A BBC newsreader reports that "Mystery still surrounds today's disappearance of the Millennium Dome" (as footage is shown of the dome swelling up and exploding with a "loud pop", leaving a big crater in the ground) and that "the area had been used by the BBC as a dump for discarded sets of classic comedies." The newsreader advises that "Sightseers have been warned to stay away from the area as there are some things best left buried." (with the refrain of "Goody goody yum yum" in the background)
The Goodies' long-abandoned office is shown with white sheets draped over all of the furniture, and Bill and Graeme's voices can be heard outside the door. Bill remarks "Hey Graeme, this is locked. We haven't got a key, have we?" and Graeme rather smugly replies "Hang on Bill, I don't need a key to open this. You stand back … turn around … bend over (Bill: "Beg your pardon?!") … 1-2-3 Hup!" Graeme uses Bill as a battering ram to smash the door open and they both tumble into the office with hardhats on their heads (with Graeme's hardhat sporting a pair of fuzzy-chops sideburns!), as Graeme surveys the wreckage and wryly comments "You're lucky I put a polystyrene door in there all those years ago, aren't you?!"
Bill looks around the office and exclaims "Twenty-five years … and nothing's changed!" (before patting Graeme's nearly-bald pate and noting "Well, some things have changed just a little bit!"), but he has a "funny feeling that something is missing." Graeme agrees ("Something. Or someone!") and there is the sound of a toilet flushing and Tim emerges, with a greeting of "Oh it's you two!" Apparently Tim has been in the loo since 1980 ("It was a very difficult crossword, alright?!") and Bill and Graeme bring him up to date with the "absolutely humiliating" ways that they have been "scraping a living". Bill notes that "Life's not been easy, not like in the good old days", but Tim has to ask him to "Remind me of what we did" and after Bill tells him that they used to do "Anything … anytime … anywhere", (and Tim says "You mean, like the Goodies?), Graeme points out that it's "Exactly like the Goodies!", which leads to the first series of Goodies clips and comments from guest interviewees.
John Cleese comments that "They did some wonderful bizarre funny strange stuff; a lot of it very very good visually", while Martin Freeman reckons "It was a real early experience for me thinking I was going to die of a heart attack" and Jon Culshaw says "The Goodies were completely indestructible, weren't they? A live action cartoon mixed in with these incredible surreal flights of fancy.", during which Goodies clips including the tomato soup flipper from 'Clown Virus', the gymnasium scene from 'A Collection of Goodies' and Nanny Tim plunging into the water in 'Cecily' were screened.
Two of the Goodies' favourite targets in Tony Blackburn ("I was a running gag in the show, which for any performer, anybody on radio or television, is a delight") and Rolf Harris ("I would have liked to have played the part of myself actually, in the role, and I wish (the Goodies) had approached me") are also interviewed, while Phill Jupitus makes the observation that "The Goodies were so of their time, just capturing that perfect little bubble so belonging to that decade."
BACK IN BUSINESS AGAIN
Back at the Goodies' office, the white sheets have been removed to expose a swag of famous props (such a goose with a golden egg, the 'Funky Gibbon' glove, an Ecky Thump flat cap and a 'Scoutrageous'-style hat, just to name a few) as Tim stands beside a cardboard cutout of himself from the seventies and proclaims that he was the "dashing debonair babe magnet", only for his claim to be rubbished by Bill. All three Goodies have their "babe magnet" status promptly shot down in flames by their fellow Goodies and Tim worries that he "still can't remember what we did". Graeme bemoans "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', which he goes to pop into his "laptop" (his gigantic old 1970s computer), only to find that "it's not compatible".
Graeme 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 (including footage from 'The Goodies Rule – OK', 'Wacky Wales', 'The Movies', 'Radio Goodies' and 'Punky Business' among many others) and a voiceover that declares "Welcome to the Return of the Goodies" to a rapturous ovation. Graeme initially reckons that the noise is "Rain, or hail" (holding his hand out and looking skyward) while Bill says "I recognise that. I last heard that on a beach in Alaska. That is the sound of a herd of elephant seals on heat!" (and demonstrates with clapping and grunting noises), but Graeme replies "Close! That is in fact the sound of an audience." as the camera pans back to show the bumper crowd watching proceedings.
Bill asks Tim "They haven't all been here for 25 years too, have they?", to which Tim gets rather embarrassed and distressed ("they probably heard everything I did!" while in the loo) until Graeme threatens to whack him with the mallet to calm him down. Bill observes that "We always used to have a live – nearly! – audience in the studio" and Graeme notes that the Goodies also used to have commercials, which leads into screenings of 'Captain Fishface' (from 'It Might As Well Be String') and the 'Soft Margarine' which gushes out all over housewife Tim when he opens the fridge.
