The Goodies — (left to right) |
Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden
a screenshot from the title sequence
of the BBC TV series
|Genre: Sketch comedy, Surreal humour|
|Television, Theatre, Audio Recordings|
| Tim Brooke-Taylor |
| The Goodies television series (1970-1982) |
The Goodies — stage shows (2005-)
| Other notable works |
(starring all three Goodies)
| I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (1964-1973) (25th anniversary special 1989) |
Broaden Your Mind (1968)
|The Official Goodies Rule — OK!|
Graeme Garden was himself succeeded as the Footlights Club president in 1965 by Eric Idle, who had initially become aware of the Footlights Club when he auditioned for a Pembroke College "smoker" for Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie.
They also took part in various TV shows with other people, including Tim Brooke-Taylor in At Last the 1948 Show (with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman), and Tim Brooke-Taylor taking part in Marty (with Marty Feldman, John Junkin and Roland MacLeod). Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie took part in Twice a Fortnight (with Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Jonathan Lynn), before Tim, Bill and Graeme worked on the late 1960s TV show Broaden Your Mind (of which only about ten minutes survives).
The episodes for the series were originally co-written by all three Goodies (Tim, Graeme and Bill). Later, the episodes were co-written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.
The television series ran from November 1970 to February 1982 on BBC 2, with 70 episodes, mostly thirty minutes in length except for two forty-five minute Christmas specials (The Goodies and the Beanstalk and The Goodies Rule – O.K.?). The costume designer for this episode was famous BBC costume designer Dee Robson.
It was one of the first shows in the UK to use chroma key and one of the first to use stop-motion techniques in a live action format. Other effects include hand editing for repeated movement, mainly used to make animals "talk" or "sing", and play speed effects as used in the episode "Kitten Kong".
The threesome travelled around on, and frequently fell off, a three-seater bicycle called the trandem. One of these trandems was later cycled across Africa, a trip immortalised in the resultant book Three Men on a Bike.
Although The Goodies are well known for performing spectacular but comedic stunts, it was Tim Brooke-Taylor who performed most of them.
The Goodies never had a formal contract with the BBC, and when the BBC Light Entertainment budget for 1980 was exhausted by the production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy TV series, they signed a contract with London Weekend Television for ITV. However, after one half-hour Christmas special ("Snow White 2") in 1981, and a six-part series in early 1982, the series was cancelled. In recent interviews the cast suggest the reasons were mainly economic — a typical Goodies sketch was more expensive than it appeared.
Unlike most long-running BBC comedy series, The Goodies has not enjoyed extensive repeats on terrestrial television in the UK, the BBC refusing to allow them since 1986 because the controller of the BBC during the 1980s did not personally like the series. Because the series appeals to children for its visual humour, in Britain it is often incorrectly described as a children's programme. Therefore, the series has never enjoyed the same artistic respect as contemporaries such as Peter Cook and the Monty Python team. Also, when the BBC released two videos of the series in the 1990s, the BBC did not seem enthusiastic about promoting them.
In the late 1980s, the pan-European satellite-channel Super Channel broadcast a couple of episodes and the short-lived Comedy Channel broadcast some of the later Goodies episodes in the early 1990s. Later UK Gold screened many of the earlier episodes, often with commercial timing cuts. The same episodes subsequently aired on UK Arena, also cut. When UK Arena became UK Drama, later UKTV Drama, The Goodies was dropped along with its other comedy and documentary shows.
The cast finally took matters into their own hands and arranged for the release of a digitally-remastered "best of" selection entitled The Goodies ... At Last on VHS and Region 0 DVD in April, 2003. A second volume, The Goodies ... At Last a Second Helping was released on Region 2 in February, 2005. Series 9 was released on Region 2 as The Goodies - The Complete LWT Series on 26 March 2007.
They also presented the Christmas 1976 Disney Time from the toy department of Selfridges store in London. It was broadcast on Boxing Day at 5.50pm.
In 2004, an episode of the BBC documentary series Comedy Connections was devoted to the Goodies.
Christmas 2005 saw a 90-minute Goodies special, including a documentary about the series, Return of the Goodies, broadcast on BBC Two. However, only clips of the series were shown, rather than any full episodes.
In February 2007, the 1982 LWT series was repeated on pay-TV channel Paramount 2.
