Graeme Garden in 2006, during a recording of You'll Have Had Your Tea
|Birth name||David Graeme Garden|
18 February 1943 |
|Medium||Stand-up, radio, stage, television|
|Notable works and roles||I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (1965–1973)
Twice a Fortnight (1967)
Broaden Your Mind (1968–1969)
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (1972–)
Early life and beginnings in comedy
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, he grew up in Preston, England. Garden was educated at Repton School, and studied medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he joined the prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Club (of which he became President in 1964), and performed with the 1964 Footlights revue, Stuff What Dreams Are Made Of at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
I don't think I would have done it as well. It's an interesting question – whether you've contributed more to the vast store of human enjoyment by doing comedy or by being a doctor, but the answer for me is that I don't think I would have been as successful or as happy being a doctor.
Garden and Bill Oddie co-wrote many episodes of the television comedy series Doctor in the House, including most of the first series episodes, and all of the second series episodes - as well as co-writing episodes of the subsequent Doctor at Large and Doctor in Charge series. Later, Garden also wrote for Surgical Spirit (1994). Graeme Garden has also presented three series of the BBC's health magazine Bodymatters.
Garden was co-writer and performer in the classic BBC radio comedy show, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (ISIRTA) (1965–1970, and 1973). Garden was studying medicine during the early seasons of I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, and this commitment made it difficult for him to be a member of the cast during the third season because of a midwifery medical course in Plymouth. However, he kept on sending scripts for the radio show by mail – and rejoined the cast of ISIRTA upon his return to his medical studies in London. On several occasions his medical qualifications are lampooned; in the 25th Anniversary Show, David Hatch asks him if he's still a writer. Garden: "Here's something I wrote this morning". Hatch: "It's a prescription". "Yes," says Garden, "but it's a funny one...".
1970s and The Goodies
Garden, along with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, became a co-writer and performer in the comedy series The Goodies (1970–1982). Later, he was the voice of the title character in Bananaman (1983), in addition to General Blight and Maurice of the Heavy Mob in the children's animated television comedy series, which also featured the rest of the Goodies team. The series parodied comic book super-heroes.
In 1982 Garden and Oddie wrote, but did not perform in, a 6-part science fiction sitcom called Astronauts for Central which was shown on ITV. The show was set in an international space station in the near future.
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Graeme Garden is a permanent panellist on the long-running BBC Radio improvisation show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (ISIHAC) in a cast which includes Tim Brooke-Taylor. He also stars in and co-writes You'll Have Had Your Tea, a direct spin-off of ISIHAC, and has contributed to several books from the series including guides to the game Mornington Crescent.
Garden has a successful stage career, and has acted in several National Theatre productions, as well as London's West End. He has also acted in several BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series, and television drama including Peak Practice and Holby City. He appeared in Bang-Bang-a-Boom!, a spin-off audio drama based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who by Big Finish Productions. Garden appeared with Tim Brooke-Taylor in the theatre production The Unvarnished Truth.
Garden wrote a play called The Pocket Orchestra which ran in London from 26 April 2006 till 20 May 2006.
Garden appeared in the political sitcom, Yes Minister in the role of Commander Forrest of the Special Branch in the episode The Death List, as well as appearing as a Television Presenter in the Doctor in the House episode, Doctor on the Box.
He 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."
Garden wrote for and appeared with Barry Cryer and Alison Steadman in the 1989 BBC radio comedy sketch show The Long Hot Satsuma. In 2001 and 2002, Garden wrote for and appeared in the BBC radio comedy sketch show The Right Time, along with Eleanor Bron, Paula Wilcox, Clive Swift, Roger Blake, and Neil Innes. He was also script editor for The Hudson and Pepperdine Show.
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. It was notable for its use of a "laugh track" instead of a studio audience, unusual for a quiz show.
Garden is chair of the spoof radio game show Beat The Kids. He has also appeared on the UK version of the television series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which has a similar format. He was a co-writer of the BBC Radio 4 comedy Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off.
Graeme is also patron of the disability charity ENRYCH – formerly Ryder-Cheshire Volunteers. The charity works to enable adults with a physical disability to enjoy culture, leisure, learning and sporting opportunities through partnership with a volunteer.
Graeme Garden's voice was featured in the irreverent animated comedy series about a horrifically bad London comprehensive high school, Bromwell High beginning in 2006.