Tim objects "Wait a minute, what about my beans boy?! … He was the favourite of all the housewives, royalty … everyone loved that, the beans boy!" and while Bill can't recall the "beans boy" Graeme can and tells Bill "You'll enjoy this" (then adds "You won't!" while smirking at Tim) as two of the mock 'Beanz Meanz Heanz ads (with schoolboy Tim getting slapped in the face and knocked over by the punching bag) are screened. Tim glares at Graeme and Bill and strongly objects, as he grumbles "Wait a minute, wait a minute! Why did I always play the parts of women and little boys who were hurt?! I suppose because you were so hairy, you couldn't play those parts.", but Graeme rather matter-of-factly replies "No. Because we wrote it!", to an accompanying smirk from Bill!
THE GOODIES CHARACTERS
Narrator Emma Kennedy tells that "In the seventies the Goodies became one of the biggest comedy acts of the decade" (as more Goodies clips are screened from 'Cunning Stunts', 'Kung Fu Kapers' and 'Goodies and the Beanstalk', among others) and clocked up "12 years, 9 series, 70 episodes, 5 specials, won awards and had a dedicated audience of over 12 million viewers a week". The Goodies also "didn't just stop at conquering the small screen, but sold over 900,000 records" as well as having best-selling books and comics.
Martin Freeman observes that "They were obviously three clever blokes, but they weren't afraid to just be silly", while Jon Culshaw notes "Like sort of superheroes, weren't they? With no special powers other than just a lively imagination" and Emma Kennedy comments that "They were just three manic silly chaps who, for a laugh, ran an agency who could do anything, anytime, anywhere." In an interview, Bill says "Basically if you line the three of us up in a parade and said 'What do these three represent?' in those days, you'd say 'that's the posh one (footage of Tim), that's the boffin (footage of Graeme) and that's the scruffy little oik!" Bill continues "We've denied – well certainly Tim has, and Graeme to a certain extent – that the characters are based on ourselves" and Tim reinforces this by saying "I dislike my character … The only thing he has in common with me is he's a coward. The rest of him represents almost everything I don't."
Footage screens of Tim in various Goodies scenes as Ronnie Ancona describes him as being "a slightly establishment figure, an effete sort of character … but innocent, vulnerable and put-upon", while Adam Hill asks "What is it with Tim in drag?! Really!" and accompanied by footage of Tim rather glamorously dolled up as Lady Macbeth in 'The Movies' and then as Mrs Cricklewood in 'Chubby Chumps', he continues: "Did anyone else ever look at Tim when he was dressed in drag and kinda think 'Ooooh!'?", then pauses and utters "Just me?!" in a rather sheepish tone. Tim explains that because The Goodies was anti-establishment, they also needed an establishment figure to make fun of, "so I was the Queen, the government, whatever it was".
Graeme notes that "Bill was the sort of right-on leftie and the one who probably best represented our actual political leanings. To offset (this), he was given a character that was extremely grumpy and bumptious and grotty and rude and aggressive." (as footage is shown of Bill in 'Kung Fu Kapers', 'Cunning Stunts', 'Earthanasia' and other episodes) Emma Kennedy reckons that Bill was "the cheeky one, he was the naughty chimp. And strangely, he was sort of the sex symbol! (cue Graeme's description of Randy Pandy in 'Superstar' – "Him? But he's fat and hairy and horrible!") How does that work?!", as she gives a bemused grin.
Tim observes that "You never quite knew where you were with Graeme, that's what was so great about his character. … He could become this terrible Nazi creature or he could be a great scientist." Jon Culshaw says "He had these long sideburns, very curious, and these glasses, and I thought he must have been very clever. A planner, sort of like the intellectual mind behind these schemes"(as footage plays of Graeme in 'Radio Goodies', 'Snooze', 'Kitten Kong', 'Frankenfido' and other episodes.
THE GOODIES AND THEIR GUESTS
The Goodies was an instant hit when it started in 1970 and with the BBC's decision to show its first run on BBC2 and then repeat it on BBC1, the "surrealist comedy of The Goodies came crashing through". Emma Kennedy notes that the Goodies "loved playing around with the concept of the nightly news bulletin" (as the clip from 'Goodies and the Beanstalk' featuring BBC newsreader Corbet Woodall is played) and David Quantick mentions that "The Goodies were the first people to really understand that newsreaders were celebrities in themselves (rather than just journalists), but they used them as comedy characters." Newsreader Michael Barratt is shown "doing the bounce" in 'The Goodies Rule – OK' and Phill Jupitus says "Barratt was so good, just staying completely deadpan and just doing it as it should be."
