» 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
A COLLECTION OF GOODIES THEMES #23
The 1970s heydays of 'The Goodies' were still very early times for computer technology; with the proliferation of personal home computers still the best part of a decade or more away and the portable technology boom of today still very much the stuff of science fiction. Like any self-respecting loony scientist though, Graeme is right up to speed with the technology of the day, so from the very first episode onwards he is the proud possessor of a state-of-the-art computer that is the size of a bookcase (and about as portable as Graeme's pocket movie camera from 'The Movies' episode, though it does become mobile at times!) with a plethora of buttons, multiple tape spools and a continuous paper or ticket-style printout of information depending on the circumstances.
The computer is put to use by Graeme in many and varied situations during the run of the show to solve problems, act as a video screen, do complex calculations, compose music and, most memorably, to be his love interest in one unforgettable episode! For its part, the computer rarely lets Graeme down – even if it does come up with some rather interesting solutions and several spectacular explosions in the process.
In the first Goodies episode, 'Beefeaters', the Goodies need to determine the identity of the culprit who holds a grudge against the Beefeaters and is stealing the beef from the Tower of London. Tim and Bill surmise that it is either bulls (as "no bull likes getting eaten") or poultry farmers (who stand to gain from the Beefeaters' forced change of diet), but Graeme scoffs that these suggestions are "nonsense" and feeds a beef sandwich to his computer (which raises Tim's ire over the "poor starving little Beefeaters" even more) in search of a "logically computed answer", only for it to come up with same suspects of "bulls and poultry farmers", much to Tim's smug satisfaction.
Shortly afterwards, while sucking on the lemon sherbet that his Granny gave him, Bill starts hallucinating and having visions with "incredible insight" (according to Tim) so Graeme hooks Bill up to the computer so that these visions can be seen by him and Tim as well. Bill's first ecstatic visions are of a topless model (which draws an annoyed "Keep sucking, you fool!" from Graeme), followed by a fleeting glimpse of Jimmy Savile (betraying Bill's desire to appear on 'Top of the Pops'); however a rebus then appears for Tim and Graeme to solve, which reveals a plot to steal the Crown Jewels by firstly starving the Beefeaters in order to gain easier access to the Tower of London.
Bill's lemon sherbet hallucinations account for much of the use of Graeme's computer as a prop in the first series, with the computer also screening Bill's visions in 'Give Police A Chance' and 'Playgirl Club'. In 'Give Police A Chance', the Goodies are desperately trying to think of ways to change the brutal image of the police force (before Deputy Commissioner Butcher returns to belt them up!) and Tim desperately asks Graeme "Have you got nothing out of the computer?" Graeme replies "Yes I have.", then adds with a resigned air "I've got nothing out of the computer." Bill retreats from the impending police brutality via another lemon sherbet fix (as Graeme says "He's tuned in and dropped off. He doesn't want to know. He's rejected society. He's escaped to a better world.") but his visions via the computer screen of a "pleasing effect" of a kaleidoscopic pattern on the screen and an image of Tony Blackburn (to which Butcher angrily barks "Who's that poof?!") eventually lead to one of a "laughing policeman" which furthers the plot and allows the Goodies to become peace-loving hippy cops on the beat.
'Playgirl Club' also sees Bill hooked up to the computer with lemon sherbet in hand so that he can home in on whatever Tim is up to after three whole weeks without trace inside the exclusive sexy Playgirl Club. After more pretty psychedelic patterns and another glimpse of Tony Blackburn, an image appears of Tim still in drag ( as a turned off Bill comments: "Ooh, I don't fancy that one!) and clambering in among a bevy of beautiful girls before a "censored" sign covers the screen, which leads on to Bill and Graeme becoming Wolves (the male equivalent of Bunnies) so that they can infiltrate the club themselves.
Bill is having a challenging game of chess with Graeme in Series 2 episode 'The Commonwealth Games' and he reckons that he has Graeme's measure until Graeme consults with his computer and returns with the winning move. Bill warns Graeme that "Your Queen is in danger" if he places it where the computer has told him to, but Graeme scoffs and proceeds with the move, only for Bill to flatten the Queen with a hefty whack from a mallet in sheer frustration.
