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C&G 126 May 2006
#126 May 2006 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 06/01/2007

Index

» #126 May 2006

 
THE GOODIES CLARION AND GLOBE
 
THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF 'THE GOODIES RULE - OK' FAN CLUB
Issue No. 126                    15th May 2006
  
TO UNSUBSCRIBE:
E-mail <clarion@goodiesruleok.com> with UNSUBSCRIBE in the body of your message. If you are using multiple or forwarded e-mail addresses, please specify the e-mail address which you originally used when subscribing, otherwise we may not be able to remove you from the mailing list.
 
TO OBTAIN THIS NEWSLETTER IN E-MAIL TEXT FORM:
E-mail <clarion@goodiesruleok.com> requesting transfer to the E-mail mailing list.
.
 
CLUB WEBSITE
 
http://www.goodiesruleok.com
 
E-MAIL ADDRESSES
 
Newsletter enquiries: clarion@goodiesruleok.com
General enquiries: enquiries@goodiesruleok.com
 
POSTAL ADDRESS
 
'The Goodies Rule - OK!'
P.O. Box 413
Croydon VIC 3136, AUSTRALIA
 
THE LADS AND LASSES OF THE C&G
 
EDITOR
- Brett Allender <clarion@goodiesruleok.com>
 
ACE REPORTERS:
- Lisa Manekofsky
- David Piper-Balston
 
COR!! COMICS REVIEWER:
- Linda Kay
 
C&G CONTRIBUTORS:
Fiona Mikiel, Ian Cleveland, Andrew Pixley, Tim C
 
CONTENTS
 
1. QUIZ & QUOTE - Goodies brainteasers for you and you and you
2. SPOTTED!!! - The latest Goodies sightings.
3. 2001 AND A BIT - Tim, Graeme and Bill sightings post-Goodies.
4. FEATURE ARTICLE – Bill In The Times
5. GOODIES COR!! COMICS SYNOPSIS #50
6. QUIZ & QUOTE ANSWERS
 
 
1. QUIZ & QUOTE
(by "Magnus Magnesium")
 
QUOTE: "How a greedy, obnoxious, bad-tempered, filthy berk of a bird with bad breath, B.O. and a beak like a battleship ever lasted ten seconds on this planet absolutely beats me!"
 
(a) Which Goodie says this quote?
(b) Which bird is he referring to?
(c) Which episode is this quote from?
 
QUIZ: This month's questions are from the episode: "Come Dancing"
 
(d) Which Goodie enjoys watching the ballroom dancing on TV, to the boredom of the others?
(e) Whose learn-to-dance kit (with very camp instructions) do the Goodies use?
(f) What does Graeme invent to help the Goodies dance perfectly?
(g) What is Penelope Fay's true identity?
(h) What are the dancers doing on TV at the end of the episode?
 
The answers are listed at the end of this newsletter.
 
2. SPOTTED!!!
 
More exciting than getting your wig-spotters badge! If you've seen the Goodies recently, e-mail <clarion@goodiesruleok.com>with the details. Here's where we've Spotted!!! The Goodies this month:
 
TOP OF HER MAJESTY'S PLEASURE
 (Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 22nd Apr)
 
Upcoming Goodies-related appearances include:
 
* Top Of The Pops 2, Wednesday, 3rd May on UKTV G2 at 13:00 (then repeated at 16:00 & 19:00); also on UKTV G2 Plus 1 at 20:00. This repeat features Comic Relief songs plus a selection of famous comedy songs including a contribution from The Goodies.
 
* "Pleasure at Her Majesty's", Saturday, 6th May on Artworld at 00:35. This is the 1975 Amnesty International show featuring sketches from members of Monty Python and Beyond the Fringe (plus others). The film includes The Goodies performing "Funky Gibbon".
 
 
GOODIES IN JEOPARDY
 (Linda Kay – Goodies-l – 3rd May)
 
My family and I watch the game show Jeopardy and we're about a month or more behind on episodes (we have TiVo). On an episode in early March they had a category where all the answers (questions) contain a double B and the last clue showed a picture of an ape and said "This funky primate etc. etc." and of course the answer was "gibbon" but I have to assume the "funky" comment could only have been a reference to the Funky Gibbon (they usually throw in secondary hints in their clues). So one of the Jeopardy writers might be a Goodies fan or at least
remembers that song!  : )
 
 
IT'S GIBBON TIME AGAIN
 (Ian Cleveland – Goodies-l – 10th May)
 
A radio show "Tickling Tunes" with Roy Hudd may be of interest, it being a history of comedy records. The Goodies get a mention round about the 17th minute, erroneously saying the Funky Gibbon took the Goodies to no.1. Worth a listen though. It can be accessed by the BBCs listen again service at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/ticklingtunes_  
 