In August 2006, Garden and Brooke-Taylor joined up to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe in a show which looked back with some nostalgia to their work with the Goodies and in light entertainment.
He also appeared on the comedy quiz show QI in November 2006.
Garden has also played a minor role in the 2007 television adaptation of Agatha Christie's 'Nemesis'.
Garden has appeared in two of Big Finish's Doctor Who audio dramas playing a parodic character. In Bang-Bang-a-Boom! he plays Professor Fassbinder, a parody of Victor Bergman in Space: 1999. In Max Warp he plays TV presenter Geoffrey Vantage, parodying Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson (this episode broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on 26 October 2008). He also plays Abbot Thelonious alias the Meddling Monk in the Eighth Doctor audio play The Book of Kells in 2010, and subsequently returns as a recurring antagonist to the Eighth Doctor.
In 2012, he appeared on the Australian television version of The Unbelievable Truth.
Personal life and family
Graeme Garden is married to Emma and they have a son, Tom. Garden also has a daughter, Sally, and a son, John, from his previous marriage to Mary Elizabeth Wheatley Grice. His son John Garden is the keyboardist for the music group Scissor Sisters, and shares songwriting credit on their 2006 album.
Graeme Garden lives in Oxfordshire with his family; his leisure interests include painting and playing the banjo. He played the banjo in the Goodies episodes, "Gender Education", "Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms" and "Daylight Robbery on the Orient Express".
Graeme's father, Robert Symon Garden, was an eminent orthopaedic surgeon who created the Garden classification of hip fractures and the Garden screw, used to repair certain hip fractures. R. S. Garden died on 16 October 1982 at the age of 72.
An incomplete list includes:
- The Best Medicine: Graeme Garden's Book of Medical Humour compiled and illustrated by Graeme Garden, published by Robson Books Ltd., London (1984), ISBN 0-86051-295-9
- The Skylighters
- The Seventh Man
- Graeme Garden's Compendium of Very Silly Games
- Stolvold's Mornington Crescent Almanac
Co-written with the other members of The Goodies:
- The Goodies File
- The Goodies Book of Criminal Records
- The Making of The Goodies Disaster Movie
- "The man who invented time travel". Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 45: 101. 2010.
- Sources consulted
- Hewison, Robert (1983). Footlights!: A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy. London: Methuen London. ISBN 978-0-413-51150-8.
- RDF (2007 online). "Graeme Garden: Biography, CV (acting), CV (writing)". RDF Management.com.
- Wilmut, Roger (1980). From Fringe to Flying Circus: Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy, 1960–1980. London: Eyre Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-46950-2.
- Winkler, Michael (5 March 2005). "Still Goodies . . . but oldies". The Age (Melbourne). pp. (5 March 2005). Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
- From Fringe to Flying Circus – 'Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960–1980' – Roger Wilmut, Eyre Methuen Ltd, 1980.
- "If I Ruled the World clip #1". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Enrych history
- The Best Medicine: Graeme Garden's Book of Medical Humour, compiled and illustrated by Graeme Garden, published by Robson Books Ltd., London (1984), ISBN 0-86051-295-9
- "Who's Who on Television" – Independent Television Books, London, England (1985). ISBN 0-907965-31-8
- "Who's Who on Television" – Independent Television Books, London, England (1988). ISBN 0-907965-49-0
- "Relative Values: Graeme Garden and his son, John". The Sunday Times (London). 4 March 2007.
- The London Gazette: . 11 June 2011.
- R. S. Garden (obituary). British Medical Journal, vol 285, 11 December 1982, p.1751.
- "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" homepage at BBC.co.uk
- Graeme Garden at the Internet Movie Database
- Graeme Garden – BBC Guide to Comedy
- Graeme Garden – Comedy Zone
- Graeme Garden interview
- Graeme Garden – The Gazetteer for Scotland
- Graeme Garden – at TV.com
- ISIHAC interviews with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and Barry Cryer at BBC.co.uk
- Graeme Garden Interview Web Wombat Theatre
- The Origin of Monty Python – mentions Graeme and ISIRTA
- "Stuff What Dreams Are Made Of" – the 1964 Cambridge Footlights Club revue during the time when Graeme Garden was President of the Footlights, as well as being a member of the revue cast
- OBEs all round – Goodies pair honoured
- Graeme Garden thought that OBE letter was a bill
- Birthday Honours List 2011 in pictures
- Goodies pair "thrilled" with OBEs