Graeme also consults his computer in the next episode, 'Pollution', where after the government claims in the news bulletin that "there is no cause for alarm" from increasing pollution levels, the computer calculates that the world could be uninhabitable "by next Monday". This is of great concern to Tim as the Test match doesn't conclude until Tuesday!
At the start of 'The Lost Tribe', the Goodies' office is freezing because of Graeme's failed attempts to get a nuclear generator heater working, so he seeks his computer's assistance only for it to make a nice hot cup of tea as its solution to the heating crisis. A semi-impressed Bill remarks "You can tell that's a British computer, can't you?!", but even the hot cuppa promptly ices up as well in the deep freeze-like conditions.
The computer is also called on in 'The Music Lovers' to provide the backing music when Bill (on electric guitar), Graeme (on piano) and Tim (playing his hot triangle!) perform the ripping version of 'Land of Hope and Glory' in a bid to be stolen so that they can find out who has been stealing the real musicians from throughout Britain. Unfortunately their plan doesn't quite succeed as only Tim's two pretty glee singers are carted off by the thugs, so presumably the computer's musical efforts "ain't good enough" either, along with those of the three Goodies!
Graeme is away from his office and regular computer in 'Farm Fresh Food', but he unveils his 'Yummy Meter' computer (a strange-looking contraption with a thick-lipped mouth at the top of a pipe) at Uncle Tom's farm and sacrifices a perfectly good piece of steak by letting the meter eat it just to prove his bleedingly obvious scientific theory that the farm food is no good by comparison. This in turn causes a ravenous Bill to flip his wig and attempt to sink his teeth into a horrid-tasting battery chicken after more than four days of starvation.
Perhaps the most famous episode containing the computer is Series 2's 'Free To Live' in which Graeme finds that his evening is ruined after Tim (in a maid's uniform) scares away his hot date Tottie and they have a heated row before Graeme ultimately tells Tim that "If I wanted an intelligent conversation, I'd rather talk to my computer!" After Tim stalks out in a huff there is a close-up of Graeme enjoying a candlelit dinner in the office and intimately chatting to a woman out of view who has a deep sexy voice, only for the camera to pan back and reveal that Graeme's hot new date is actually his computer! Graeme has installed a voice box in his computer and he finds his true love at last, as they share a romantic evening of "algorithmic progressions" and "quadratic equations" together over a candlelight dinner.
Barbara calls around to the office to pick up Bill as Graeme and his computer join them for an outing and the four lovebirds go on a romantic jaunt through the woods and in a playground. Bill and Barbara bound towards each other with arms outstretched only to overshoot and each crash into a tree, while Graeme skips arm-in-arm with his computer and clicks his heels with delight. Graeme also gives his computer a push on the swing (only to get flattened when he gets in the way) and a ride in a gondola while the two happy couples play leapfrog (another spectacular tumble for Graeme) and skip along the path together in lovestruck bliss. Bill and Barbara pash together on the grass and in the bushes (with Bill even stopping temporarily to clean the camera lens that they have steamed up!) but Graeme and his computer thankfully just settle for a steamy kiss before the lovebirds announce plans for a double wedding the very next day.
Tim finds that his cases have been packed for him as there will no longer be room for him in the Goodies' office and he crossly tells Graeme "As for you, the whole neighbourhood is talking about you and THAT … THAT (pointing at the computer) … it's disgusting!", only for Graeme to reply "It is not, it's beautiful! Anyway I've read the 'Plain Man's Guide To British Law' and they can't touch you for it!" However Tim is sufficiently appalled by the impending marriages to vow to put a stop to proceedings and he succeeds in doing so by rocking up at the double wedding in the guise of a Women's Lib protester to disrupt the ceremony (after Graeme's bride-to-be has arrived fashionably late in a Southern Electronics Transport Company van with her white labcoat-clad attendants) with a raucous soapbox speech condemning the drudgery of married life.