 
 
FROM THE GOODIES BOOK
 (Andrew Pixley – 16th May)
 
'The "Goodies" Rule Ok: The Official Story of the Cult Comedy Collective' by Robert Ross is up for pre-order at Amazon. Here's the details:
 
 
3. 2001 AND A BIT
 
If you've sighted Tim, Bill or Graeme in a post-Goodies role, e-mail <clarion@goodiesruleok.com> so that we can tell everyone where to spot a Goodie nowadays. Those of you seeking radio & tv alerts between issues of the C&G should consider signing up for the Goodies-L mailing list (more details available on the club website),as our crack (cracked?!) team of reporters attempt to post alerts as the information becomes available.
 
BILL SPOTTINGS
 
* A new series of "Springwatch with Bill Oddie" is scheduled to begin Monday, 29 May on BBC 2.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 22nd Apr)
 
 
* Bill Oddie will be hosting a new show called "My Famous Family", which starts on Monday, May 15th on UKTV History. The first showing will be at 9:00. The show will be repeated multiple times on that channel as well as on UKTV History Plus 1.
Here's a listing for the first episode:
"Florence Nightingale.
Bill Oddie hosts a new series revealing amazing secrets about individuals' ancestry. Music student Alice Bower has no idea she's descended from the woman who revolutionised nursing: Florence Nightingale. Alice also discovers her famous family includes an Arctic explorer and the Hollywood movie star Helena Bonham Carter."
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 3rd May)
 
 
* UKTV Documentary and UKTV Documentary Plus 1 are showing repeats of "Birding with Bill Oddie" at various times starting Tuesday, May 9th. Check your local listings for details.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 3rd May)
 
 
* Bill's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" will be repeated on UKTV History on Monday, 15 May at 8:00-9:00.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 3rd May)
 
 
* Thanks for Fiona Mikiel for reporting that The Baby Channel (Sky channel 285) is currently showing "Bill Oddie's Animal House" nightly at 8pm
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 9th May)
 
 
* Part 1 of Bill's appearance on "Married With Children" will be repeated on ITV2 on Wednesday, 17 May at 19:00. Part 2 will air the following day (Thurs, 18 May) also at 19:00.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 17th May)
 
 
* Bill is scheduled to appear as a guest on "The Paul O'Grady Show" on Monday, 29 May on Channel 4 at 17:00.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 17th May)
 
 
* I just spotted this item on BBC 7's website labeled under the heading "Coming Up": "Bill Oddie joins us as Comedy Controller and brings us a few of his favourite shows. Coming soon..."
"Comedy Controller" is a three hour block of programming in which a guest host introduces a selection of programs they've chosen from the material available to BBC 7.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 17th May)
 
GRAEME SPOTTINGS
 
* Graeme will be doing some publicity for "The Pocket Orchestra" (the new play he's written, which will premiere in London later this month). Here's the latest update. Please note the new date for the Radio 3 interview (it's tomorrow!)
 
RADIO:
 
Pocket Orchestra is scheduled to be discussed on several BBC radio shows (which can be heard worldwide via the internet). These include:
 
UPDATED * BBC Radio 3's 'In Tune' on Weds, April 19th. The show starts at 5:00pm. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/intune/
 
* BBC Radio 4's "Loose Ends" on Saturday April 22nd. The show airs from 18:15-19:00. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/looseends.shtml
 
 I believe both these shows will be available via Listen Again.
 
PRINT:
 
* Graeme's interview for the Independent Education supplement will possibly come out on Weds, April 19th (or, if not, the following week).
 
* The Telegraph Arts section will publish a piece Graeme has written. We're awaiting the actual publication date but hear it'll probably be towards the end of next week (the week of April 23rd).
 
* Graeme has done an interview for the next edition of 'The Lady' magazine. The publication date for this is not yet available. 
 
As a reminder, "The Pocket Orchestra" will be at the Trafalgar Studios in London from April 25th - May 20th (http://www.theambassadors.com/trafalgarstudios/sp_p2699.html . The show's star, Sylvester McCoy, will also be doing some interviews (but the club won't be getting any details about those).
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 19th Apr)
 
 
 
My First Job: Graeme Garden, radio and TV humorist and ex-Goodie, trained seriously as a doctor
 
'I experience a better form of hypochondria'
 
Interview by Jonathan Sale
Published: 20 April 2006
 
Graeme Garden went to the bad long before the Goodies: "I fell in with the wrong crowd: Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Bill Oddie..." It had begun so well. "My father was a surgeon. Most of the adults I knew were doctors or teachers - and doctors seemed a better role model. At school I was quite good at science and did A-levels in chemistry, physics and biology."
 
