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The Goodies

                   
The Goodies
TheGoodies.jpg

The Goodies – (left to right)
Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden
a screenshot from the title sequence
of the BBC TV series

Status: Ended
Nationality: British
Genre: Sketch comedy, Surreal humour
Media
Television, Theatre, Audio Recordings
Years active
(1970–1982; 2005)
Members
Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graeme Garden
Bill Oddie
Notable works
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)
Official website
The Official Goodies Rule – OK!

The Goodies are a trio of British comedians - Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. They created, wrote, and starred in a surreal British television comedy series also called The Goodies during the 1970s and early 1980s combining sketches and situation comedy.

Contents

  Beginnings

The three actors met as undergraduates at Cambridge University where Brooke-Taylor was studying law, Garden was studying medicine, and Oddie was studying English. Their contemporaries included John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle, who later became founding members of Monty Python. This group of students became close friends and Brooke-Taylor and Cleese, who were both law students, but at different colleges within the university, studied together, swapping lecture notes.[1] They all became members of the Cambridge University Footlights Club, with Brooke-Taylor becoming president in 1963, and Garden succeeding him as president in 1964.[1][2]

Garden himself was succeeded as Footlights Club president in 1965 by Idle, who had initially become aware of the Footlights when he auditioned for a Pembroke College "smoker" for Brooke-Taylor and Oddie.

  Career before The Goodies

Brooke-Taylor, Garden and Oddie were cast members of the highly successful 1960s BBC radio comedy show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which also featured Cleese, David Hatch and Jo Kendall, and lasted until 1973. I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again resulted from the successful 1963 Cambridge University Footlights Club revue A Clump of Plinths. After having its title changed to Cambridge Circus, the revue went on to play at West End in London, England, followed by a tour of New Zealand and Broadway in New York, US (including an appearance on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show).

They also took part in various TV shows with other people, including Brooke-Taylor in At Last the 1948 Show (with Cleese, Chapman and Marty Feldman), and Brooke-Taylor taking part in Marty (with Marty Feldman, John Junkin and Roland MacLeod). Garden and Oddie took part in Twice a Fortnight (with Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Jonathan Lynn), before Brooke-Taylor, Garden, and Oddie worked on the late 1960s TV show Broaden Your Mind (of which only about ten minutes survives).

  The Goodies television series

The Goodies television series was created by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

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 music for the show was written by Bill Oddie, and The Goodies' theme music was co-written by Bill Oddie and Michael Gibbs. The show also benefited greatly from the input of director Jim Franklin.

The original BBC television series ran from November 1970 to February 1980 on BBC 2, with 69 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.?).

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.[3][4] 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.

They also presented the Christmas 1976 edition of Disney Time from the toy department of Selfridges store in London, broadcast on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 5.50 pm.

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.

  DVD and VHS releases

  Awards and nominations

A special episode, which was based on the original 1971 Goodies' "Kitten Kong" episode, was called "Kitten Kong: Montreux '72 Edition", and was first broadcast in 1972. The Goodies won the Silver Rose in 1972 for this special episode at the Festival Rose d'Or, held in Montreux, Switzerland. In the first episode of the next series, "The New Office", Tim Brooke-Taylor can be seen painting the trophy gold.

The Goodies also won the Silver Rose in 1975 at the Festival Rose d'Or for their episode "The Movies".

The Goodies was nominated for a BAFTA award in 1975, as the Best Light Entertainment Programme, but lost out to Fawlty Towers.[5]

The Goodies were also nominated for an EMMY award.

  International releases and repeats of the TV series

  Britain

  The Goodies' humour earned it an unfair reputation as a "children's" programme

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[citation needed] (John Howard Davies has stated, on the 'Return of The Goodies' reunion programme, transmitted on BBC2 in 2006, that at that time, he did not want to broadcast any Goodies repeats.) 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 1986 BBC2 broadcast the episode "Kitten Kong" during a week of programmes screened under the banner TV-50, when the BBC celebrated 50 years of Broadcasting.

