» Introduction & Index
» 1 Lemon Sherbet
» 2 Newsreaders
» 3 Targets: Max & Des
» 4. Goodies Turning ...
» 5. Beanz Ads
» 6. Targets: Nichola...
» 7. Goodies In Love
» 8. The Trandem
» 9. Targets: Tony Bl...
» 10. Inventions
» 11. Tim In Drag
» 12. Targets - David...
» 13. Bill's Outfits
» 14. Live Music
» 15. Targets: Mary &...
» 16. Goodies Relatives
» 17. Tim's Patriotic...
» 18. Targets: Rolf H...
» 19. Bill & Graeme i...
» 20. Sports & Games
» 21. Targets: Lionel...
» 22. Guest Stars: Pa...
» 23. Graeme's Computer
» 24. Monty Python Re...
» 25. Targets: Eddie ...
» 26. Memorable Animals
» 27. Foreigners
» 28. Targets: The Ra...
» 29. Graeme falling ...
» 30. Targets - Royal...
» 31. Tim Crying
» 32. Baddies & Villa...
» 33. Targets: Ken Ru...
» 34. Quick Change Ca...
» 35. Goodies Deaths
A COLLECTION OF GOODIES THEMES #18
GOODIES TARGETS: ROLF HARRIS
Rolf Harris was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1930 to Welsh emigrant parents and moved to London in 1952 where he established a lengthy career as a singer-songwriter (with uniquely-styled hits such as "Two Little Boys", "Jake The Peg" and "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport"), artist and television presenter.
His skill as an "all-round entertainer" coupled with his outgoing Aussie personality and quirky use of musical instruments such as the wobbleboard, stylophone and didgeridoo soon endeared him to audiences and music fans in both Australia and the UK, but also established him as a prime target for sending up by The Goodies in the early 1970s.
In fact it didn't take very long at all for him to appear firmly in the Goodies' sights … barely a minute into the very first episode "Beefeaters" when Graeme proudly unveils his unique "rent-a-view picture window" for the office. The picture window displays scenery from any city anywhere in the world with matching musak, and Tim and Bill are suitably impressed until a view of Sydney Harbour appears with Rolf's "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" music as accompaniment. An appalled Bill shrieks "Turn it off!" and Tim has a revolted grimace on his face as he hastily pulls the window blinds shut to stop the music.
The second Goodies episode, "Snooze", also contains a dig at Rolf when the Goodies are trying to come up with a better name for Venom, the poorly-selling bedtime drink. T: "Now what shall we call it? Something, sleepy, soporific, late night …" B: "How about Epilogue?" T (unimpressed): "No." B: "Rolf Harris?!" G (scornfully): "No, he's not late night!" B (cheekily): "Sends me to sleep!"
Series 2 episode "The Music Lovers" sees the Goodies' evening off ruined, as firstly the string quartet that they are listening to in the park are suddenly abducted and then various other bands and orchestras on television are kidnapped as well. Newsreader Corbet Woodall is puzzling over these disappearances as he is reading the bulletin, and announces: "Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt this embarrassing silence to bring you a news flash. Reports are just coming in that Rolf Harris has been stolen. And now some bad news …!"
Later in this episode, once the Goodies have posed as famous musicians and have eventually been abducted after holding a gruelling week-long, non-stop music concert on Hackney Marshes, they encounter the evil Music Master and try to find out why he has been stealing all of the musicians. As part of his explanation for his dastardly deeds, the Music Master tells the Goodies that he used to own a recording studio: "I used to produce records like this" (holds up a tiny circle of plastic) "The Best Of Rolf Harris".
T (incredulously): "But ... but there's nothing on it!" MM: "True!"
Upon the Goodies being unable to fulfil the Music Master's demand to produce a sure-fire hit record within an hour (made even more difficult by henchman Gerald tying their hands behind their backs and gagging them because they made "such an 'orrible noise"!), the Music Master suddenly shows his nasty side:
MM: "You've failed. Take them to the cells. You know what to do."
