» 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
8. THE TRANDEM
(from C&G 152 July 2008)
"Now Batman had his Batmobile, James Bond his Aston Martin, and we had … a bike!"
These are the words that Tim Brooke-Taylor uses in the BBC's "Return Of The Goodies" special in 2005 to reintroduce the trandem bike, which is the main mode of transport for The Goodies and truly enables them to do "Anything, anytime, anywhere" in the 1970s heydays of the show. More than that however, "A terrible thing happened. This trandem became the star of the show!", laments Graeme Garden in the same segment of the special and as usual, he's right on the money. This quirky three-seater bike is probably the most recognisable and enduring visual symbol from The Goodies (although Tim's Union Jack waistcoat and Graeme's fuzzy-chops sideburns are up there on the podium as well in my opinion!) and it is certainly a pivotal element in the storyline on a multitude of occasions throughout the entire run of the show.
The trandem makes its debut in the very first Goodies episode, "Beefeaters", where the lads step outside the office on their maiden assignment to the Tower Of London and appear to be about to get into a car parked at the kerb, only to wheel the trandem out from behind it and climb aboard. Tim attaches a flashing safety light to his head, Graeme hoists a Goodies flag on the back and Bill pumps up two tyres at once, only for them all to fall off sideways onto the road when they eventually try to ride it.
And this tumble wasn't necessarily just a stunt either, as Tim explains in a 2005 interview with TV Week when promoting the Goodies tour: "Very difficult (to ride). The very first episode we got on the trandem and fell straight over. That was because we couldn't ride the thing, so we wrote the fall-off into the script. Invariably we ended up in hospital with gashes and cuts." Bill Oddie has an even more ironic take on the early difficulties of riding the trandem, also from the reunion special: : "We wobbled off around a corner, straight into a truck and we were all killed!"
To add to the complexity in learning to ride the trandem, there are actually three different bikes used during the show. The initial bike in the first series is a red tandem bike that has an extra seat welded on the back for Bill to merely sit there and hang on tight without having to pedal, making it his favourite version as he recalls during the special. For the remainder of the BBC series, the Goodies have their proper red three-seater bike that all three of them have to pedal, then the move to LWT for their final series necessitates the construction of a nifty blue trandem for their adventures on the "other side". Graeme's recollections about the different trandems from a media interview in 2005 are: "We had several of them made, I think about three altogether. The first one Bill just sat on like a bit of luggage; nothing changed over the years, he didn't have pedals so he was just dead weight and that threw the whole thing out of balance, it was terrible. The later ones he got to pedal, and that was a little bit easier but not much."
The trandem is particularly conspicuous in the early series where the storylines are very much based around the job agency and helping out guest clients, as it is invariably the mode of transport which the Goodies use to get to the site of their job and it is then often involved with carrying the mission out. The trandem helps to carry the Goodies to all sorts of places, including the Playgirl Club, Cecily's mansion (both of these with a dragged-up Tim onboard!), Penrudden Cove, Scotland, the August Bank Holiday Islands, the countryside, Tally Ho Towers, Bognor, Camelot, France (when they were supposed to get to Skegness!), Wacky Wales, Pennenink, Sherwood Forest … and those are just some of the destinations from the first five series!
Not only does the trandem have the Goodies onboard either, it also helps to transport the likes of the Loch Ness Monster, Mrs Desiree Carthorse, evil Goodies doubles, an animal menagerie, the disused railway station office, Frankenfido, a prize cod, the Lone Scout (plus one), The Royals, The Doggies and a bunch of robots among others.
Some of the memorable trandem moments in order of episode screening are:
"Beefeaters" – The Goodies dressed as Beefeaters and wobbling along the road towards the Tower Of London with their staffs whirling around like a set of rowing oars and bowling over annoyed pedestrians along the way.
"Give Police A Chance" – the corrupt police sergeant nabbing Graeme for a parking ticket by encouraging the line painter to continually extend the "no parking" line as Graeme flees with the trandem, chasing him out onto the road and even painting the line across his back when he stumbles and falls over, then trapping the trandem at an intersection by sealing all of the roads off, causing the three Goodies to spin it around wildly in all directions looking for an escape.