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 with Network Video 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 (including the Xmas special) was released on Region 2 as The Goodies – The Complete LWT Series on 26 March 2007 and a fourth volume The Goodies ... At Last Back for More, Again was released on region 2 in 2010 as well as a DVD box set containing all four volumes to celebrated 40 years of The Goodies.

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. This special was repeated on BBC Two on 13 November 2010.[6]

Early on in 2006 a single episode Winter Olympics was broadcast on BBC Two but was not followed by any more.

In February 2007, the 1982 LWT series was repeated on pay-TV channel Paramount 2.

In December 2010 BBC Two showed selected late night repeats of the BBC series, which ran nightly from 23–30 December. This apparent gesture followed years of campaigning by The Goodies that the shows had not been repeated like other BBC shows such as Dad's Army and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. The episodes actually shown were: "Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms" / "Earthanasia" / "The Goodies and the Beanstalk" / "Kitten Kong" / "Lighthouse Keeping Loonies" / "Saturday Night Grease" / "The Baddies" (a.k.a. "Double Trouble") and "The Stone Age", although "Scoutrageous", "Kung Fu Kapers" and "Scotland" (a.k.a. "Loch Ness Monster") were originally billed as episodes 1, 2 and 7 of the repeat run. They were shown late at night where they were unlikely to gain many new fans, although they did garner good ratings given their time slot, and the first six episodes were taken from the BBC's own master tapes, rather than the digital remasters, the rights to which are currently owned by Network Video, "The Baddies" and "The Stone Age" have never been digitally remastered.

  Australia

In Australia, the series has had continued popularity. It was repeated through the 1970s and 1980s by the ABC – although, as the show was typically broadcast in the 25-minute 6:00 pm 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 to allow time for commercials 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 Goodies 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 as a black and white film recording, is presented in colour from a 625 line low-band broadcast standard PAL VT recording, made for training purposes, which has had the low level colour boosted. (The original Australian DVD release The Goodies – A Tasty Second Helping (2 disc set) and The Goodies – A Second Helping: 4 tasty serves (1 Disc) featured the b/w telerecording of this episode.)

On Monday, 26 July 2010 the ABC2 Digital Channel commenced re-runs of the series, commencing with the Kitten Kong episode. The programme aired at 8 pm.

  Canada

In Canada, the series was shown in on the CBC national broadcast network during the late 1970s and early 1980s, in the traditional "after school" time slot, later a Friday night 10 pm slot, and occasionally in a midnight slot. Several episodes were also shown on the CTV Television Network and on TVOntario.

  Germany

In Germany in 1972, German TV screened the 13 part variety show Engelbert and the Young Generation a co-production between the BBC and German station ZDF in which The Goodies appeared in short 3 to 4 minute film sequences. The first six films were culled from the first and second series of The Goodies, "Pets" (from "Kitten Kong"), "Pop Festival" (from "The Music Lovers"), "Keep Fit" (from "Commonwealth Games"), "Post Office" (from "Radio Goodies"), "Sleepwalking" (from "Snooze") and "Factory Farm" (from "Fresh Farm Foods") and seven new film sequences, "Good Deed Day", "The Gym", "The Country Code", "Street Entertainers", "Plum Pudding", "Bodyguards" and "Pan's Grannies", these also featured intro sequences with host Engelbert Humperdinck visiting the Goodies at their office. The shows were dubbed into German and because the Goodies part of the shows were more visual than dialogue based, it translated very well.

Five of these new films were also cut together, with a new story involving The Goodies filling out their "Tax Evasion" form, as a special 25 minute Goodies compilation episode, "A Collection of Goodies" was first broadcast on BBC1 at 8.15 pm on 24 September 1972, and was produced by Jim Franklin, "The Country Code" and "Bodyguards" were not used.

  Spain

In Spain, a couple of episodes of The Goodies were shown as part of a season of television-award winning programmes (the Goodies were Montreux Festival winners) on TVE 2 entitled Festival TV in 1981.