Then, instead of taking the fast track of pre-clinical study at medical school, he took the slow-track university route: three years of the Cambridge Natural Sciences course on anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. "It was just studying the sciences, dissecting genuine animals and doing lots of experiments. There was not much in the way of actual people, apart from watching lab technicians taking each other's blood pressure – and ourselves being used as guinea-pigs, breathing air depleted of oxygen: you pass out."
 
Health and safety regulations were rather more lax in the Sixties. The same is true of Seventies television series: "We wouldn't be allowed today to do some of the Goodies stunts." There was even a risk assessment carried out for Bromwell High, the cartoon series launched last year on Channel 4, in which Graeme just had to speak into a microphone. Even so, one can't be too careful: "You might trip over a cable.")
 
When not passing out in labs, he went along to the Cambridge Footlights club and was auditioned by its president, a young Tim Brooke-Taylor, and fellow Goodie. After graduating, Graeme began his clinical training at King's College Hospital in London. It was during this period that he began moonlighting on a radio series with Brooke-Taylor and Cleese.
 
Finding the time for this was difficult when he was doing his obstetrics course in Plymouth, sewing up new mothers: "The aircraft-carrier Ark Royal had been in Plymouth nine months before, so we were very busy."
 
It was only after his three years of training was over that he came to "the fork in the road". Offered a part in a television comedy series, he accepted on the grounds that this might not happen again, while medical jobs came up all the time. "I took the road less travelled."
 
He also took himself off the official medical register. "My medical knowledge is a blessing - or a curse. I experience a slightly better form of hypochondria, with a wider variety of conditions to choose from, for me and others. I did actually buy a medical textbook the other day. It's a fascinating subject."
 
'The Pocket Orchestra: The Unlikely Lives of the Great Composers', by Graeme Garden and Callum McLeod, opens at Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall, London SW1 on Monday. The next Radio 4 series of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' starts on 22 May
jonty@ jonathansale.com
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 20th Apr)
 
 
 
How do composers conduct their lives?
(Filed: 24/04/2006)
 
Graeme Garden, author of a new show about classical music, investigates
 
The characters and life stories of composers are as varied as those of any other group - schoolteachers or greengrocers, farmers or soccer managers. It is true that some lived flamboyant bohemian lives, but just as many carried on like accountants. Of course, some accountants are pretty eccentric, but that is a completely different line of research.
 
One thing that might unite the great composers is a love of the bottle, although that doesn't exactly set them apart from the rest of mankind. Beethoven and Mozart wouldn't say no to a bevvy and, of course, there were Brahms and Liszt.
 
Stravinsky liked a drink, too. In fact, he often referred to himself as "Stra-whisky" and several stories are told of him disgracing himself. He apparently became very drunk at a dinner in his honour at the White House, when President Kennedy had to escort him to the lavatory, before pouring him into a cab home.
 
On another occasion, a meeting arranged to discuss a collaboration with the painter Marc Chagall had to be abandoned when Stravinsky was found drunk and nobody was able to wake him.
 
Yet, when he was composing, his working methods were meticulously neat and his desk was kept obsessively tidy. This might make you wonder whether the wildness of his Rite of Spring came from the intake of drams or from the rigorous intellectual application of theory.
 
That raises another question: does knowing about the composers help us to understand their music? It is tempting to think that there is an obvious connection between the way a composer lived and the music he wrote (and most of them were "he").
 
Sadly, this isn't the case. Yes, Wagner was as mad and arrogant as his music, but, on the other hand, it is hard to square Tchaikovsky's bold, lush music with the fact that he was so nervous when he conducted that he felt he had to hold his chin with one hand to stop his head from falling off. And how could a character as complicated as Schubert, wallowing in drink and loose women, contracting syphilis and dying at 31, have written anything as sweet as his Trout Quintet?
 
It is often said that great composers compose because they have no choice - they simply have to write music. They also do it for the money. After he had written William Tell, Rossini - by then extremely wealthy - gave up and never wrote any more for the remaining 40 years of his life. He apparently had no burning desire to carry on creating, and was no doubt content to sit around scoffing Tournedos Rossini and being witty about fellow composers.
 
It was Rossini who said: "Wagner has some fine moments, but some dreadful quarters of an hour." After hearing Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz, he observed: "What a good thing it isn't music." And he once remarked: "I have just received a Stilton and a cantata from Cipriano Potter. The cheese was very good."
 
Perhaps there is a connection between Rossini's wit and his music. In the same way, there is an echo of Gustav Mahler's grim outlook on life in his compositions. Being an obsessive neurotic, he was afraid of composing a ninth symphony. He believed "the fact that Beethoven, Schubert and Bruckner died after having touched the number nine in their symphonies makes it a menace".
 
