The Goodies (TV series)

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For information about the formation of The Goodies group and the origins and development of the series, see The Goodies.
The Goodies
Goodies titles.jpg
The Goodies Titles
Format Comedy
Created by Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graeme Garden
Bill Oddie
Starring Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graeme Garden
Bill Oddie
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 76 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 30 – 50 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC 2
LWT (for series 9)
Original run 8 November 1970 (1970-11-08) – 13 February 1982 (1982-02-13)

The Goodies is a British television comedy series of the 1970s and early 1980s. The series, which combines surreal sketches and situation comedy, was broadcast by BBC 2[1] from 1970 until 1980 — and was then broadcast by the ITV company LWT for a year, between 1981 to 1982.

The show was co-written by and starred Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie (together known as "The Goodies"). Bill Oddie also wrote the music and songs for the series — while "The Goodies Theme" was co-written by Bill Oddie and Michael Gibbs. The directors/producers of the series were John Howard Davies, Jim Franklin and Bob Spiers.

An early title which was considered for the series was Narrow Your Mind (following on from Broaden Your Mind) and prior to that the working title was Super Chaps Three.[2]

Basic structure of the series[edit]

The series' basic structure revolved around the trio, always short of money, offering themselves for hire — with the tagline "We Do Anything, Anytime, Anywhere" — to perform all sorts of ridiculous but generally benevolent tasks. Under this loose pretext, the show explored all sorts of off-the-wall scenarios for comedic potential. Many episodes parodied current events, such as an episode where the entire black population of South Africa emigrates to Great Britain to escape apartheid. As this means that the white South Africans no longer have anyone to exploit and oppress, they introduce a new system called "apart-height", where short people (Bill and a number of jockeys) are discriminated against.

Other story lines were more abstractly philosophical, such as an episode in which the trio spend Christmas Eve together waiting for the Earth to be blown up by prior arrangement of the world's governments. The "Christmas Eve" episode titled "Earthanasia" was one of the two episodes which took place entirely in one room. The other, "The End", occurred when Graeme accidentally had their office encased in an enormous block of concrete. These episodes were made when the entire location budget for the season had been spent, forcing the trio to come up with a script shot entirely on the set that relied entirely on character interaction - a format known in the industry as a bottle episode.

Missing episode[edit]

"Kitten Kong" (episode seven from season two) is the only episode of The Goodies that is officially missing from BBC archives, the original video tape having been wiped for reuse by the BBC in the 1970s. An expanded, more elaborate imagining of the original transmitted episode called ‘Kitten Kong: Montreux '72 Edition’, especially made for 1972 Montreux festival, does exist, and is said to have only minor differences with its 1971 prototype.

Several other episodes that were originally screened in colour are also missing, but exist as black and white telerecordings made for overseas sales.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards[edit]

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".

Nominations[edit]

The Goodies were twice nominated for Best Light Entertainment Programme at the BAFTA Awards in 1972 and 1976.[3][4]

Characters and production techniques[edit]

The show featured extensive use of slapstick, often performed using sped-up photography and clever, though low-budget, visual effects, such as when they built a railway station together and awoke the next morning to discover that some construction equipment outside (steam shovel, bulldozer, backhoe) had come to life and were lumbering, growling, and battling like dinosaurs.

Other episodes featured parodies of contemporary pop music composed by Oddie, some of which went on to substantial commercial success in the British charts, among them the hit single "Funky Gibbon" as well as character-based comedy. Some early episodes were interrupted by spoofs of contemporary TV commercials.

The group also acknowledges their debt to the usage of music in silent movies. In "The Movies" episode, they buy an old movie studio, and attempt to make their own epic film, Macbeth Meets Truffaut The Wonder Dog. After several 'takes', they argue and each begins to make his own movie in a different style (Tim makes an epic movie, Graeme makes a western and Bill makes a black-and-white silent movie). The episode finished with an extended silent movie segment, in which each movie comically interferes with the others.

