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A Collection Of Goodies Media Interviews
Goodies - Various (Aust Tour) - 2005 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 27/12/2009

Index

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» Graeme - Cotswold L...
» Bill - Daily Mail 2...
» Bill - Varsity 2012
» Graeme - The Age (T...
» Graeme - TV Tonight...
» Tim - Daily Mail (A...

(from Tour C&G - March 2005)

 

CANBERRA TIMES - 19TH FEBRUARY

(Peter Wearden - Goodies-l - 22nd February)

 

DO BIRDS have a sense of humour? Comedian-turned-ornithologist Bill Oddie isn't sure. "But, if they do, I'd love to think that they're sitting back and laughing at all the rest of us fussing and chasing after them," he says. It could be a scenario for an episode of the former television comedy The Goodies with Oddie and colleagues Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden dressed as birds and - typical of British comedy of the time - adopting different socio-economic roles and attitudes.

 

The Goodies was one of the most popular television programs of the 1970s and a landmark in British comedy. It's been described as "a live-action version of a Warner Bros cartoon [with] speeded-up footage, film trickery and violent slapstick".

 

The three eccentrics on their customised bicycle for three (the "Trandem") were a perfect salve to a 1970s Britain racked by strikes, a three-day week, inflation and unemployment. And, it seems, they were even more popular in Australia. Now, amazingly, they've reunited for an Australian tour, principally to take part in Sydney's Big Laugh Comedy Festival. Just don't call them legendary. "It makes us sound as if we're dead," Oddie says, slipping into one of his favourite daft dialects. For the past 10 years, he's been presenting bird and wildlife programs on British TV. A younger generation there know him only as "Britain's best-known bird watcher", a tag which amuses him. "Name me one other. There's not exactly a lot of competition."

 

Where younger Britons know The Goodies only from recent DVD releases, Australian fans enjoyed television repeats throughout the 1980s and '90s. There are several fan clubs and web sites and Australian radio stations are still wary of playing the instrumental hit A Walk in the Black Forest ever since the Goodies played it to death in one of their television episodes.

 

The show is a reunion rather than a re-formation, Oddie says. "You can't produce something you did all those years ago when you were younger, and we don't... as such," he says. "We're just going to present the story of what we did and why, some of the things that went wrong and illustrate all this with a number of television clips. After that there'll be a session of questions and answers."

 

He says they are flattered by the interest of fans, but he also remembers what fame could be like when they were at their peak in the 1970s when, in addition to their successful TV series, they had a number of top-20 records and best-selling books. Fans could become a bit obsessive, like the times when a local school gave its students the day off so that they could watch an episode being filmed nearby and the book signing in Manchester when the police refused to guarantee their safety.

 

It was like being a rock star, he says laughing. "I'm often accused of being a frustrated performer. Music is very important to me, but not necessarily as a performer." Oddie wrote a lot of musical satire at a time when there was much to satirise: the tail-end of the hippie era, then glam rock and the beginnings of punk.

 

In reflection, it's intriguing that the comedy of The Goodies should be so visual as they had come from a verbal tradition of comedy with the Cambridge Footlights, alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, John Cleese and David Frost, as well as writing and performing for BBC Radio. After Cambridge, Oddie wrote scripts for BBC-TV's That Was the Week that Was and was in a number of radio programs such as I'm Sorry: I'll Read That Again. Listening to these programs, 40 years on, is a reminder of how class-based so much British comedy was then. It even continued through into The Goodies where Oddie's earthy proletarian character was a foil to Brooke-Taylor's establishment character and Garden's middle-class back-room boffin.

 

"We fitted that well and played on it," Oddie says. "It wouldn't be as acceptable today." As popular as The Goodies were, Oddie says they never achieved the cult status of Monty Python. "The Pythons were perfect for a cult audience who could have the satisfaction of watching something that their parents wouldn't like or understand. Unfortunately, we suffered from being accessible to all the family."

 

And, unlike the Python members, the members of The Goodies never fell out with each other. "The secret to that is not seeing one another too often," he says, laughing. His new life as a wildlife presenter on TV is not such a change really. He's been an obsessive bird-watcher (as a well as a comedian) since childhood. But his cheeky humour evaporates when he talks about the present world scene. "Terror thy name is Bush, and Blair's just as bad," he says. "You get pessimistic about the future, but in the end you hope that the people with the power will use their brains or be got rid of."

 

Yet, he recalls, those in authority have always made lame-brained decisions. Consider those sections of The Goodies episodes which were censored in Australia back in the 1970s. Unbelievably tame by comparison with today's television comedy, some of these clips have been included in the touring show.

 

 

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - 23RD FEBRUARY

(Lisa Manekofsky)

 

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Arts/Why-fame-seems-funny-to-manic-trio/2005/02/22/1109046918239.html?oneclick=true

 

(with large photo of the three Goodies and the giant Dougal from 'Goodies Rule OK' and a smaller recent photo)

 

Why fame seems funny to manic trio

February 23, 2005

 

They're back, but don't expect a rerun of the popular series, writes Lenny Ann Low.

 

They dressed as mice, launched rockets to the moon, mined scones and jam and bred a plague of Rolf Harrises in their own safari park. Now Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, or the Goodies, are coming to terms with a sudden resurgence of fame.