Gerald (shocked): "No, not dat boss!" MM: "Yes, that!"
Goodies: "What ?" Tim (worried): "They're going to kill us!
MM (sadistically): "Oh no, something much worse! You're going to be locked up in a cell with ... Rolf Harris!" ('Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport' music in background)
Goodies (pleading): "No, kill us, kill us....!!"
Towards the end of the episode as the Goodies are preparing to flee from the Music Master and his henchmen, they open up several of the cells to free the captive musicians. Graeme opens Rolf's cell with a greeting of "Come on out Rolf, no hard feelings, hey?!", with a slight flinch as if Rolf is about to hit him or throw something at him. At least the Goodies do allow Rolf to escape, unlike Cilla Black, who Bill insists should be left locked up because he can't stand her high notes!
In "Gender Education", the Goodies return to the office after a violence-crazed Bill has managed to blow the BBC to bits, and are rather bored seeing as there is no television to watch (other than the "squeaky clean" ITV). Tim tries to entertain himself with some knitting, while Graeme picks away on his banjo and dismisses Tim's moaning with: "It'll do people good to be without television for a while. It'll revive the art of home entertainment. (enthusiastically) Like to see my impersonation of Rolf Harris?" T (revolted) "Oh come on, that's one of the few advantages of being without telly!" G (in agreement): "Yeah." Meanwhile Bill sits still with white-shaded glasses on to avoid seeing anything that might corrupt him again, but he might have needed some hearing protection as well if Graeme had delivered on his threat of impersonating Rolf!
Also in Series 2, the "London To Brighton" episode sees Mr Sparklypegs despatch his grovelling assistant Minion on a scooter to stop the Goodies from bouncing around the world, as he is fearful of having to cough up a small fortune in charity donations if they are successful. When Minion eventually catches up with the spacehopping Goodies in Australia, he also has Rolf bouncing along behind him singing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" in a cameo appearance.
After poking plenty of fun at Rolf in the first two series, the Goodies concentrate on other targets for Series 3 and 4, although there is the splendid mock advertisement in the middle of Series 4 episode "The Stone Age" for Bristo Gravy Mix featuring Rolf and his long-suffering Granny. Graeme plays a scarily convincing Rolf Harris who creates havoc in his Granny's kitchen, firstly frightening the daylights out of Granny (another of Tim's wonderful drag roles!) with a blast of the didgeridoo upon entry to her kitchen, causing food to go flying everywhere. He then paints a kangaroo on the kitchen wall with much huffing and puffing and blackens Granny's face with the paintbrush as well for good measure. Granny has already delivered a voice-over spiel of "As a top entertainer, Rolf works really hard, singing those boring songs and telling those stupid jokes and being generally irritating! … That's why I'm giving him something really special – roast beef with lashings of Bristo." before serving up dinner and telling Rolf "I hope you like it. It's just what you deserve!" Rolf starts hoeing into his meal and utters a hearty Aussie-accented "Marvellous!" before grabbing at his throat and launching backwards in his chair (and into another mighty Garden death dive) once Granny's poisoned Bristo Gravy Mix takes effect. The authoritative voice-over then states: "Bristo. Gets rid of Rolf Harrises fast!" Hmm, must put that one on my shopping list for my next trip to the supermarket!
"Wacky Wales" in Series 5 contains a brief name check of Rolf in Reverend Llewellyn's rambling incoherent invitation for the Goodies to attend the Llan Dlubber Eistedfodd, which Tim reads out to Bill and Graeme. However the main send-up of Rolf comes two episodes later in "Scatty Safari" where basically the entire second half of the episode centres around him once the Star Safari Park's previous Number One attraction, Tony Blackburn, has gone to that "Great Radio 1 Club in the sky" after being memorably gunned down by a celebrity-seeking hunter shortly after his release to freedom.