When he did come to write a ninth symphony, he crossed out the number and called it Das Lied von der Erde. Then he published his 10th symphony, now entitled the ninth, and died.
 
If it were a simple equation, we could examine the life of a composer and then guess what kind of music he wrote, or we could hear the music and guess what sort of character wrote it. But it doesn't work like that.
 
Consider Richard Strauss, the infamous composer of the "immoral" Salome and the swaggering 2001 theme tune Also Sprach Zarathustra, loved by the Nazis. At home, Richard was the archetypal henpecked husband. Whenever he came in the front door, his wife, Pauline, made him wipe his feet on three doormats - one wet, one dry and one rubber. Yet Richard stayed faithfully and apparently contentedly in an uneventful marriage. His wife's father owned a brewery.
 
'The Pocket Orchestra', written by Graeme Garden, opens at the Trafalgar Studios, London SW1 (0870 060 6632), on Wed.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 25th Apr)
 
 
* "The Long Hot Satsuma", the 1980's sketch show starring Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, and Alison Steadman, will be repeated on BBC 7 starting Monday, 15 May at 22:30. You'll be able to tune in worldwide via the internet from www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7 .
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 9th May)
 
 
* Just come back from a recording of QI, the BBC4 quiz with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies. One of tonight's guests was Graeme!
No idea when it will be broadcast (although last night's episode was for Children in Need, which is traditionally in November).
Just thought UK fans would like some early warning!
(Tim C – Goodies-l- 18th May)
 
 
TIM SPOTTINGS
 
* "Golf Clubs with Tim Brooke-Taylor" is being repeated by Discovery Real
Time Extra. Please check your local listings for dates & times.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 22nd Apr)
 
 
* The following article appears at
Belfast Telegraph Home > News
 
Stranger in the night at hotel
By Eddie McIlwaine
emcilwaine@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
22 April 2006
Former Goodie Tim Brooke-Taylor knows now that he should never have left the window of his hotel, in a Belfast suburb, open.
For he woke in the middle of the night to see a figure clambering in.
"It was the height of the Troubles and I thought I was going to be assassinated," he admits now.
But all was well in the end - the mystery figure turned out to belong to a man who was more than a little the worse for wear trying to get into the hotel without being noticed.
"We had a chat and I directed him down the corridor to his own room," recalls Tim now.
He is returning to Belfast on Saturday, May 6, to host a concert of requests with the Ulster Orchestra.
"It wouldn't be fair to name the hotel," says the star of the long running BBC radio show, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
"But I was scared by that figure at the window."
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 25th Apr)
 
 
* "Never Mind the Full Stops", a comedy panel show, will have Tim as a guest on Thursday, 18 May on BBC 4 at 22:30 to 23:00. The host is Julian Fellowes and the other guests are Nina Wadia, John Sergeant, and Rod Liddle.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 9th May)
 
 
I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE (ISIHAC) and
I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN (ISIRTA)
 
* New episodes of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" are scheduled to begin on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, 22 May.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 22nd Apr)
 
 
* BBC 7 airs old episodes of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" (with Tim and Graeme) and "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (with all three Goodies) on Mondays; they are available via Listen Again for six days after broadcast. The shows can be heard worldwide via the internet from www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 22nd Apr)
 
 
* The paperback edition of the "Uxbridge English Dictionary", the ISIHAC tie-in book with selections from the New Definitions rounds, is being published in the UK on May 15th.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 28th Apr)
 
 
* ABC Radio National is broadcasting "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" (with Tim and Graeme) on Sunday mornings at 5.30am.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 3rd May)
 
 
* The following information is from the ISIHAC mailing list:
We have now booked a date for the third and final recording of the hit Radio 4 series 'Hamish & Dougal : You'll Have Had Your Tea' which is to take place on on Sunday 21st May 2006, at the Shaw Theatre, 100 - 110 Euston Road, London NW1 2AJ, starring Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Jeremy Hardy and Alison Steadman. Tickets are £5 and obtainable from the Shaw Theatre Box Office tel. 0870 033 2600 from 12 noon on Thursday 11th May. Otherwise the Shaw Theatre Box Office is open from 10-6pm Monday to Friday. Doors for the show open 7pm and the recording starts 7.30pm (approximate running time – 1 hour, 30 minutes).
Hamish and Dougal (aka Barry Cryer and Graeme Garden) are the two Scottish gentlemen made internationally quite well known from their appearances in the 'Sound Charades' round on ISIHAC. They are accompanied in the series by Mrs Naughtie, a cleaning lady cum housekeeper played by Alison Steadman, a local laird played by Jeremy Hardy, and a 4 piece ceilidh band. This is their third Radio 4 series.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 10th May)
 
