the British public, resulting in the Video company (part funded by Peter Cook) going bankrupt.
It was finally given a proper DVD release in 1993.
I may have listened to the albums too much, but it is difficult to hear the name Jayne Mansfield without raising a smile, questioning inept leadership without asking "is this anyway to run a ballroom", or even listen to Horse Racing commentary.
If there is a true-ism that there is a Monty Python quote for any occasion ("all roads lead to Python"), then many of those same roads (often with a vulgar fork in the road) will also lead to Derek & Clive.
The Worst Job I Ever Had
The Worst Job He Ever Had