Footage is also shown of Raymond Baxter presenting 'Tomorrow's World' in 'It Might As Well Be String' and Magnus Magnusson interviewing Cuddly Scamp on 'Mastermind' in 'Frankenfido', but the narrator notes that "there was one iconic seventies celeb and Radio 1 DJ who copped it Goodies-style for five long years" – Tony Blackburn. Graeme in his interview observes that "It then became a little awkward because we had records out and we needed to be on Tony Blackburn's playlist. We thought we could either start being nice about him, which would be totally mealy-mouthed and unacceptable, or we could just go on sending him up but invite him onto the show and send him up" This led to Tony's cameo appearance in 'Scatty Safari' and Bill notes "And of course, he did exactly the right thing of enjoying the joke and coming along and allowing himself to be the butt of the joke." as footage screens of Tony being released from a wooden crate, galloping across a meadow to the theme music from 'Black Beauty' and then being callously shot by a hunter. Tony Blackburn observes that "It's not every day you get shot on television and live to tell the tale! … The whole of my life I've been sent up by everybody and I love it. And the Goodies did a marvellous job."
THE GOODIES HIT THE POP CHARTS
Emma Kennedy narrates that "by the mid-seventies, the Goodies had become so big that TV wasn't enough, so they decided to take on the pop charts and like a plot from one of their episodes, they clocked up five hit singles in the space of twelve months." Bill tells that it was the idea of record producer Miki Antony, who suggested that as the Goodies had a "huge TV show going on", it could work if they brought out some records as well ("as I suppose you could say, the Monkees did") 'The Inbetweenies' was the first hit song released, but Bill explains that for the second song, he had decided that "we're now going to do what I'd really like to do, which is something very silly and a lot funkier than that"; so 'Funky Gibbon was released and marched into the Top Ten on the hit parade.
James Rampton recalls that "At their peak there was a form of Goodies-mania, if you like, that gripped the nation. Perhaps it wasn't quite Beatles-mania level, but it certainly was a huge frenzy of interest. They were across all media, they were in the pop charts, they were appearing on children's shows, they were on 'Engelbert' and 'Seaside Special', 'Funky Gibbon' got to #4 in the charts …" Tony Blackburn comments that "When the 'Funky Gibbon' came out as a single, I actually thought it was quite good. I think there's room for stupid silly records and it was just a bit of fun." Bill observes that "The great thing for us was that we didn't really take it seriously; it would have been deeply sad if we had", while Graeme says that "We felt a bit bad (about other music acts worrying about their position on the pop charts) because we were just having a laugh."
Back at the office, Graeme admires a scale model of a fluffy Kitten Kong climbing up the Post Office Tower and wryly says "You see, that was the problem. Our effects were just too convincing!" as he introduces the footage from 'Kitten Kong' where Tim appears to be dragged along by the kitten on a lead. Graeme says "You've probably wondered 'How on earth did they do that?'" and prepares to reveal the secret; though Bill warns him that he is "shattering illusions", but Graeme continues anyway and then acknowledges that "Tim, you did suffer more than they know" as he introduces the stop-frame sequence where Tim "nobly and very stupidly said I'll carry on" rather than having to reshoot a lengthy film sequence and gets dragged along through a fresh pile of dog poo. Graeme spruiks "Shocking, and well, yes, to enhance your viewing pleasure, let's see that again in slow motion … and I use the word 'motion' advisedly!" (which cracks Bill and Tim up) and Tim groans and screams in horror as the footage of such a bad memory rolls along. Bill reckons "That has to be the very definition of devotion to comedy duty - taking a turd up the nostrils!"
Bill also mentions that he still gets letters from people who complain that although he is now a wildlife guru, "'during the days when you were in the Goodies, you were not very nice to animals'. Not very nice?! We were flippin' horrible to them!" (with a hearty laugh afterwards). Following footage of animals supposedly being mistreated in episodes such as 'Dodonuts', 'Almighty Cod', 'The End' and 'Rome Antics', Bill incredulously gasps that "They weren't real animals!" (before quickly adding "Well some of them were real animals, but they enjoyed it!" with a wicked grin) and details a complaint that he received from a lady after 'Black & White Beauty' in which she accused him of "thrashing this poor defenceless horse". Bill claims that he wrote back to her and told her that "it wasn't a real horse … just Tim and Graeme in a skin"; to which she wrote back and apparently said "Well that's alright then. More of this please!"