After much discussion about how to replace Tony, Graeme comes up with the idea of who would make the perfect new star attraction after playing a guessing game with the others (T&B: "Ahh. Rolf Plaster Of Harris!"). Bill looks up Rolf's details in the 'Observers Book of Stars': "Harris … Anita, Chopper, Richard, Rolf … here we are! An occasional visitor, characteristic cry of 'I'm an all-round entertainer. Gregarious, often found with the young generation. Number of legs ... variable! Unmistakeable black plumage on chin, natural habitat Australia" Bill is appalled at the thought of travelling to Australia to capture him though: "Nah, not Australia. I mean, that's full of abos and dingoes and upside-down jokes." Tim (bossily): "Shhh Bill, we must prepare for the trip. Look out half a dozen jumbucks, pack two, no three coolibahs in the tuckerbag. Graeme you'd better go and whack the diddle-o while I ... press a clean pair of billabongs. Now ... Awstrailya ... heeere we come!" (followed by Bill almost cracking up with laughter!)
Upon finally reaching the 'Aussie outback after surviving the wilds of Sydney (in particular the feral "Germaines" who use their handbags to batter the "male chauvinist" tourists into submission!), the Goodies pursue the huffing, puffing Rolf across the plains in the back of a ute. Although the ute crashes into a tree and sends a shower of cranky koalas dropping onto Graeme, he still maintains enough doctoral discipline to jump out of the ute and apply a medical swab to Rolf's arm, only to leap back into the ute again and shoot Rolf in the rear with a tranquilliser dart instead!
Upon their return to England, the Goodies try to settle Rolf in by putting more coal on the fire to recreate the atmosphere of a hot Australian summer, quelling his panting with a tube of lager and reading Richie Benaud's autobiography to him. This comes after a 'Pick A Box' - style argument between Tim who wants to "open the box" and keep Rolf at the Star Safari Park, and Bill who wants to "take the money" and flog Rolf straight off to Lew Grade, but the dispute is quickly settled when the box is opened and Rolf's crooning of "Two Little Boys" has Tim frantically roaring "Close the box!". G: "He doesn't sound very well, does he?" B (scornfully): "Never sounded any better!"… G: "See we've just got to make Rolf feel wanted and loved." B (flatly): "No chance!"
Keen to establish a breeding program, Graeme has also ordered the only other Rolf Harris in captivity from the Moscow Zoo. The Russian Rolf duly arrives roughly packaged in a hessian sack and is promptly shepherded by Bill and Tim into the crate containing Aussie Rolf (T: :He's a bit frisky, isn't he?!" G: "All the better. This could be the first in captivity!" B (gobsmacked): "What, you mean him and that are gonna … (pumps fist) cor wallop!") and after a year's wait, the first baby Rolf is bred in captivity.
Tim's 'war correspondent' voiceover narrates the excitement of the "red letter day at the Goodies Star Safari Park" as huge crowds flock to see baby Rolf's first public appearance, though it takes a little while as he initially refuses to come out of his kennel despite the best efforts of his three keepers, but with no assistance from his two indifferent parents. Eventually though, it's "Hello, I recognise that face" as he emerges and after being almost knocked out by a flying can of lager from Bill, "he's certainly full of fun … and don't the kids love him!" Little Rolf gets the brush-off from his sleep-deprived Dad but proves to be a lively handful for the Goodies to contend with, only pausing to pick up "a great big tin of paint just like Daddy's" and proceed to tip it all over his head ("Oh dear, never mind, he'll learn!"), with baby and adult Rolfs and all three Goodies eventually collapsing in a worn-out heap together
The arrival of Little Rolf brings millions of visitors to the star safari park, although hardly any of them ever see him, as Bill has nailed the youngster's feet to the floor of the kennel so that people have to make multiple visits in the hope of finally spotting him. Bill is also shamelessly selling all sorts of Little Rolf souvenirs, such as "We Have Seen Little Rolf" badges and a "walking, talking Little Rolf dolly" that chatters "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Mama" (until it falls off the table and loses its head!) before the popularity bubble bursts.