  United States

In the US, the series was shown widely in syndication during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has been little seen since. It was shown also on PBS stations, sometimes in tandem with Monty Python's Flying Circus.

  New Zealand

In New Zealand, the series was originally shown in full by the NZBC (later TV One) during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, it has been re-run on SKY Network Television's Comedy Central. [7]

  Goodies books

In their heyday The Goodies also produced successful books:

  • The Goodies File
  • The Goodies Book of Criminal Records
  • The Making of The Goodies Disaster Movie

There has also been a book released about The Goodies entitled The Goodies Superchaps Three which was written by Andrew Pixley. When Tim, Bill and Graeme were originally coming up with names for the program, "Superchaps Three" was suggested, hence the title of the book.

  Goodies songs

The Goodies also had a string of successful chart singles penned by Bill Oddie.

In 1975, they chalked up five hit singles in twelve months including "The Inbetweenies" 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). "Funky Gibbon" has also been a favourite in America on a few of Dr. Demento's radio shows.

  Other collaborations

Tim Brooke-Taylor was a writer/performer on the television comedy series At Last the 1948 Show (which also included John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman in the cast), in which Eric Idle and Bill Oddie guest starred in some of the episodes. The famous "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch was co-written by the four writers/performers of the series – Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman.

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.

Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie were writers/performers on the television comedy series Twice a Fortnight (which also included Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Jonathan Lynn in the cast).

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 also appeared as a television interviewer in the series, in the episode titled "On the Box".

In 1982 Garden and Oddie wrote, but did not perform in, a six-part science fiction sitcom called Astronauts for Central and ITV. The show was set in an international space station in the near future.

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.

  Goodies reunion shows

  2005 Australian reunion shows

The trio reunited in Australia for The Goodies (Still A) Live on Stage as part of Sydney's Big Laugh Comedy Festival in March 2005. The show toured the country, visiting Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra and selling out most of the 13 performances.[8]

A further Australian tour by the Goodies, sans Bill, took place during November and December 2005.[9]

  2006 & 2007 UK reunion shows

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden took their Goodies Live show to the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe festival. The show was similar to the second leg of the Goodies Australian tour, with Bill Oddie participating via video (due to his many filming commitments).[10] The show was also performed at the Paramount Comedy Festival in Brighton in October 2006.[11]

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden performed the show at 22 further UK venues in 2007.[12]

  2009 World's Funniest Island and Riverside

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden appeared at Sydney's Riverside Theatre (Parramatta) on 15 October 2009 and the World's Funniest Island comedy festival on Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour on 17–18 October 2009. The show was hosted by Andrew Hansen of Australian comedy team The Chaser.[13]

  2010 The One Show

The Goodies were once again reunited when the BBC one show, entitled "The One Show", brought them back. It concluded with Tim riding a tandem alone while the others stared / watched.[citation needed]

  Cultural influence

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.

It may be argued that The Goodies' antics brought the traditions of The Goon Show to the television screen without diverting into areas of coarseness or topical satire to the same extent as other British television series like Till Death Us Do Part, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Not Only But Also, Not the Nine O'Clock News or, much later, The Young Ones. There were satirical episodes of The Goodies including: "South Africa" (apartheid) – "Punky Business" (punk) – and "Gender Education" (satirising Mary Whitehouse's influence on television).

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 trandem. The television series premiered in the United States on 28 June 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. Later seasons were also performed for the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2008.[14]

U.S. rock band The White Stripes named their 6th album Icky Thump in reference to The Goodies sketch "The Battle of Ecky Thump". The name was changed from "Ecky Thump" to "Icky Thump" to make the title more palatable to an American teenage audience.[15]

  Honours

All three Goodies now have OBEs. Bill Oddie received his OBE in 2003 for wildlife conservation — while Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden received their OBEs in 2011 for services to light entertainment.[16]