After footage from the 'One Note Rock' music clip from 'Hype Pressure', the Goodies' comedy roots from the early-1960s are examined in detail. The popular music hall style was giving way to "a more intelligent form of comedy" such as Peter Cook's 'Beyond the Fringe' and David Frost's 'That Was The Week That Was', and much of it had its origins with the Cambridge Footlights, which Tim and Bill joined initially; then Graeme came along a little later and auditioned for Footlights membership in front of Tim ("And he rather graciously let me in"). Tim says that the Footlights were "unpretentious" at the time ("people felt slightly stupid and did it for fun") and the Goodies' fellow members at the time included future Pythons John Cleese and Graham Chapman.
John Cleese recalls that "Tim was funny, very conventional in his thinking and very easy company" and "Graeme was almost professorial, in a very attractive way"; while "Bill was more eccentric; he didn't give a damn about his dress, which always endeared him to me (and) he was the only one of us who was really talented musically", as footage is shown of the Cambridge Footlights performances from that era; including a notable one on the 'Ed Sullivan Show' where Bill, Tim and others sing the gospel-style 'London Bus' to an estimated TV of 90 million viewers (although Bill says "If I'd done it in Harlem, I'd have been shot!"). David Gooderson describes the Footlights shows as "inspired dottiness" and this led on to the three future Goodies and John Cleese (plus David Hatch and Jo Kendall) teaming up in 1964 for the radio comedy classic 'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again', which would run until 1973.
Tim and John also teamed up with Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman in 1967 for their "first big TV break" in 'At Last – The 1948 Show', which Barry Cryer describes as being "a complete mix – it was like 'Monty Python meets The Goodies' when you look back at it with hindsight … John Cleese (would play dominating characters and) suddenly explode in a fit of rage or hysteria – the roots of Basil Fawlty were there. … Tim has a wonderful line in panic … all of this energy reaches its fruition in The Goodies." John Cleese and Graeme Chapman "really clicked" while doing 'At Last – The 1948 Show' and it was to be the start of the formation of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', while Tim joined up with Graeme for 'Broaden Your Mind' – a spoof educational sketch show linked by an artificial encyclopaedia – on the BBC in 1968.
Barry Cryer says that "Graeme has always been the marvellous boffin, the scientist, the expert, the great man saying ridiculous things; that's what he does brilliantly", as a clip from 'Broaden Your Mind' shows Graeme as the sinister Doctor Findish talking about the terrible disease of Tergonitis (as it affects hapless viewer Tim while he watches the report on TV) and finishing up with an evil "Today Tergonitis, tomorrow the world!" in a prelude to his 'Radio Goodies" rant a year or so later (one of many BYM references that got carried on into The Goodies). Graeme recalls that "Tim was finding the rather effete aspects of his character and this cowardice and things" while Bill didn't appear on-screen but thinks that he may have contributed some "musical items" to the show.
When it came time to do a third series of 'Broaden Your Mind', Tim, Bill and Graeme collectively said to the BBC that they wanted to do "something different instead" and pitched the idea of "an agency that does anything" to Michael Mills (the Head of BBC Light Entertainment at the time). Mills said that it was a "standard idea" that he received "all of the time" from other comedians, but Bill recalls that he said "I know you people well enough to know you'll do something different with it. Have a series". Bill continues "Not even 'have a pilot', have a series!" … and so The Goodies was underway in 1970.
"Now Batman had his Batmobile, James Bond his Aston Martin, and we had … a bike!" These are Tim's words as he introduces the famous trandem bike to great applause, though he adds "We'd rather you didn't applaud it. We hated it!" as the Goodies come forth to take a closer look at their old nemesis. On the first day that the Goodies had to ride the trandem for filming, they found that they simply couldn't keep their balance, so they rewrote the script for 'Beefeaters' so that it looked as though they intended to fall off. The footage from 'Beefeaters' is shown and Bill sarcastically remarks that "We wobbled off around a corner straight into a truck and we were all killed!" Bill sits on the back seat and comments that he quite liked the trandem from the first series as he "didn't have to do anything … I just sat there and laughed at those two at the front there!", but the modified trandem for the remaining series had three sets of pedals which would "ram into somebody's shin and there was blood all over the place" and he reckons that the red colour of the bike is not from paint, but " blood … congealed blood, this is! Our blood!"
Bill has trouble with his dismount of the trandem (almost knackering himself in the process!) while Graeme laments that "A terrible thing happened. This trandem became the star of the show!", as it even had a song written especially for it, which leads into the 'Grease Cycling' clip from 'Saturday Night Grease' as well as clips of the trandem from various other episodes. Afterwards Graeme asks for some help to wheel the trandem through a doorway for some "minor adjustments", but after he pulls a lever there is a crushing sound and he carries the trandem back out on stage as a crumpled pile of scrap metal (as Bill enthusiastically says "That's the way we like it!") Even in this battered state, the trandem still manages to whack Graeme on the shin as Bill notes that "It still has the power to hurt!"
