COMEDY
05/09/2012 12:36 BST | Updated 05/11/2012 05:12 GMT

Why This Country Needs Satire More Than Ever

It is a surprise, and rather a pleasant one, that The Establishment club is to make a muted return to Soho over 50 years after its brief and heady success under the proprietorship of Peter Cook and Nick Luard. Towards the end of his life, Cook had mentioned that he would like to revive The Establishment, and now, thanks to his widow Lin, the writer Victor Lewis-Smith and comedian Keith Allen, Ronnie Scott's is to run a series of late-night shows featuring "hard-core comedy and cabaret".

Our smug culture needs a shot of satire every bit as badly as did the Britain of 1961. At that time, the country was run by a dreary, be-suited, public school-educated and apparently respectable elite. The rigid class culture of the post-war years was crumbling, even before the derisive raspberry of youthful comedy helped change it forever.