"Loch Ness Monster" – The Goodies pedalling their way home from bonnie Scotland with the Loch Ness Monster in tow in a series of baskets at the back.
"Commonwealth Games" - The Goodies flying to the August Bank Holiday Island by sitting on the trandem and holding onto ropes dangling from a helicopter.
"Pollution" – Taking to the skies with a balloon mounted above the trandem to seed clouds with Graeme's magic mixture for curing the pollution problem, especially Graeme and Bill changing seats on the trandem while it is precariously dangling from the balloon in mid air, with Tim at the front moaning "We're all gonna die!"
"The Baddies" – after reporting that the trandem has been stolen, the Goodies merely earn the derision of the police as a series of lookalikes cruise up and down the street outside on it performing some rather un-Goody deeds, including firing catapults at a little old lady, upending another old dear's wheelchair, nicking a baby's bottle of milk then hurling it back into the pram, swinging three little dogs on leashes overhead like a lasso while riding along, dacking a policeman and later even supposedly saying "Knickers!" to Vera Lynn for good measure.
"Kitten Kong" – The Goodies pressed together against a construction barrier pedalling furiously after the trandem has rolled on down the road from underneath them, plus the classic footage of them again taking to the skies on a balloon-mounted trandem, this time dressed as mice and armed with a syringe of antidote to cut a rampant Kitten Kong back down to normal size again.
"The New Office" – Towing their newly-built disused railway station office along on the back of the trandem to escape the rapidly-encroaching suburban sprawl as bowler-hatted businessmen vainly chase along behind them.
"Hunting Pink" - An enraged Tim, riding the trandem solo in pursuit of the rabbit-costumed Bill and Graeme, sailing effortlessly over a hurdle and giving triumphant two-fingered salutes in all directions afterwards!
"Winter Olympics" – Another wobbly trip to the skies on a balloon-powered trandem to attach a sun ray lamp to a large butterfly in order to melt the polar ice cap and improve Britain's medal chances.
"Camelot" - The jousting aboard the trandem with Ye Black Knight, which the Goodies lose convincingly, as part of the medieval games with the ownership of Camelot as the grand prize.
"Goodies And The Beanstalk" – Bill's stylish solo cruise to the market aboard Buttercup the bike, only for it to be roundly ridiculed by the bike bidders and ultimately sold for a can of beans, which Graeme and Tim have much pleasure in pouring over Bill's head when he returns to them.
"The Race" - Cruising along on their trandem in very hippyish clothing, the Goodies have to pedal like hell to get out of the way of the Tour de France cyclists, winning the race themselves in the process.
"Frankenfido" – The extraordinary sight of the six-legged, shaggy monster-mutt Frankenfido cruising around on the trandem, with the Goodies trying to capture it again to the tune of "Come Back".
"Rome Antics" - The early Goodies from 55AD climbing onto a wooden trandem only for it to immediately fall apart, necessitating them to jog all the way to Rome to meet the Emperor.
"OK Tea Rooms" – A mean-looking Bill and Tim riding slowly into Pennenink on the trandem in readiness for the Bunfight at the OK Tea Rooms
"Goodies Rule OK" - Arriving in fine style aboard the trandem at the royal garden party, then later riding about in lairy Robin Hood-like gear through Sherwood Forest, entertaining people with various circus and magic acts.
"Lips Or Almighty Cod" - Riding along the streets of London on the trandem triumphantly holding their recaptured cod high to the cheers of bemused onlookers, who must have been wondering what the hell was going on at the time!
"Dodonuts" - Tim riding the trandem with Graeme on the back operating a missile launcher and crashing into a fence when the tyre is blown out, although a direct hit on the dodo's plane brings it down in a smouldering plume and it erupts in a huge fireball after it ploughs into Bill's small cabin.
