Peter was born in Walsall in the West Midlands in 1946. His name at the time of his birth was Peter Frederick George Cook. His father Arthur Cook was a gardener and his mother Grace worked for the local Police. Whilst attending the Edward Shelley School in Walsall, he took part in a school play and this inspired him to become an actor. He trained at the Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art between 1962-65. On leaving college his first job was with the Unicorn Children's Theatre, touring the north of England and Scotland, finally being based at the New Arts Theatre club in London. Due to the existence of the comedian Peter Cook, Peter changed his professional name to Peter Corey. He later changed his name by deedpoll, having apparently become confused by having two surnames. After working in a number of repertory theatres, including Crewe for two years, he was appointed Young People's Theatre Director at The Connaught Theatre, Worthing. It was at Worthing where he first started writing plays. He then took a similar role at the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, where he stayed for eight years. In 1981 he played the famous comedian Tony Hancock in a TV play that he wrote himself for BBC2. He spent several years working with the Junior Television Workshop at Central (later Carlton) Television in Nottingham. This led to him writing TV scripts and books, including TV versions of his book series 'Coping with ..' which won several awards. Peter continues to act and write, as well as touring the world talking about his work and providing writing and acting workshops. He also works as a stand-up comedian. He has worked extensively with learndirect as a writer, and has contributed titles to OUP's new reading scheme Project X. In 2009, he wrote a book for Quatar's National Day celebrations called 'The Pearl'.
Twice married and divorced, Peter lives in Manston, Kent, where he teaches drama, acts, writes, works as a school governor and even writes the weekly quiz for his local pub.
Peter has written 30 books to date, the most enduring (1989–2002) being his book series Coping With... which are designed to be useful, containing tips on how to 'Cope' with certain subjects as well as being amusing. Two distinguishing features of these books are: a complete A-Z of subjects (often with non-existent subjects for letters Q,V,X,Y and Z such as 'Zee end bit'), and heavy use of humorous footnotes, often with funny 'background information' about a subject.
The titles in the series are (in order):
- Coping With Parents (1989, ISBN 0-590-76140-4)
- Coping With Teachers (1991, ISBN 0-590-76485-3)
- Coping With Girls/ Boys (co-written with Kara May) (1992, ISBN 0-590-55044-6)
- Coping With School (1993, ISBN 0-590-55279-1)
- Coping With The Family (1994, ISBN 0-590-55524-3)
- Coping With Pets (1995, ISBN 0-590-55838-2)
- Coping With Friends (1996, ISBN 0-590-13183-4)
- Coping With Love (1997, ISBN 0-590-13446-9)
- Coping With Exams and Tests (1998, ISBN 0-590-19683-9)
- Coping With The 21st Century (1999, ISBN 0-590-11192-2)
- Coping With Christmas (1999, ISBN 0-439-01187-6)
- Coping With Cash (2000, ISBN 0-439-01015-2)
- Coping With 1999 (a diary)
His other books include The A-Z of Absolutely Everything, The Life and Times of Cristóbal Colón; Columbus Exposed (a semi-accurate biography of Christopher Columbus, 1992, ISBN 0-590-55108-6), Palace Hill the Book (A book version of the Palace Hill TV series) and The Number 73 annual (An annual of a TV series, 1985). More recently he has written a book for the American market - "Running for the bus", plus two titles for the Oxford University Press reading scheme Project X. He has also written a number of projects for learndirect including one entitled Where did the river go?,which is aimed at adults and children with reading and numeracy issues.
Work on camera
Peter Corey is also an actor, featuring in dramas and soap operas.
In Brookside, he played "Freddie Spence" for two years. He also featured in EastEnders for six months playing "Vic the Crusher", who was an extortionist. Peter also played Mr. Prout in One Foot in the Grave.
His other roles include:
Work for the camera
Peter's Coping With Books have been transformed into a number of TV shows, starting as a one-off called "Coping with Grown-Ups" in 1994, followed by "Coping with Christmas" in 1995, and a six-part series; (Holidays, School, Cool, Relatives, Girls, Boys) over the 1997-1998 Christmas Holiday. He has written approximately 200 hours of Television, mostly for children. Among these have been several comedies, including:
- Your Mother Wouldn't Like It (A children's sketch show)
- Palace Hill (A comedy about the younger royals e.g. Princes William and Harry)
- The Comedy Crowd (A one-off comedy sketch show)
- Cue Gary (Observational sketch show)
A large amount of his TV work has involved puppets. This has included:
The DJ Kat Show - Sky Television
Sooty Heights - Sooty Films and Granada Television
Rainbow Thames Television
ZZZap! - Writer for the 'Cuthbert Lilly' Sketches - The Media Merchants
Work on stage
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