The bubble finally bursts in a big way with the escape of both adult Rolf Harrises and the baby after being let out by other exhibits, chiefly Des O'Connor, who were getting jealous of the lack of attention. Graeme tries to report the escape to Tim and Bill, but is so panic-stricken that he is unable to talk and his charades are interpreted as "Tie ... me ... kangaroo ... down ... tennis!" Not only do the Rolfs move like greased lightning, they also breed at a similar rate, having once covered Australia before the white man all but exterminated them - as their beards made excellent hat decorations and lavatory brushes, according to Graeme! Within another short year, the Goodies are going mad from the constant drone of wobbleboards being played by the three hundred Rolf Harrises in their window box. G: "We never learn. It was like this when they introduced grey squirrels." T (semi-sarcastically): "Grey squirrels don't play wobbleboards!" B (chiming in):"No, and they don't do rotten paintings all over everything either!" … "They're just like lemmings really, aren't they, only they don't self-destruct!"
Worse still, the plague of six million Rolfs that infest Britain have even taken over the BBC programming department (" … and highlights of the Rolf Harris Cup match between Rolf Ham United and Crystal Harris."), prompting an urgent proclamation from a certain anonymous Queen: "Good evening. I'm sure that you are all well aware … as indeed my husband and I are also aware … that the whole country has been overrun by a plague of Rolf Harrises. My government and I have tried everything within our power to stop this plague spreading, but to be honest, we are flummoxed. And so I am making this proclamation. (Blows clarion horn and then exhales loudly) To whomsoever can rid my land of this plague of Rolf Harrises, I will give the hand of my eldest son in marriage … and 1000 OBEs!" T (proudly): "Say no more, Your Majesty. We shall do it!" The Queen (on television, surprised): "Who are you?!" Tim (proudly): "The Goodies!" The Queen (scornfully): "Ohh! Gordon Bennett!!"
Such a reward is enough to inspire the Goodies, and they come up with a way to remove the plague of Rolfs which have been shown creating havoc everywhere by spitting soup at a cook, laying an egg in a man's Sunday hat then breaking the egg on his head, fighting dogs and cats and painting the ladies' dresses black. The irresistible didgeridoo playing of 'Waltzing Matilda' by the three lairily dressed Pied Pipers is enough to make the Rolfs come tumbling by the dozens from prams, doorways and other hiding places and one-by-one they are merrily lured away from Britain. And when they reach the other side - the ATV studio - a wondrous portal opens wide and the millions of Rolfs are never heard of again. All except one who is lame - Jake The Peg with his extra leg! The anonymous Queen keeps her promise, and the blushing bride Tim weds charming Prince Charles, with tearful attendants Graeme and Bill weighed down with the 1000 OBE's in the background.
In the 2005 special "Return Of The Goodies", the real Rolf Harris is one of the many guests interviewed and he makes the following comments regarding this particular episode: "People jump on me and say 'What was it like being in The Goodies? I saw the episode with you in it.' I said 'That wasn't me.' … I say 'I wasn't in it' (and they say) 'Yes you were, yes you were, we saw the episode with you in it' and I said 'That wasn't me' 'Yes it was, yes it was!' and they point-blank tell me I'm lying. I would have liked to have played the part of myself actually, in the role, and I wish (the Goodies had) approached me. I would have done it like that. (clicks fingers) I guess they probably thought it was all so anti-Rolf Harris that I wouldn't have even looked at it. (laughs heartily) Little did they know I would have loved to have done it!" From a Goodies fan viewpoint, it would have been great if Rolf had actually appeared on the show and sent himself up just as Tony Blackburn, Eddie Waring and other Goodies "targets" did around the same time.
After the Rolf-a-thon of "Scatty Safari", it's perhaps not surprising that the Goodies move on to other targets, however there are still a couple of send-ups remaining, including one in the "Goodies Rule – OK" special at the end of Series 5.