In Australia, the series has had continued popularity and many Australians are surprised to learn of its absence from British screens. It was repeated through the 1970s and 1980s by the ABC — although, as the show was typically broadcast in the 25-minute 6:00 p.m. children's timeslot, portions often had to be cut. The LWT series was played once on Seven in the early eighties, and the BBC episodes were heavily edited when repeated on Ten in the 1990s. The unedited episodes were repeated frequently on the pay television channel UK.TV during the 1990s and early 2000s. The DVDs are available in Australia under different titles to the UK releases: The Goodies: 8 Delicious Episodes, The Goodies: A Tasty Second Helping and The Goodies: The Final Episodes, respectively. The Goodies' DVDs are also available in a box set with a commemorative booklet (The Goodies: The Tasty Box). This collection contains the same 16 episodes as the original two DVD releases but with additional material such as commentaries on several episodes and the original scripts of some episodes in PDF format. Picture quality has been greatly improved using digital restoration techniques and the episode Come Dancing, which was originally thought to only have survived in black and white, is presented in low-band colour from a chroma-keyed video recording. The Comedy Channel Picked up the rights to The Goodies. These started Sunday 25 November 2007, at 10pm AEST as part of the Best of British Comedy Block, and again on Sunday 2 December 2007, then from Monday. The Goodies move to the 4pm timeslot on Mondays-Fridays, excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Years Eve.
In 1975, they chalked up five hit singles in twelve months including "The Imbetweenies" and "Funky Gibbon" (both songs are performed during the episode "The Goodies – Almost Live".
"Funky Gibbon" reached number 4 in the charts in Britain, and The Goodies made an appearance on Top of the Pops with the song. They also performed it during the Amnesty International show A Poke in the Eye (with a Sharp Stick).
Tim Brooke-Taylor was a cast member of the television comedy series Marty with Marty Feldman and John Junkin — a compilation of the two series of Marty has been released on a DVD with the title of It's Marty.
Brooke-Taylor was also a cast member of John Cleese's special How to Irritate People.
Along with John Junkin and Barry Cryer, Brooke-Taylor was a regular cast member of the long running Radio 2 comedy sketch show Hello, Cheeky!, which ran from 1973 to 1979. The series also transferred to Yorkshire Television for two series in 1975 and 1976.
Tim Brooke-Taylor also appeared on BBC's hospital comedy TLC, as well as the sitcoms You Must Be The Husband (with Diane Keen and Sheila Steafel), and Me and My Girl (with Richard O'Sullivan and Joan Sanderson). He also played in a televised pro-celebrity golf match opposite Bruce Forsyth.
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden were writers/performers on the television comedy series Broaden Your Mind, with Bill Oddie joining them for the second series.
The three writers and performers also collaborated on the 1983 animated children's programme Bananaman, where they played various (voice) roles.
Bill Oddie has occasionally appeared on the BBC Radio 4 panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, on which Garden and Brooke-Taylor are regular panellists.
Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie worked on the television comedy Doctor in the House: they co-wrote most of the first series and all of the second.
Garden was a regular team captain on the political satire game show If I Ruled the World. Brooke-Taylor appeared as a guest in one episode, and during the game "I Couldn't Disagree More" he proposed that it was high time The Goodies episodes were repeated. Garden was obliged by the rules of the game to refute this statement, and replied "I couldn't disagree more...it was time to repeat them ten, fifteen years ago." This was followed by uproarious applause from the studio audience.
In 2004, Garden and Brooke-Taylor were co-presenters of Channel 4's daytime game show Beat the Nation, in which they indulged in usual game show "banter", but took the quiz itself seriously. Oddie hosts a very successful series of nature programmes for the BBC.
A further Australian tour by the Goodies, sans Bill, took place during November and December 2005.
The show was performed at the Paramount Comedy Festival in Brighton in October
The Goodies appealed to adults on an intellectual level, and also had a level of appeal to children as a consequence of its visual humour and slapstick. Although there are similarities to the television series The Monkees, with the group members employing music, slapstick comedy, bad puns and camera tricks; and all living in the same house together and working together — a tradition also borne out of the films of The Beatles — The Goodies owes nothing to either. Instead, the comedy of The Goodies originated with the Cambridge University Footlights Club's revues.
The Official Goodies fan club's (Goodies Rule-OK!) newsletter, is called the Clarion & Globe. It was named after the newspaper in The Goodies' episode "Fleet Street Goodies" (a.k.a. "Cunning Stunts").
During the 1970s Cor!! comic, released by Fleetway publications, had a Goodies comics strip. When the comic later merged with Buster, the Goodies did not move across, although the TV show was still running.
Stella, an American trio, has a show on Comedy Central that is very similar to The Goodies in terms of basic plot line — with the trio even riding a tandem. The television series premiered in the United States on June 28, 2005.
Australian rock band Spiderbait released an album and EP that had a rocked up fast cover version of the Goodies song "Run".
Australian theatre company Shaolin Punk produced a short play titled "A Record or an OBE", written by Melbourne comedian and actor Ben McKenzie, and featuring Tim and Graeme as characters. Set in 1975, the two remaining Goodies struggle to carry on after Bill leaves the group to pursue a music career. The play premiered in the 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival, where it was highly commended in the Comedy category, and will also be performed for the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2008.
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