A long-lost recording of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s radio comedy based on the Bible has been found.
The recording – made in 1964 – called The Dead Sea Tapes was pulled over fears it would break blasphemy laws in the US and UK.
The tapes were found among a number of unaired recordings in the attic at Cook’s old house in London. They will now be including as part of a BBC Four documentary called The Undiscovered Peter Cook.
The Dead Sea Tapes sketches included the recollections of acquaintances of Jesus – such as his tailors – who did not make it into the Bible.
One sketch involves a conversation between doctors about how Jesus’ ability to preform miracles was bad for business.
Moore’s character says: “I went round to Lazarus’s mother and I said Your son, Madam, is absolutely incurable,” and the next moment this fellow was round, cured the boy in a flash and left me looking absolutely ridiculous. I couldn’t get another call for weeks you see.”
Producer Victor Lewis-Smith – who discovered the recording – wrote in the Radio Times that the show had briefly been advertised in the American press before being pulled over fears of breaking blasphemy laws.
“Such laws were still strictly enforced in those days, although now the religious satire seems fairly mild, even affectionate,” Lewis-Smith wrote.
The Undiscovered Peter Cook airs on BBC Four on November 16.