LIVE CARTOON CHARACTERS
The very first scene from 'Beefeaters is shown as Emma Kennedy narrates that "Tim the patriot, Graeme the boffin and Bill the anarchist set up their soon-to-be-famous headquarters in Cricklewood." Tim remarks that "I still partly regret the title; it still has that slight goody-goody image to it. I'd rather it was a bit sillier." James Rampton observes that "They did sit in their office like Charlie's Angels and wait for this week's mission. But that became more and more irrelevant as people tuned in just to see their fantastic eye-popping stunts and their very surreal take on the world."
Bill recalls that "Our theory was we're going to treat ourselves a lot of the time as cartoon figures. That came from our love of Buster Keaton in particular, but silent comedy in general, and Tom and Jerry and that sort of violent cartoon which we were huge fans of and still are. We couldn't wait to do the sort of things that Tom and Jerry did." Sanjeev Kohli comments that "'The Goodies and the Beanstalk' is actually possibly more surreal than people give it credit for. Because it's childlike, people think that childlike equals childish. It doesn't", while Mark Gatiss reckons "I think it's the big visual images that stay with you and that is their great strength. To an entire generation they just came up with these really insane big ideas which you just always take with you."
The Goodies always had a storyline for each episode, even if it was somewhat eclectic and fluid in nature. David Quantick observes that "The Goodies really did have a very powerful, very weird logic. Unlike Monty Python which would spiral in a very predictable manner you could almost guess in advance, (with) the Goodies you've got no idea where in the hell they were going." After a clip of 'Wild Thing' from 'The Goodies Rule – OK", Ronni Ancona says "I loved the way in Goodies Rule – OK it just keeps coming at you" and that there were "a lot of elements in the Goodies that were quite biting and quite satirical", such as the following clip of Sooty as the Prime Minister of a puppet government. Emma Kennedy adds "The government are all hand puppets, like Sooty is the Prime Minister with Sweep in the cabinet and I think the Clanger is the Chancellor of the Exchequer; it's madness!"
JOKES AND STUNTS
John Howard Davies (the Goodies' Producer at the time) confirms that "we had more money than knew what to do with" and "The Goodies were very lucky as anything was possible provided you could think of what it could be", although Bill says that there was "very little money wasted" and that although the show was expensive, "we would literally price jokes" and Graeme explains that it was sometimes a choice of a 2000 pound joke or "four 500 pound jokes" depending on what best suited the scene. Bill notes that "there was no computer animation" at the time and that 'Kitten Kong' sent up the special effects used by Hollywood, as Jon Culshaw comments "Looking back today, first of all you get a nostalgia and a fondness. The special effects seem more charming in a way" (with various scenes shown of Twinkle's rampage in 'Kitten Kong'). Phill Jupitus says "That image of the kitten on the cardboard Post Office Tower is one of the most iconic images of British television", while Emma Kennedy reckons "I however always remember Michael Aspel being clubbed to death by the kitten's paw. That to me was the greatest moment in that episode" (as the footage of the crushing conclusion to Michael's interview is shown).
John Howard Davies tells how the stunts had to be "worked out in a disciplined and thorough way" ("We didn't kill anybody, at least not to my knowledge!") as some of the great Goodies stunts are shown (notably the barn wall falling on the Goodies in 'The Movies'). Tim says that "Bill and Graeme claim they always wrote things so I'd get hurt" as "You can see that I'm the only one that dresses up as women and leaps into water!", but instead reckons that he was the only one fit enough to perform such dangerous stunts.
The Goodies were fortunate to be graced by the presence of many "distinguished comedy actors" as their special guest stars, but Bill only half-jokingly comments that "We stopped that after a couple of series because they were better than us. … We're standing here like three dodos while the other person is getting all the comedy lines, so this had to stop, but we fortunately got through some of the great comedy people like Beryl Reid and Stanley Baxter". Footage is shown of both stars plying their comedy wares in the show (along with Roy Kinnear in 'Rome Antics') and Stanley Baxter gives his insight of the character that he was asked to play in 'Loch Ness Monster' and the dialogue (such as "Hoots mon") that "Scots have never made".
Emma Kennedy comments that "The dialogue can be quite pantomimey, but I don't think (the Goodies) will be too cross with me for saying that although they were fantastic performers, they weren't the greatest actors that have ever been put on screen. But I loved them for that because they were kind of rough and ready, which is very endearing." An offended Graeme retorts "The cheeky young minx!" back at the office, while Tim wonders "We weren't that bad, were we?" and Graeme replies "No, we were steeped in theatrical tradition!" Bill even reckons that "We had a certain star quality", which is backed up by a good-sized clip from 'The Movies' that shows Tim's grand entrance to the preview screening as Lady Macbeth, a camp Graeme's "new suit" and Bill staggering in as "the poor man's Richard Harris" (which makes Tim reconsider that "Emma might have been right!" after all!)
