South Africa (The Goodies)

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"South Africa"
The Goodies episode
Episode no.Series 5
Episode 11
Original air date21 April 1975
(Monday — 9 p.m.)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Fleet Street Goodies"
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"Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms"
List of The Goodies episodes

"South Africa" is an episode of the award-winning British comedy television series The Goodies.

This episode is also known as "Apartheight" and as "A South African Adventure".

Written by The Goodies, with songs and music by Bill Oddie.


The Goodies are hired by a maniacally racist South African tourist agent to make an advertisement encouraging Britons to come to South Africa. However, the tourist agent is unhappy with what they have done, since they showed black people in South Africa having a good time. Tim points out that South Africa has many black people, but the Tourist Agent retorts that they are not having a good time. The enraged agent forces the Goodies to emigrate to South Africa.

The influx of tourist boats the Goodies' advertisement brings allows the black people an opportunity to get away from South Africa, leading to apartheid segregation disintegrating. To keep the economy going, apartheid is replaced by the new segregation of apartheight (apart-height). Tim and Graeme are tall enough not to be affected — but Bill is not quite tall enough. Bill, and the South African jockeys, are now treated as the second class citizens of South Africa, and are put under curfew. Bill is also forced to work for Tim and Graeme, who both take full advantage of Bill's newly disadvantaged position and treat him like a slave. Bill takes charge of the situation, and he and the jockeys rebel and eventually win out against their 'masters'.

The Goodies return to the UK — but the UK they return to is vastly different from the UK they had left behind just a short time before.

Cultural references[edit]


  • Possibly the most controversial of all The Goodies episodes, South Africa has only been shown once on BBC2. The corporation apparently disliked the team dipping into serious social satire, and tried to stop the programme from being broadcast completely. Despite criticisms levelled at the now-dated racial epithets used in the programme, the reference work TV Heaven (Sangster and Condon, 2005) states that the episode's "heart is in the right place".
  • Graeme's slapstick sequence just before the jockeys attack was a reference to John Cleese's Cambridge Circus performances, which often included prolonged, ad-libbed physical comedy.
  • Keen viewers will notice a fleeting background reference to the diminutive Scottish comedian Ronnie Corbett, whose stand-up show had apparently been banned in South Africa.

DVD and VHS releases[edit]

This episode has been released on DVD.



  • "The Complete Goodies" — Robert Ross, B T Batsford, London, 2000
  • "The Goodies Rule OK" — Robert Ross, Carlton Books Ltd, Sydney, 2006
  • "From Fringe to Flying Circus — 'Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960-1980'" — Roger Wilmut, Eyre Methuen Ltd, 1980
  • "The Goodies Episode Summaries" — Brett Allender
  • "The Goodies — Fact File" — Matthew K. Sharp
  • "TV Heaven" — Jim Sangster & Paul Condon, HarperCollinsPublishers, London, 2005

External links[edit]