 
* The I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue team plus Jeremy Hardy will be performing a short selection of rounds (for about twenty minutes) as part of a tribute show in memory of the comedian Linda Smith which is taking place at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London on Sunday 4th June at 7.15pm. Just A Minute and The News Quiz will also be doing 15/20 minute stints. The evening is hosted by Jo Brand and features the likes of Andy Hamilton, Phill Jupitus, Paul Merton, Arthur Smith, Mark Steel, Mark Thomas and Sandi Toksvig. Tickets to the show cost between £27.50-£37.50 and are obtainable from the theatre's Box Office on 020 7834 1317. All proceeds will be going to support Linda's favourite charities.
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 10th May)
 
 
4. FEATURE ARTICLE
 
BILL IN THE TIMES
 (David Piper-Balston – Goodies-l – 9th May)
 
 
The light at the end of the tunnel
THE ANDREW BILLEN INTERVIEW
Despite Bill Oddie's huge success, he has been fighting depression - a
battle which Britain's favourite birdwatcher now feels he is winning
 
It may, as a critic wrote, have made him a bona fide TV star all over again but Bill Oddie is not over fond of Springwatch - not as a title, that is. This is the fourth year he will be presenting television's ultimate reality soap in which June (the month rather than the C-list celeb) bursts out all over, but the first year it was called Wild In Your Garden and the second Britain Goes Wild. Only last year did the BBC marketing people come up with Springwatch.
 
Oddie, one of about a million comedians with a reputation for grumpiness, but one, as we shall discuss, who also has the misfortune to suffer from clinical depression, let them know what he thought about celebrating spring at a time when even the coots in the village pond are slapping Factor 25 on their foreheads. The BBC redefining spring to suit its schedules was the first sign of madness, he mocked. They'll be showing The Office Christmas Special at Easter next.
 
"And then I said, 'Wait a minute. I think I can justify this in my mind. If it's like the end-of-term report for the spring term I can buy that. That's OK'." The nation's end of term report on Springwatch was a rave. A pair of peregrine falcons nesting in a tower block drew more viewers than celebs failing to mate on ITV's Celebrity Love Island. In March it won the Royal Television Society's features and factual prize, the judges praising its knowing cynicism - an unusual quality in the natural history genre and a tribute to the former Goody's idiosyncratic presenting skills.
 
But if Springwatch as a name is misleading about the seasons, those previous titles with "wild" in them were, I think, misleading about Oddie. True, when I run into him outside the North London house where he lives with his second
wife Laura and their teenage daughter Rosie, a very short walk from Hampstead Heath, he is looking, in his rugby shirt, combat trousers and boots, a bit dishevelled and ornithological. But he is not wild in the sense of his Goodies persona, running round beanstalks in speeded-up fashion, "doing" the funky gibbon and sharing a "trandem" with Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor.
 
His house is wacky but in a deliberate way, suggesting that he is either a man in need of constant cheering up or one determined to prove to visitors that he wasn't just the musical one among the crazy trio who delighted us to an extent now hard to fathom between 1970 and 1982.
 
He urges me through a kitchen populated by Mickey Mouse models, a music room divided between American pop memorabilia and ethnic masks and into a rock garden covered with gnomes, plastic birds, and all sorts of other nonsense including a tiny Jesus walking-on-water feature.
 
A fox has been in and Oddie fusses round, righting toppled figurines and reinstating plastic birds to their nooks. We talk to the melody of a cheese grater whistling in the breeze as it dangles from a tree.
 
That we still need and want Bill Oddie now that he is 64 is partly because of his likeability and partly due to his having presented critics a moving target. At Cambridge, where he read English, he was part of the early Sixties Footlights gang of John Cleese, Eric Idle and Trevor Nunn as well as Brooke-Taylor and Garden. He went on to have a small role in the success of the BBC's That Was The Week That Was and toured America under its banner. Received opinion has it that The Goodies, once dismissed in a scripted cameo by John Cleese as a "kids' show", has not stood the test of time but nor, to be frank, has Cleese's Monty Python. What survives of its comedy can best be appreciated on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, to which, after one initial series in 1972, he has never returned. But while Oddie was making kids (such as me) giggle he was quietly earning the respect of birdwatchers (such as my father), who admired his 1980 Little Black Bird Book. After The Goodies fizzled out on ITV, Oddie reinvented himself as a wildlife presenter, originally on TV-am and then at the BBC, where his programmes have included The Big Bird Race, Oddie in Paradise, Bill Oddie Goes Wild and three series of Birding with Bill Oddie.
 