Bill states that 'The Movies' was "one of the most complicated programs we ever did" and that it "all got mixed up with hilarious consequences" as a lengthy (though edited) clip of the silent-action closing chase scene is screened. Bill sits alongside the other two Goodies and marvels that he is "racking my brains to think how did we actually do that" and Graeme divulges that "We had to models at the end … to try and keep track of who was doing what and who was being played by a double. It was about the most complex sequence we did and it was all using the old-style movie tricks – the same sort … that Buster Keaton and our heroes used themselves." A good deal of the visual trickery of The Goodies was thanks to their Director, Jim Franklin, who specialised in "knitting together little bits of film", such as the amazing singing dogs in 'Kitten Kong'. Bill reveals that the editing process for this particular clip took Jim several weeks (as he had to cut up bits of film with scissors and then stick them together perfectly) and that Jim's secret of success for getting the dogs to move their mouths in such a manner was "to give them extremely chewy toffees!"
'Kung Fu Kapers' was "a show so popular it would go on to inspire kids across the land to take up the new Lancastrian art of Ecky Thump", as choice footage from the episode is featured. David Quantick remarks that "It was a very well-done parody, it was properly thought out, it had proper logic inside it and was also bloody stupid!", while Stanley Baxter says that "Ecky Thump was a kind of north country hit or blow, which I suppose was similar to a Glasgow Kiss. It was just the sort of anarchy that children love!" Sanjeev Kohli recalls that "For about a year in Bishopbriggs, in the north of Glasgow, in the mid-seventies, it was just Ecky Thump all over the playground."
Emma Kennedy narrates that "On a sad note, one viewer watching 'Kung Fu Kapers' gave the Goodies the ultimate tribute." and Bill adds "Surely every comedy show would – using an unfortunate phrase – kill to have one of their fans actually die laughing! We did actually kill a viewer; we know which bit he was watching, we've dared people to watch it since. It was a little bit in the middle where Tim came on with a pair of bagpipes and attacked me." (as the offending footage is screened) Graeme notes that "Apparently he was well-known for his hearty laugh and he let out a particularly hearty laugh and died." and Bill takes up the story that "We got a lovely letter from his wife and – I'm not kidding – she said 'I'd like to thank you for making his last moments so enjoyable'!"
THE NEW GENERATION
The Goodies continued to score hit ratings on the BBC right up to 1980, by which time they had made 68 episodes, but as James Rampton observes "The Goodies by that stage were thoroughly mainstream, extremely good, extremely popular, but that was part of the problem for the younger generation was against anything popular and mainstream. (with footage screening of melees from 'The Goodies Rule – OK' and 'Punky Business') In was coming a younger generation of snarling aggressive types, just like punks if you like", most notably 'The Young Ones'. John Howard Davies comments "I think every series has its lifetime and plainly The Goodies had reached the end of its life. It was also getting even more expensive at the time and I thought that I could spend the money better in other areas … And it seemed to me after seventy episodes it was quite enough."
Bill recalls that the Goodies were summoned and told that the BBC intended to do 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy', which would be very expensive, and that they received "the offer you can refuse – would you mind waiting to see whether 'Hitchhiker's Guide' is a hit?" Graeme adds that "Our future sort of depended on the failure of 'Hitchhiker's Guide', which we felt was not entirely saying that they loved us anymore!" and John Howard Davies says "Quite frankly, it was time to move on. I just said we're not doing any more of that. And that was it. A ten-year run on the BBC is very very good going in anybody's language. Hardly anybody has ever managed to do it and they deserve their success." (as footage screens of Bill's lament from the end of 'Superstar' that "the dream is finished").
THE OTHER SIDE
During 1981, London Weekend Television got in touch with the Goodies for talks and offered "a lot of money and a three-year contract, so we said 'Yeah well, that's more faith than the BBC is showing at the moment", according to Graeme. Tim was reluctant to make the move initially, but was fine once he got there and considers that "We made some good shows." (as footage is shown from 'Big Foot') Director Bob Spiers notes that "It was slightly more difficult for an organisation like LWT to make The Goodies. They may have slightly underestimated the complexity of the show; it is a hugely complex show and I think maybe they didn't quite get that." Graeme recalls "So we made one special and one series, then Michael Grade saw how much it was costing him and he pulled the plug. They paid us for the three-year contract, but not to make shows and obviously we couldn't make shows for anybody else either." Tim ruefully says "It was 'that's the end of the Goodies basically and now move on'. Anti climax."