"Saturday Night Grease" – The trandem even gets its own song with a colourful rendition of 'Greased Cycling', however it's a scrambled mess of misplaced bike parts by the time they finish with it!
Three of the later episodes also end with other parties riding the trandem as a final sequence – The Royals aboard a four seater trandem with training wheels in "Royal Command", The Doggies in "Animals" and three robots gurgling "Goodies, goody goody yum yum ... !" in "Change Of Life".
As already evidenced in the opening paragraphs, the modern-day Goodies reunion show and tours of Australia and the UK have given Tim, Bill and Graeme the perfect opportunity to reminisce about the trandem and poke plenty of fun at it too.
In "The Goodies Still Alive On Stage" shows held in Australia in 2005, Tim and Graeme (plus Bill on the first tour) make their grand entrance on stage astride a three-man zimmer frame complete with Goodies flag; an oldies version of the trandem which proves to be just as hard to control as the real thing as it goes careering off the side of the stage with a suitably loud crash sound-effect. Later in the live shows when the Goodies respond to questions sent in by Goodies fans, they screen the 'Greased Cycling' clip and provide the definitive answer to the trandem's current whereabouts by triumphantly holding aloft a little chunk of compressed scrap metal and grumbling, "And that's just the way we like it! I still hate that bike. Hate it!" Tim also provides an amusing anecdote about badly cutting his hand while aboard the trandem when it was suspended from a balloon during the filming of "Kitten Kong". A burly stagehand took one look at the wound and promptly fainted, before Tim tried to explain the circumstances of the injury to the BBC's female French nurse, only to be told abruptly to "piss off" when he started jabbering on about a giant kitten, bike and mice in French!
In "Return Of The Goodies", the Goodies are reunited with their main red trandem bike from the majority of the BBC episodes as one of the props in their fabulously redecorated office. Since being used for The Goodies, the trandem has gone to private ownership and has even been been ridden across Africa for charity, surely disproving the Goodies' grumbles that it is impossible to ride! However Bill still has some painful recollections of those days from long ago: "The pedals would ram into someone's shins and there was blood all over the place … which is no doubt why it was painted red. Perhaps it wasn't painted red – it was blue originally. This is blood … congealed blood, this is! Our blood!" As if to prove his point, he then crunches his crown jewels trying to dismount it again, but Graeme has the solution, wheeling the trandem offstage for some "minor adjustments". After a bit of rowdy drilling and hammering, the trandem re-emerges as a crumpled pile of metal just like in the stage shows, but it still whacks Graeme on the shin and toe just to prove that it hasn't lost any of its ability to maim its riders 35 years down the track!
Preparing for the maiden ride
Beware of the Beefeaters!
2/1 Loch Ness Monster
Heading home with Nessie in tow.
2/2 The Commonwealth Games
A rough ride to August Bank Holiday Island.
Preparing to dump Graeme's magic mixture into the clouds
Special Kitten Kong
Pedalling but going nowhere fast.
Trying to tame Twinkle isn't easy!
3/1 The New Office
Towing the disused railway station office away from suburbia
3/2 Hunting Pink
Tim aboard the trandem ... "Tally ho!"
Jousting Ye Black Knight
Special Goodies And The Beanstalk
Bill riding "Buttercup" to market
4/6 The Race
Pedalling in the Tour de France (though they don't know it yet!)
The bizarre sight of Frankenfido on the trandem
5/9 Rome Antics
Early Goodies and their wooden trandem
5/12 OK Tea Rooms
Riding into Pennenink for a bunfight with Greedy Graeme
Special Goodies Rule OK
"We're the Goodies, we're coming for you, hahahaha!"
6/1 Lips Or Almighty Cod
Cod be praised!
That dodo's coming down!
The Lone Scout (plus one) makes his getaway
8/2 Saturday Night Grease
9/4 Change Of Life
A new blue trandem for the LWT series
Not that it's any easier to ride than the red one!
"Return Of The Goodies" Special 2005
Tim, Graeme and Bill are reunited with their trusty trandem bike
The trandem after some slight modifications by Graeme!