This commotion by Tim (with equally noisy backing from a reformed Bill) ultimately convinces Graeme not to tie the knot and he orders his future wife's attendants to "Take her away!", while Bill adds "And her!" as he orders Barbara's removal as well, only for Tim to be collared by Barbara's father who is impressed by such a headstrong speech ("We've got the church, we've got the vicar and now, By God, we're going to have a wedding!"), forcing Tim and the other Goodies to make a dash for the freedom of single life aboard the trandem.
The special 'A Collection of Goodies' episode at the end of Series 2 has Graeme consulting his computer on multiple occasions to verify the seemingly dodgy claims that Tim is making as tax deductions. In particular, Tim's claim for "a hundred weight of oats" causes Graeme to scurry to his computer as he can't recall any such purchase. The computer replays the classic footage of the Goodies exercising in a gymnasium and it turns out that Tim has claimed the oats for the runaway bucking pommel horse, which Bill so cruelly blasted with a rifle to stop it from terrorising Tim, who was having a wild ride on the back of it! The next claim is for "nine assorted dresses, three bras and eight pairs of cammy knickers", to which Graeme tells Tim that he can't claim for them because "You'll get arrested!" Bill remarks "That wouldn't be a bad idea. At least you get fed in prison.", but the computer is again consulted to reveal that the gear was used by Pan's Grannies in a very groovy performance for Englebert and the Older Generation. The computer also gives a reminder of Tim's next claim for "15 babies bottles and 15 nappies", which leads into the footage of the Goodies Baby Service where a busy Mum takes a rest while Bill throws 15 babies (out of a standard sized pram!) to Tim, who props them all up on Graeme's super-extendable leg.
Upon the return of the triumphant Goodies to London in Series 3's 'Winter Olympics' after they have melted the ice at the North Pole in order to be competitive in the sports events, Graeme realises that the Goodies have left their sun ray lamp still dangling from the butterfly and starts to panic about the rise in global sea levels from the melting of the ice cap. While Tim and Bill are rather dismissive of this fact (reckoning that the sea will only rise by "a couple of inches."), the explosion of Graeme's computer while it calculates the rise in sea level and Graeme's horrified cry of "It can't rise by THAT much!" paint a much bleaker picture. A knock at the window of the office reveals the fully-submerged Minister of Sport holding his breath underwater outside as Britain has been completely engulfed by the melted polar ice.
In Series 3 episode 'Way Outward Bound', Tim returns from a brisk morning jog to find Bill and Graeme barely awake at the breakfast table and demands that they do their early morning exercises, which have been programmed into Graeme's computer. While Tim energetically throws himself into his workout, Graeme and Bill sneak away and speed up the music to the extent that the computer spits paper everywhere and blows a gasket, while Tim collapses on the floor in exhaustion. An annoyed Tim asks "What did you do that for?!", to which an amused Bill simply replies "Fun!"
'The Stone Age' again sees Graeme parted from his trusty computer when he and his fellow Goodies are trapped inside the stomach of a prehistoric Tyrannosaurus rex in a deep pothole below their Cricklewood office. Bill and Tim soon reach the point of utter boredom (as Bill notes that there is "surprisingly little to do in a stomach") so they indulge in a hotly-disputed game of verbal football while Graeme uses a skull as an improvised computer to work on an escape plan from their predicament.
The latter series of The Goodies don't tend to make as much use of an office-based setting, so the computer doesn't get used as a prop as frequently as it was in the earlier series. However there are still several instances where the computer earns its keep in Series 5 and beyond, such as in 'Wacky Wales' where Graeme has programmed it to produce the Goodies' entry for the eisteddfod that they will be attending on the Welsh island of Llan dlubber. The Goodies practice their harmonious 3-part folk song, but Tim quickly cans it ("What a load of rubbish!") before the Goodies head off on the trandem for their not-so-fun trip to Wales.