The autocratic Standing Party government in Britain have introduced prohibition where the fun laws are tightened even further, but the Goodies and other "unmentionables" are not to be denied though, and after they cause havoc with the St.Valentine's Day custard pie massacre, they seek refuge in underground "joke-easys". They gradually round up all of the banned entertainers by cruising around the streets at breakneck pace in a big black limo grabbing anyone of interest that they spot along the way. This includes Rolf, who is busily painting a door as part of his new post-entertainment employment, and he has three legs wildly kicking away out the window (in true "Jake The Peg" fashion) after being snaffled without the car even slowing down at all. Rolf even proves to be more desirable than the real Tony Blackburn (who is left moping on a street corner after being rejected by the Goodies in one of his two guest appearances on the show), however he is one of a whole lineup of entertainers who have spent so long in the wilderness that they have forgotten how do their own trademark voices and sayings. This is despite Graeme's wonderful prompting while unleashing a string of impersonations, which includes him saying to Rolf: "Now you give me 'Tie me kangaroo down sport' … (chuckle and panting)" to which Rolf replies in a thick Scottish brogue: "I'm awfully sorry Jimmy, I canna' do it!"
In "Alternative Roots" the Tourmaster is trying to flog off his bunch of "sound in limb and dull in brain" slaves to a lookalike bunch of bald-headed, cigar-smoking BBC TV producers. With just the three Goodies left (after one poor sod has finally been despatched to the Max Bygraves Show!), the Tourmaster is getting desperate to flog them off to the hard-to-please producers: "How about 'Rolf Harris and Friends'? Three friends if ever I saw them. See how friendly they are? (as the three Goodies pull faces, snarl and gesture menacingly) No-one wants them? No-one. Oh flip!"
The final pot-shot at Rolf comes in Series 7 episode "Royal Command" where the second Royal Variety Concert features a series of guest performers who are all tortured or humiliated in one way or another all in the name of royal entertainment. This includes Rolf who, after a grand introduction from Graeme as the "Antipodean apogee of artistic Apo deixis", plays his wobbleboard and sings "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" to a rising chorus of derision from the bloodlusting audience. Bill the Beefeater then appears on stage in the background with a cheeky grin and wielding a huge spear. He glances towards the Royal box and upon receiving the haughty decree of "Off with his didgeridoo!!" from the Queen herself, he sneaks up on Rolf and jabs him in the backside with the spear before chasing him around and carrying out the royal command just offstage with a big flourish of the spear to the delight of the cheering crowd.
A concluding anecdote about Rolf comes from Tim; also from the "Return Of The Goodies" special in 2005: "There was an awkward moment when we were rehearsing in the same building and we got into the lift. We'd just been bad-mouthing Rolf Harris and he got into the lift and said 'I'd just like to say I'm enjoying the show'. Now if we'd been on our own, we'd have said 'Oh we like (your show) too.', but we couldn't because of the other two (Goodies present) so we went silently down and at the bottom he said 'Well, just thought I'd mention it!' I still feel guilty about it to this day. Sorry Rolf!"
* With thanks to Ingemar, Jeffers, Vanessa Cricklewood, Bondgirl and Artyclarty for their contributions to this article via the GROK forums
Return of the Goodies (2005)
Rolf reflecting on what might have been have been had he been invited on the show
2.5 The Music Lovers
The Best of Rolf Harris …
"Kill us, kill us …" instead of being locked up with Rolf!
4.4 Stone Age
Rolf and Granny in the Bristo Gravy Mix ad
5.6 Scatty Safari
In pursuit of Rolf
Graeme doing the swab
The frisky Russian Rolf
Little Rolf & big tin of paint
Rolf merchandise for sale
The Rolfs doing rotten paintings everywhere…
Pied pipers leading the Rolfs away
The one who was lame – Jake the Peg
Special – Goodies Rule OK
Rolf's been nabbed
Off with his didgeridoo!