The characters are based on the personae of the three characters: Garden, a bright but bizarre "mad scientist"; Brooke-Taylor as a conservative, vain, sexually-repressed, upper-class royalist; and Oddie as a scruffy, occasionally violent, left-leaning rebel from Lancashire. The group have suggested that the characters of Graeme, Tim, and Bill represent the Liberal, Conservative and Labour wings of British politics or middle-class, upper-class, and working-class stereotypes respectively.[citation needed] The characters played up to their stereotypes, but were not necessarily based on the actor playing the character, even though the actors played characters with their own names, and had some minor characteristics in common. In reality, Garden is a medical doctor, Brooke-Taylor is a lawyer who is not at all conservative ("But I had the double-barrelled name so I was always going to play the Tory"[5]) and Oddie is a pacifist, ornithologist and active environmentalist.

The Goodies episodes[edit]

The Goodies made 76 episodes (including specials).

Dual Goodies roles[edit]

Episodes in which the Goodies appeared as other roles, including appearing as doubles of themselves — while also appearing in their usual roles of Tim, Bill and Graeme — included the following:

  • "The Baddies" — in which Tim, Bill and Graeme also act as robot duplicates of themselves
  • "Daylight Robbery of the Orient Express" — in which Tim, Bill and Graeme also act as mime duplicates of themselves
  • "2001 & A Bit" — in which Tim, Bill and Graeme also act as their own sons
    — (Bill as Bill Brooke-Taylor, Tim as Tim Garden and Graeme as Graeme Oddie)
  • "Alternative Roots" — in which Graeme, Bill and Tim also act as their own ancestors
    — (Graeme as his ancestor Keltic Kilty, Bill as his ancestor Kinda Kinky and Tim as his ancestor Kounty Kutie)
  • "The End" — in which Tim, Bill and Graeme also act as futuristic Goodies.
  • "The Goodies – Almost Live" — in which the Goodies also appear as "Pan's Grannies".
  • "Hunting Pink" — in which Tim also appears as his 'Great-uncle Butcher'.
  • "Kung Fu Kapers" — in which both Tim and Graeme dress up as their fictional relatives to try to fool Bill.

Alternative Goodies roles[edit]

  • "Rome Antics", in which Tim, Bill and Graeme appeared as Ancient Goodies (the episode takes place during the time of the Roman Empire).
  • "War Babies", in which Tim, Bill and Graeme appeared as 2-year-old Goodies (the episode takes place during the time of World War II).

Tim's uncles[edit]

Tim's uncles are featured in the following episodes:

Monty Python spoofs and imitations[edit]

The Goodies was a consistently very popular show in the UK, although, because it seemed to appeal particularly to younger viewers, some critics dismissed it as juvenile in comparison to the other contemporary UK "alternative" comedy hit, Monty Python's Flying Circus. In fact, whilst this comparison irritated them, Oddie, Garden and Brooke-Taylor were old university friends of the Monty Python cast, as well as having worked with them, including the Cambridge University's Footlights Club revues and the radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, also television shows such as Broaden Your Mind, Twice a Fortnight, and a number of the Amnesty International benefit shows.

Probably most notably, however, was At Last the 1948 Show, which included the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, co-written and performed by Brooke-Taylor with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman (footage of Tim Brooke-Taylor and John Cleese, from At Last the 1948 Show, was shown on the documentary special Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut)). Brooke-Taylor also co-wrote and appeared in How to Irritate People (with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Michael Palin, among others). Brooke-Taylor also appeared in the Amnesty International benefit show The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, where he appeared with John Cleese and Graham Chapman in the skit "Cha, Cha, Cha", and also in John Cleese's skit "Top of the Form".

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie were also the people responsible for introducing Eric Idle to the Footlights Club by personally inviting him to join the club.[6]

So there was considerable mutual respect between the rival shows. This led to several gentle parodies of Monty Python appearing on The Goodies.

Goodies episodes, in which Monty Python's Flying Circus was either parodied or alluded to, included the following:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Penguin TV Companion" (2nd Edition) — Jeff Evans, Penguin Books Ltd., London, 2003
  2. ^ Low, Lenny Ann (23 February 2005). "Why fame seems funny to manic trio". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2008. 
  3. ^ Light Entertainment Production - information given by official BAFTA website
  4. ^ Light Entertainment Programme - information given by official BAFTA website
  5. ^ "Laughs to the power of three - Arts". www.smh.com.au. 14 December 2004. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  6. ^ The Life of Python, George Perry, Pavilion Books Ltd, 1994

Further reading[edit]

  • "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 Episode Summaries" — Brett Allender
  • "The Goodies — Fact File" — Matthew K. Sharp

External links[edit]