The computer produces another memorable explosion in 'Scatty Safari' when Graeme sets it the tricky task of calculating the number of rampantly-breeding Rolf Harrises that infest Britain in plague proportions after the escape of the breeding pair and Little Rolf from the Goodies Safari Park (thanks to a jealous Des O'Connor!) The smoke-belching computer calculates that there will be 25 million Rolfs by Christmas; a figure backed up by Tim (who comments "That's exactly what Enoch (Powell) says. He's off to live in Jamaica!") which also prompts an urgent proclamation from a certain anonymous Queen that "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!"
At the start of Series 6 episode 'Hype Pressure', Bill complains that he feels "so tired" from his writer's block and he yearns to recapture the" muse that brought me the poetry" of 'Black Pudding Bertha', but his line of thought is merely greeted with cutting sarcasm by Graeme ("Eat your heart out Lord Byron! Move over Percy Bysshe! The Poet Laureate rules OK!") Bill continues to lament that he seeks to "recapture the merest smidgeon of inspiration" that produced the 'Funky Gibbon', only for Graeme to sarcastically ask "And who wrote it?! My computer wrote that. My computer!" Graeme calls out "C'mon, give me an ooo!" and his computer (with lights flashing and tape reels spinning) dutifully utters "Oooo!", so a downcast Bill decides to "give up music" … and "become a folk singer" instead!
The next two instances of Graeme's computer in storylines are both indirect references, but one is a classic quote and the other forms part of a very amusing sequence. In '2001 and a Bit', and ancient Tim tells his "right little crawler" son Bill Brooke-Taylor that Bill Oddie had been fired 25 years ago because "he kept biting people" and he then comments that Bill O's departure was followed soon after by Graeme Garden ("Tim's father") - "I'm afraid he went a couple of years later. He was put away for having an unnatural relationship with his computer!" Also in 'Scoutrageous', Tim is in the midst of dealing with the two masked Scouts who are systematically destroying his scouting gear (including his "nicely proportioned hat", "simply splendid Scout staff" and "soft soaking shorts") while they demand a payment from him for "500 quid-a-job week". After he has unsuccessfully offered them "a bob" to go away, Tim tries to fob the masked Scouts off by offering them some other items of value from the office - "You can have Graeme's computer and Bill's binoculars – they won't miss them!") – which unsurprisingly fails to appease them. Tim is finally forced to hand over the 500 pounds in cash to the masked Scouts when his" shiny shoes" are threatened with a Brillo pad.
In 'U-Friend or UFO', Graeme locates the alien ship as a "little green splodge" on his computer screen and later witnesses a game of outer-space tennis on his computer between Bill and the spaceship (with Supernun being belted around as the human tennis ball) in the style of an original Atari arcade video game.
The changeover of The Goodies to ITV brings with it a new and more upright computer model for Graeme, and one that is quite mobile in the two episodes that it appears in. At the start of 'Robot', Graeme and Tim analyse the rather disappointing end-of-year profits and expenses statements from the computer, and decide that "there is only one thing for it … Bill, you're fired!" Bill is naturally rather shocked by this snap decision, but Graeme rationalises it by saying that his computer suggests to "reduce our manpower by one-third" as the urgent solution to the Goodies' financial woes.
Towards the end of the episode when Bill eventually dispenses with his Nanny Helga disguise, he and Tim make a stirring speech which denounces robots for ruining the country and being useless compared to humans and demand that they all should be destroyed ("melt down C3PO and K9!" … "R2D2 for scrap metal!"), to Graeme's worried concern. This speech causes the robot to order "OK lads, all out!" and all of the electrical appliances in the office go out on strike, including Graeme's computer, which sandwiches Tim at one point as he gives chase. The computer is one of several machines that charges at Tim from multiple directions, though Tim is able to escape by using a large magnet to lift himself up to a girder on a crane as the machines collide in a fiery crash below. Graeme's computer is wrecked on impact, but he is able to replace it (and the various other ruined machines) by cloning multiple copies of Bill to do the work instead.