 
"It's all telly. It's all showbusiness," he explains. "When people say, 'Do you miss the comedy?' I say no because the ingredients or the qualities that you have to have are the same, whether you're doing sport, comedy or wildlife." The running gag on Springwatch last year was a comparison between what the birds and the bees were up to and his own depleted libido. A showbiz joke? "No, not really," he says sadly. Mind you, he flirts hard enough with his co-presenter Kate Humble and is full of the joys of spring when our young photographer, Sophie, arrives. "Why not," he cries at one point, exploiting the licence of a grandfather three times over, "do that shot where I lie down and you straddle my body?"
 
Oddie's third evolutionary step has been into genealogy. It came about because he was the first subject of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC Two in 2004. He used its format to uncover why his mother had spent most of his childhood in a mental hospital, leaving him to grow up on the outskirts of Birmingham with his accountant father and a harridan of a grandmother. Now, on UKTV History, Oddie is helping to present My Famous Family, in which non-celebrities trace their family trees back to the point where they discover someone famous. He had wanted to do more work on it, he says, but he got ill. I think he means the flu. He doesn't.
 
Oddie spent a week in a psychiatric clinic in 2000 and had another depressive episode in 2002. This was a further relapse. "I felt I was suddenly sinking towards the end of November. I would say it plummeted to the utter nadir just before Christmas and, as they say, that's a classic time for that sort of thing to happen.
 
"I got through Christmas and I was past feeling absolutely catatonic by then, the total misery state. I got through it but it was hard work. I put myself in hospital for about four or five days. I think that was a bit of a giveaway because once I got in there I got rapidly bored.
 
"Really, I think all I needed in this case was to be sort of incarcerated for a couple of days and do nothing, which is what I did and then I discharged myself and I thought, 'I can do this at home. I'm in control enough to do that.' And then as soon as I got into the new year I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel." When this happens now does he now know there is an end in sight? "Well theoretically. I mean, I wouldn't recommend it. I've had three bouts now but the encouraging thing was that the last one was much shorter and I think that's because I've had a lot more psychotherapy between things. The first times, a few years ago, I didn't really examine what the problems might be. I don't believe these things are completely chemical, although they are to a point.
 
"I think most people say this about depression, that chemicals will help you and medication will help you perhaps overcome it initially, but it won't work permanently if you don't follow it up with quite intense psychoanalysis of some sort."
 
I check what he means by this because, strictly speaking, all psychoanalysis is Freudian. "Yeah, I suppose roughly speaking it's that, but certainly the guy I go to see would never talk in those terms. If I'm feeling in a decent mood we're just as likely to talk about England's rugby team, or the Wales rugby team in his case.
 
"At the moment I go twice a week, but there was a period when I was really bad when I went nearly every day or he came to see me. That was when I was in extremis."
 
At a bureaucratic public meeting of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in Hampstead last September, Oddie lost his cool and accused the trust of using him as a "free cabaret". But his resentment seemed also directed at the medical profession's more general attitudes to the mentally ill. His own mother's treatment back in the Forties was certainly shocking. She was committed for schizophrenia whereas he now believes she was suffering from manic depression. It had been triggered by grief after a late miscarriage and then the death of a daughter at five days old. He visited her only once as a teenager and she could not remember him. Later, in the late Sixties, she lived in her own flat in Rochdale from where she wrote, asking for money. The occasional meetings were hard.
 
When she died in 1990, he paid for her funeral but did not attend it. He now realises that her undiscussed absences had made him hate her. "I think the sad thing was that my mum by then had been institutionalised for so long and also probably tranquillised and given electric treatment of a pretty unsubtle nature that, bless her, she was a bit of a vegetable. She wasn't literally that but she certainly wasn't a particularly lively person."
 
What worries me is whether our treatment of the mentally ill has much improved. Certainly, antidepressants are better targeted than the old liquid-cosh tranquillisers, and the grim old asylums have mostly closed. Yet at that meeting in Hampstead, Oddie alarmingly described how during his first depressive episode he went to a private mental hospital where he was left alone in a room, cowering in the corner: "I could have been a dog just being left in a kennel." (He was subsequently successfully treated at the Charter Nightingale in London.) He also considers his illness was initially misdiagnosed as a bipolar disorder by a consultant who suggested putting him on lithium.
 
"I don't want to slag anybody off because I don't mean that at all – they have to examine everything - but when he said 'lithium' I knew that was the bipolar drug and I'm not bipolar. I know quite enough about myself to know that. No way. I just don't have the ups, don't have the manic thing at all." But I can see why a doctor might think he did: Bill Oddie Goes Wild. In fact he is a pretty controlled person, isn't he? "Absolutely, totally." So do we treat the mentally ill properly? "Oh, no, no, no. I totally agree with you, and I don't think we ever will. But it's better than it used to be."
 