The three Goodies split up to pursue different careers in entertainment, though Tim and Graeme still work together regularly on the long-running radio comedy classic panel game 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' that Graeme devised way back in 1973. Graeme has also been a prolific comedy writer while Tim makes regular guest appearances in shows (with a clip shown of him as a doctor in 'tlc') and Bill "brought birdwatching to the masses in the 1990s and has become one of the BBCs most popular naturalists", but "Bill the Goody pops out every now and again" as evidenced in a clip from 'Fun at the Funeral Parlour' in 2000 where a funeral goer bails up a formally-attired Bill and enthusiastically gushes "I just remember that bit where the giant white cat knocked down the Post Office Tower. Pretty good, Bill. Comedy classic!" A huffy Bill replies "This is not the appropriate time or place to discuss the Goodies, alright?!" before he changes his tune and adds "Do you realise it's our 30th anniversary?! You'd think they'd show a few repeats, wouldn't you?!" before he is chastised by the funeral director.
WHY NO GOODIES REPEATS?
James Rampton observes that "Programs such as 'Porridge', 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em', 'The Good Life' are repeated almost ad nauseum on the BBC. The Goodies have never enjoyed those endless repeats. I wonder why?" John Howard Davies provides a partial answer, at least for the early days, when he says "My views were such that when it had the chance of being repeated, I chose not to repeat it in the early stages simply because the repeat transition times available to me weren't suitable." Tim comments that "One of the sad things is that we've never been repeated, but hopefully we'll be appreciated, especially for the visual stuff, for a long time to come."
James Rampton adds "The Goodies had ten years at the top. They were a part, an absolutely integral part, of many people's childhoods and that's why they're still thought of very fondly and why I think they're ripe for rehabilitation now." Bill asks "Name me another series that ran for ten years, had five Top Twenty records and the top-selling book in the country for three years running. There shouldn't be any, frankly." As various classic Goodies clips are shown from 'Scoutrageous and other episodes, Martin Freeman comments "It was three grown men giving themselves completely for the cause of stupidity and I really admire that!", while Sanjeev Kohli says "Not all of the gags stand up, but then not all of the gags probably stood up back then. It's still as vibrant, it's still as enthusiastic, it's still three or four laughs a minute, which is a pretty good hit rating."
Bill notes that "It would have been really stupid of us if we didn't accept that kids liked the show and it's nothing to be ashamed of" and Mark Gatiss reckons that "A new generation of kids would be able to pick up on it and enjoy it for what it is", as the section ends with genie John Cleese's closing sneer of "Kid's program!" from 'The Goodies and the Beanstalk'
The Goodies have run out of time for more reminiscing and Bill says "I personally have got to go and see a man about a blue tit. See you again in another twenty-five years". Bill goes to walk out the door, but is shocked to find that it has been blocked off with solid concrete and he calls Graeme over. Graeme curses "They've entombed us again! Damn, I hate it when they do that!" Tim comes over and asks "What's happened, fellas?" and Bill replies "Oh nothing much; it's just that we're gonna have to be stuck in here for the rest of our lives with nothing to do except watch old Goodies repeats.", which causes a frantic Tim to scream and bellow "I'm a teapot! I'm a teapot! ..."
The special then concludes with 'The Goodies Theme' and credits and the clip from 'Gender Education' where a crazed Bill blows up the BBC.
* Bill (to Tim): "You haven't been in (the loo) all that time, have you?!"
Tim (crossly): "It was a very difficult crossword, alright?! … "And what have you been doing all this time?"
Graeme: "Ooh, scraping a living."
Bill: "Absolutely humiliating, it's been. I've sunk very very low, me. I had to accept an OBE, just so I could flog it off on eBay! And worse than that … I've had to do hundreds of wildlife documentaries."
Graeme (firmly): "Yeah, and I've had to watch them!"
* Rolf Harris: "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!"
* Tim: "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!"
* Tim (admiring his cardboard cutout from the 1970s): "I was the dashing, debonair babe magnet … Hello Cheeky!"
Bill (objecting): "No, you were the flaxen haired fop with the double-barrelled trousers and the Union Jack underpants!"
Graeme: "*I* was the dashing, debonair babe magnet!"
Tim (also objecting): "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!"
Bill (proudly):"Absolutely, so by process of logical elimination, *I* must have been the dashing, debonair babe magnet, right?!"
Graeme: "That's right."
Tim: (incredulously): "Wait a minute! You were the ugly …"
Bill (frustrated): "Alright, alright, alright! I was the scruffy, yet strangely loveable, little oik!"