  Fatal effect

On 24 March 1975 Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from King's Lynn, literally died laughing while watching an episode of The Goodies. According to his wife, who was a witness, Mitchell was unable to stop laughing whilst watching a sketch in the episode "Kung Fu Kapers" in which Tim Brooke-Taylor, dressed as a kilted Scotsman, used a set of bagpipes to defend himself from a black pudding-wielding Bill Oddie (master of the ancient Lancastrian martial art "Ecky-Thump") in a demonstration of the Scottish martial art of "Hoots-Toot-ochaye." After twenty-five minutes of continuous laughter Mitchell finally slumped on the settee and died from heart failure. His widow later sent the Goodies a letter thanking them for making Mitchell's final moments so pleasant.[17][18][19][20][21]

In May 2012, Mitchell's granddaughter, Lisa Corke, suffered a heart attack at the age of 23. She was diagnosed with long QT syndrome and the doctors caring for her believe it is likely that Mitchell suffered from the same hereditary condition.[22]

  Foetal effect

On 1 November 1977 Seema Bakewell, a 32-year old housewife from Leicester, went into labour whilst laughing at a sketch in The Goodies' episode "Alternative Roots". She refused to leave home for the hospital until the episode had finished. 30 years later, she visited the 2007 UK reunion tour with "her baby, Ayesha, and the baby's husband" and recounted the story to Graeme Garden.[23][24]

  See also

  References

  1. ^ a b From Fringe to Flying Circus – 'Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960–1980' – Roger Wilmut, Eyre Methuen Ltd, 1980.
  2. ^ Footlights! – 'A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy' – Robert Hewison, Methuen London Ltd, 1983.
  3. ^ The Goodies Still Alive on Stage – the Official Souvenir Program – Australian Tour 2002
  4. ^ "The Penguin TV Companion" (2nd Edition) – Jeff Evans, Penguin Books Ltd., London, 2003
  5. ^ Best Light Entertainment Programme – information given by official BAFTA website
  6. ^ BBC Two Programmes – Return of the Goodies
  7. ^ "The Goodies | Show | Comedy Central New Zealand". Comedycentral.co.nz. http://www.comedycentral.co.nz/shows/the-goodies. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  8. ^ "Laughs to the Power of Three" – Sydney Morning Herald
  9. ^ "The Second Australian Tour" – The Goodies official website
  10. ^ Goodies Live Show at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival – The Goodies official website
  11. ^ Paramount Comedy Festival in Brighton – The Goodies official website
  12. ^ The Official Goodies Rule – OK! Fan Club Website FAQ
  13. ^ World's Funniest Island website
  14. ^ McKenzie, Ben. "Shaolin Punk >> A Record or an OBE". http://shaolinpunk.net/a-record-or-an-obe/. Retrieved 31 October 2007. 
  15. ^ "Interview with Jack White". Later with Jools Holland. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FsuLU_8gAU. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  16. ^ OBEs all round - Goodies pair honoured
  17. ^ Death by Laughing
  18. ^ The Complete Goodies – Robert Ross, B T Batsford, London, 2000.
  19. ^ Man Dies Laughing at The Goodies, "Daily Mail", London (29 March 1975)
  20. ^ A Goodies Way to Go – Laughing, "Eastern Daily Press", Norwich (29 March 1975)
  21. ^ Slapstick! The Illustrated Story of Knockabout Comedy – Tony Staveacre, Angus & Robinson 1987
  22. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2162102/Doctors-solve-mystery-man-died-laughter-watching-The-Goodies-granddaughter-nearly-dies-rare-heart-condition.html?ITO=1490
  23. ^ Graeme Garden's tour blog, 26 April 2007
  24. ^ The Goodies: Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 6 November 2010

  Further reading

  • The Complete Goodies – Robert Ross, B T Batsford, London, 2000
  • The Goodies Rule OK – Robert Ross, Carlton Books Ltd, Sydney, 2006
  • TV Heaven – Jim Sangster & Paul Condon, HarperCollinsPublishers, London, 2005

"The Goodies Superchaps Three" - Andrew PIxley, 2011

  External links

   
               

 

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