On Who Do You Think You Are? Oddie described his journey into his family's past as "self-help" rather than "curiosity" and he is insistent that understanding why his mother disappeared has made him happier. He wishes he had known earlier. "I'm increasingly of an opinion that you need to know things. I think it's quite dangerous to put blinkers on. I think there's an inherent danger there if you try and keep everything on a totally frivolous level all the time. At some point, it's all going to go wrong."
 
In a school report a teacher wrote of the teenage Oddie making "an unerring choice of the trivial". Perhaps he took to comedy because he was avoiding things? "I think that's probably true. It's that phrase 'blanking things'. I couldn't even remember anything particularly bad about my childhood. It is only when I pieced it together." Although his candour in the past has proved inspirational to other sufferers, Oddie has always turned down requests to represent mental health charities or campaigns. I don't blame him for preferring to be better known for other things, such as his music, his jokes and indeed his birdwatching, at which he is rather more than a gifted amateur (David Attenborough signed a copy of his book Life of Birds with: "To Bill, who knows a great deal more about this than I do").
 
So what shall we see on this year's misnamed Springwatch, I ask, and of course he does not know yet because, as in all the best reality shows, the sex and conflict happen live. Yesterday, however, he was in Chester preparing a pre-recorded item. "It's certainly the best morning I've ever had with small furry things, put it that way," he says and it is a very Bill Oddie way of putting it. We agree to leave the detail to the wilds of the nation's imagination.
 
Springwatch begins on BBC Two on May 29. My Famous Family will be shown daily at 9pm from next Monday on UKTV History.
 
 
5. COR!! COMIC SYNOPSIS #50
(by Linda Kay)
 
Issue 185
15th December, 1973 No. 72
 
(Note that this issue of Cor!! was incorrectly numbered ... it should have been issue #73 but instead was listed as a second No. 72! This was not corrected, as the following issue is #73 and it continues on from there afterwards)
 
The Goodies television show was firmly based in fantasy, so anything could happen and any number of wondrous creatures could exist. So it was no stretch for this month's Cor!! Comic creator to have our heroes facing an honest-to-goodness dragon!
 
Header: THE GOODIES "SERPENTLY" HAVE TROUBLE DRAGON HUNTING!
 
The Goodies are huddled around a candle on the desk in their office when a man wearing smoking and burned clothing dashes in hurriedly.
 
BURNING MAN: Quick, Goodies - there's a *dragon* loose in the woods!
 
GRAEME: Chatter . . . you must be kidding! Brr!
 
BILL: I - I hope he's h-hot! I could do with w-warming up!
 
AND SO ...
 
The Goodies ride their trandem into the woods (we know this because there is a sign on a tree which reads "The Woods"). Tim and Graeme are shouldering a long pole (it is also hitting Bill on top of the head).
 
GRAEME: Well, here we are at the woods - now to find the dragon!
 
They find a cave and gather around it, Tim holding the pole up on its end.
 
BILL: According to the map drawn by the guy in our office, this is the dragon's hide-out!
 
TIM: One of us had better go in and take a look!
 
Graeme and Bill immediately start to push Tim toward the cave's opening.
 
GRAEME: A *volunteer!* Good man!
 
TIM: Hey! W-what .. ?
 
A dragon comes running out of the cave after Tim with a ROAR! Tim runs for it, still clutching the pole.
 
TIM: ARRGH! It ... it's a for-real dragon all right! Help!
 
The pole sticks in the ground and Tim climbs up it and out of the dragon's reach. The dragon stands up on its hind legs and eyes Tim with a RAARGH!
 
TIM: I knew this pole would come in useful!
 
The dragon angrily shoots fire at the bottom of the pole, which begins to burn. Graeme and Bill watch from behind a log.
 
TIM: Gulp! Maybe I wasn't such a bright spark after all!
 
The burnt section of the pole snaps in two and Tim falls, landing squarely on the dragon's back! Graeme and Bill are still observing from behind the log.
 
TIM: OOF! Ouch!
 
GRAEME: Ride him, Tim!
 
BILL: I'm going to get the fire extinguisher from our bike, before Tim gets his socks singed!
 
Bill grabs the fire extinguisher and starts to run forward but trips as he's reading the instructions.
 
BILL: It says here ... turn upside down, tap nozzle smartly and ... OOPS!
 
As Bill hits the ground with a CLUNK! the fire extinguisher goes off and sprays foam all over Graeme.
 
GRAEME: Gargh! You're supposed to put the dragon out - grough! Not me - Yourp!
 
Graeme stumbles while covered with foam and when the dragon sees him it becomes frightened and its fire goes out as Tim flies from its back.
 
TIM: Crumbs! Foamed-up Graeme has frightened all the fire out of the dragon!
 
DRAGON: Eeeek! A horrible ... slimy something!
 