In 'Change of Life' Graeme feeds the Goodies' individual characteristics into his computer for it to select their own appropriately groovy new images and also to set up their hot dates. However the Goodies get quite a shock when their "ideal mates" turn out to be three old grannies who run them ragged as they drag the Goodies into a pub, over to a cinema to watch the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and then into a disco, before the old dears take off with three young bikies and leave the Goodies gasping for breath in their wake. Later in the episode, the computer plays a much more significant role when the Goodies have to "press the red button" on it in order to perform the 'Goodies Standard Test' (along with the robot) to prove that they are "still capable of carrying on as Goodies".
The computer issues the instructions for the test in a deep slow voice (with practical advice such as "mind the wires … and don't go too far to the left, stupid boys!") as the Goodies take a trip down memory lane to recreate some of their greatest moments (with lots of amusing in-jokes) such as Kitten Kong, Ecky Thump and Tim's patriotic speeches. Graeme's computer also keeps track of the scores and announces at the end that the robot has 53 points while the Goodies end up with a combined total of 54 points (Tim 24, Graeme 28 and Bill 2!) to win a very familiar job (3 Goodies wanted at the BBC!) which has already been snaffled by a trio of robots aboard the trandem.
In the 2005 special 'Return of the Goodies', Tim remarks "I still can't remember what we did" and Graeme laments "If only the BBC had left us a tape … here's one!" and holds up a tape that is marked 'Not to be played before Christmas 2005'. Graeme goes to pop the tape into his "laptop" (his gigantic old 1970s computer), only to find that "it's not compatible", so he decides that he will "give it an upgrade" by bashing the tape into the slot using a big mallet, which leads into the next series of Goodies clips and interviews.
Also in the 'Return of the Goodies', the three Goodies are looking at cardboard cut-outs of themselves from the 1970s and after Tim's statement that he was the "dashing debonair babe magnet" of the trio is quickly shot down by Bill ("No, you were the flaxen haired fop with the double-barrelled trousers and the Union Jack underpants!"), Graeme boldly makes the claim that "*I* was the dashing, debonair babe magnet!" Tim quickly objects that "No, you were not! You were the loony scientist with the computer and the glasses and the guinea pigs crawling up your chops! Ooh and you were a megalomaniac!", which is probably a far more accurate description than the one that Graeme provides of himself (though Graeme's band of dedicated groupie girls among the GROK fan club membership will no doubt beg to disagree with me!)
Graeme's computer works out who the beef-stealing suspects might be
Bill's rebus is projected onto the screen via the computer
1/3 Give Police A Chance
Bill's sherbet-fuelled visions of Tony Blackburn and the Laughing Policeman
2/2 The Commonwealth Games
Graeme consults his computer for the best chess move
The computer gives Graeme a forecast
2/4 The Lost Tribe
"You can tell that's a British computer!" - a nice cup of tea to warm things up
2/5 The Music Lovers
The computer plays the backing instruments as Bill lets rip
2/9 Farm Fresh Food
Graeme's Yummy Meter computer draws Bill's ire
2/10 Free To Live
Graeme is smitten with his computer
3/3 Winter Olympics
Graeme's computer blows up while calculating the rise in sea level
and Graeme freaks out over the result
3/6 Way Outward Bound
Graeme's computer explodes and Tim collapses when the morning
exercises are sped up
4/4 The Stone Age
Graeme is trying to compute an escape plan while Tim and Bill
relieve their boredom
5/4 Wacky Wales
The computer composes a three-part folk harmony for the eisteddfod
5/6 Scatty Safari
Kaboom at the thought of 25 million Rolfs by Christmas
6/2 Hype Pressure
The real writer of the Funky Gibbon - "Give me an Ooo!"
8/4 U-Friend or UFO
Graeme follows Supernun's launch on his computer
Tim and Graeme analyse the profit figures
The computer and other machines flee the office
Graeme clones Bill as his new computer
9/4 Change of Life
The computer conducts the Goodies Standard Test
Special - Return of the Goodies
"If only the BBC had left us a tape ... here's one!"
Graeme prepares to give his "laptop" an upgrade