Graeme: "You were *not* loveable!"
Bill (even more frustrated): "Alright, I was just a little oik then! Are you happy?!"
* ('Funky Gibbon' and 'Top of the Pops')
- Mark Gatiss: "I think there was a legendarily uncomfortable 'Top of the Pops' appearance where Bill was having the time of his life because he'd wanted to be a rock singer all of his life and Graeme, God bless him, very uncomfortably doing all that armpit scratching in those terrible Rod, Jane and Freddy dungarees."
- Bill: "The dungarees were deeply embarrassing – I can't believe some of the things we were willing to wear! I can't believe we did that unfortunately … oh my God!"
- Sanjeev Kohli: "Novelty records are mostly s**t, 'Funky Gibbon' was funky, I really liked the 'Funky Gibbon'. I've seen it on national television, I think it stands up. I think it might be going on my iPod!"
* Graeme (regarding 'Kitten Kong'): "It's all an illusion because the audience was fooled by our state-of-the-art special effects there. Actually that wasn't a real kitten … that wasn't even a real lead. It was like a stick with a bit of fluff on one end … well, a bit of fluff on both ends!" (as he glances across at Tim, who laughs)
* (The formation of 'Monty Python' after 'At Last – The 1948 Show')
- John Cleese: "When we rang up Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric (Idle) and Terry Gilliam and said 'Why don't we do something together?', it wasn't as though we were cutting Marty and Tim out of it; they'd gone off on their own anyway."
- Bill: "And actually, I've never really known whether Tim should have been a Python, cos from where we stood, he kinda should have been."
- Tim: "That's the time I think I might have joined the Python team, but I'm glad I didn't; not because they aren't great, but my writing isn't that good, I don't think, and in that show you need all to be writers."
* Bill (about riding the trandem): "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. Actually it wasn't painted red – it was blue originally. It's blood … congealed blood, this is! Our blood!"
* Bill (about 'The Goodies Rule – OK'): "The Giant Dougal had about ten people in it, all running behind us. Thank God for silent movies because the collective swearing from inside that thing was shocking!"
* Emma Kennedy (regarding the Giant Dougal): "Where did that idea come from?! These are intelligent men - they went to Cambridge – and they're sitting around thinking 'How do we destroy Chequers? I know, let's be chased by a Giant Dougal and have Zebedee bouncing and destroying all of Chequers. Yeah, that's logical!'"
* Stanley Baxter: "When I first read the script (for 'Loch Ness Monster') I inevitably winced somewhat at all the 'Hoots mon, hoo the noo are you' and all those noises that Scots have never made; especially 'Hoots mon', I mean, I've never heard any Scot say that in my life! But I thought let's go along with it because it's a kind of Sassenach vision of the Scots. I just thought I'd do a sort of John Laurie voice - you remember him – he was always saying 'You're doomed. You're all doomed!' So it was a bit like that with great thick bushy eyebrows."
* David Quantick: "I think that they are one of the great comedy teams … I think that The Goodies was a brilliant show; its longevity and popularity shows that … and I think every child in Britain should have to recite the names of the three Goodies until they cry!"
John Cleese, Emma Kennedy, Martin Freeman, Ronni Ancona, Jon Culshaw, Tony Blackburn, Rolf Harris, Phill Jupitus, Adam Hills, David Quantick, Steve Punt, Mark Gatiss, James Rampton, Sanjeev Kohli, Bruce Dessau, David Gooderson, Sir David Hatch, Barry Cryer, John Howard Davies, Jim Franklin, Stanley Baxter, Bob Spiers
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A wonderful reunion special some 25 years after The Goodies concluded on the BBC with a perfect mix of anecdotes and reminiscing from Tim, Bill and Graeme, insightful and entertaining comments from a multitude of interviewees, literally dozens of classic Goodies clips from the whole gamut of episodes sprinkled throughout and some very amusing new material to start and end the show as well as linking up various sections along the way.
The only downside was the poor decision by the "trendy BBC" to cut the initial 2 hour special back to 90 minutes (surely they could have spared an extra half-hour of programming time after depriving British Goodies fans of repeats for more than quarter of a century!), especially as this denied fans the chance to see founding GROK President Alison Bean's contribution and a lengthy section on Mary Whitehouse and how the Goodies ultimately offended her, as well as various other comments and discussions by guest interviewees and the Goodies themselves.
All in all, a brilliantly worthy tribute to 'The Goodies' and its phenomenal success, influence and fond memories over the 35 year period (at that stage) since it first went to air in 1970 and one which gives Tim, Bill and Graeme the full credit that they deserve for the amazing comedy that they created as a team.
BLACK PUDDING RATING