The dragon runs off into the woods in fright. Tim goes to shake Graeme's slimy hand in congratulations.
 
DRAGON: Yelp! Yelp!
 
TIM: Good riddance ... he saw it was *pointless* arguing with The Goodies!
 
Suddenly a knight on horseback and carrying a lance comes riding up behind them. The knight's lance hits Tim right in the rear. The dragon is behind, using the knight for protection.
 
TIM: Yelp! Now *I'm* getting the point!
 
ST. GEORGE: Gnaah! You bad Goodies, teasing a poor dragon!
 
GRAEME: Yikes, it's St. George! Hey, I thought you slew a dragon!
 
St. George turns away with the dragon following behind him cockily.
 
ST. GEORGE: I only put that story around to stop people bothering my pet .. !
 
The Goodies are dejected and Bill sits down on what seems to be a rock, only it starts to splinter apart!
 
BILL: Pathetic - pathetic ... that's what it was!
 
GRAEME: There, there - don't crack up, Bill!
 
TIM: It ... it's not Bill that's cracking up, it's that stone - it's a giant EGG!
 
Bill leaps up when his bottom is suddenly burned, slamming right into Tim's face. Graeme leaps up in shock as well as a baby dragon emerges from the egg.
 
BILL: Ye-OUCH!
 
GRAEME: Oh, no! A baby dragon ... run for it!
 
BABY DRAGON: Haw!
 
The Goodies climb up onto a tree branch and assume the classic Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil monkey poses. Fortunately the baby dragon is very small and sits under the tree breathing fire and smoke and looking playful.
 
GRAEME: Hey, I think it wants to be friendly! Let's take it home with us - I've an idea!
 
Back in their office the Goodies are sitting around their boiler comfortably as the baby dragon breathes fire into it. A tea kettle on top of the boiler is starting to whistle. Graeme brings the dragon a bowl of food.
 
GRAEME: Ahh, this is better! I *thought* this dragon would be hot-stuff!
 
BILL: I'll never cold-shoulder one again! Every home should have one!
 
TIM: Tea will be ready soon!
 
Sign-Off Line: The Goodies Return In Next Week's Super Issue!
 
RATING (using the BLACK PUDDING RATING SYSTEM):
 
III - Goody goody yum yum.
 
This is a very cute outing with some clever moments. The dialogue may not have as many puns and jokes as usual (and oddly enough many of the puns come *before* their explanations this time) but the artwork is delightful and the story plays along well.
 
There are a number of fun things to notice in the background as well. In the first panel the Goodies' apartment is so cold even their single light bulb hanging from the ceiling has frozen! And huddled around the candle with them is their resident mouse who's made appearances in previous episodes as well. But where's the cat? Look closely, he's peering from just behind the table!
 
While riding their trandem into the woods a fox is watching them from the bushes. Outside the dragon's cave we can clearly see what will turn out to be the egg later on! After Tim climbs up the pole to escape from the dragon a startled bird eyes him from a branch at the same level Tim has reached. It's at this moment that Graeme and Bill dive for cover behind the log. For some odd reason when Bill is going for the fire extinguisher Graeme is not wearing his glasses in that panel.
 
 
The way Graeme is drawn with foam all over him is particularly funny, but in the first panel his glasses are on, then off in the next, then on again! And in the last panel when the Goodies are seated around the boiler the cat is in full view, enjoying the heat right next to them (only this time there's no sign of the mouse). The boiler has also been attached to the room's radiators, making it very cozy ... so cozy that the Goodies are wearing summer clothes!
 
All in all this is a delightful little strip which is simply cute and fun.
 
To view these strips online, you can visit this page:
http://members.aol.com/corcomics
 
We'll post the currently reviewed issue plus the two previous issues for latecomers.
 
 
6. QUIZ & QUOTE ANSWERS
 
(a) Bill Oddie
(b) His pet dodo
(c) Dodonuts
(d) Tim
(e) Lionel Bleeah
(f) Special remote-controlled suits
(g) Peaches Stilletto, the ballroom shark
(h) Wrestling each other
 
YOUR SCORE:
8    Goodies fan supreme
7    Mastermind of the year
5-6 Clever clogs
3-4 Reasonably Goodie
1-2 Thick as old boots
0    Rolf Harris!
 
 
NEXT C&G EDITION:
- #127: 15th June 2006. 
 
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The Goodies Fan Club Clarion and Globe is copyright The Goodies Rule - OK! 2006. All rights reserved.
Permission to reproduce this work or any section of it, in any form must first be obtained from the copyright holders.
 
For further information regarding this publication please e-mail <clarion@goodiesruleok.com>.
For other general enquiries about the 'Goodies Rule - OK' fan club or 'The Goodies' itself, please e-mail <enquiries@goodiesruleok.com>
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