 

The British trio, whose new stage show opens next week, still profess their amazement at being remembered at all.

 

"It puzzles and baffles me," Oddie says. "It's actually torture looking through everything we ever did. There are some episodes that do stand up quite well; there were some awful ones."

 

More than 30 years after the debut of The Goodies, all are still heavily involved in TV, theatre or radio shows as writers, directors, presenters and actors. Brooke-Taylor and Garden have worked together on BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue for many years while Oddie has predominantly become a self-described poor man's David Attenborough by presenting well-respected nature documentaries on BBC TV.

 

"I think these reunion shows are stranger for me than the other two because, in a weird sort of way, I've got another life and become a different person," Oddie says. "Not that they haven't got another life - that sounds terrible, doesn't it?"

 

Oddie says he is flattered and amazed when people confess their love for the show but he is adamant the Goodies will never reform in the proper sense, particularly in Britain.

 

"I have to admit I've tried to almost blank the whole process [of making The Goodies]," he says. "Not that I'm ashamed or disowning it, because they were 10 fantastic years and I'm really proud of it all. But, frankly, I hate looking back. It sounds pompous, but I prefer to move ahead."

 

Brooke-Taylor thinks otherwise. He has been responsible for most of the group's interaction with fan groups around the world and travelled to Melbourne in 2000 for Kitten Con, the world's first Goodies convention.

 

Although it has been touted as a reunion, this is not the permanent reformation of the Goodies, or the first time they have appeared live on stage since the series ended.

 

"We have had shows before at a cinema in the West End and at the National Film Theatre which included us showing clips from the show and chatting about making it and answering questions from the audience," Garden says. "The Australian shows will, however, build on that and show what we were doing before The Goodies and how we got started together."

 

Of the three, Garden is less prone to chattering. Oddie and Brooke-Taylor both admit to "jabbering on" in their current ideas meetings and rehearsals while Garden is "the funniest, brightest and most incisive", according to Brooke-Taylor.

 

"Graeme always comes up with the best stuff at the end," Brooke-Taylor says. "He's just been voted 25th funniest man in England. I think the country is just starting to discover Graeme Garden."

 

Brooke-Taylor also says Oddie has "gradually become more and more keen" about the Australian reunion after initially feeling daunted.

 

The three remain coy about what their new shows will include, although Brooke-Taylor admits he has found his infamous Union Jack waistcoat in the attic.

 

"We have been trying things out again with a modern spin," he says. "But if I do start saying, 'This is what we're going to do', I would get killed by my two fellow Goodies."

 

"What it won't be is attempting to be the Goodies as we were," Oddie says. "At our age it would be unseemly and undignified and very, very painful. And probably end in one of us dying, although that would be good publicity."

 

ABC television's decision to play and then repeat The Goodies in a children's television timeslot, rather than the late night slot it received in Britain, meant much of the popular series was censored. Oddie says showing the censored footage as part of the stage show will prove how pointless and "bizarre" the cuts were. After watching the shows again, all agree their favourite episodes are Earthanasia and The End in which the three spend their time together in confinement and without their often wild film excerpts.

 

"Ironically they were brought about by the fact that we ran out of money at the end of each series," Oddie says. "I actually think that some of those have stood up better than some of the film things."

 

In 1973, after working on stage, radio and TV shows with comedy luminaries such as John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle and Marty Feldman, the three joined forces for The Goodies.

 

"Originally it was going to be called Super-Chaps Three then Narrow Your Mind," Garden says. "It had a non-specific formula really and we didn't really know what it would be like."

 

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH (SYDNEY) - 23RD FEBRUARY

(Lisa Manekofsky & John Hatfield)

 

Please note that a few of the "facts" in the list at the end of the article are incorrect (most notably the first one, which says that Tim was a child actor).

Some of the text from this article also appeared in the (Melbourne) Herald Sun on 7th March.

 

REMEMBER THE GOODIES DAYS

By Michael Bodey and Eleanor Sprawson

 

For those of a certain age, it is still hard to believe that pirate radio doesn't actually involve pirates. In our mind's eye, herds of haggis roam the highlands of Scotland and we've always felt a slight disappointment that martial arts school don't offer an evening course in Ecky Thump.

 

These are signs of The Goodies generation that grew up with the British comedy series as a daily backdrop to our lives. They are also signs of being Australian.

 

"In Britain, it was kind of airbrushed out of history," says Graeme Garden, now 62 who made up one third of The Goodies along with Tim Brooke-Taylor, 64 and Bill Oddie, 63.

 

It's still part of a popular culture in a sense that it tends to be a question of quizzes and things like that. But on TV they haven't shown any of the programs (since they originally aired)."

 

That, of course, means in Britain the series never became a part of lives as much as it did here, where the ABC showed the series in repeat every weeknight at 6pm for years and years and years - and in a much earlier time slot than in the UK, where it was shown to a largely cult audience in timeslots ranging between 9pm and 10.30pm.

 

It was only in the late 1980s that the ABC's rights to the show finally expired - but that hasn't stopped it being one of the shows Aunty is most lobbied to bring back.

 

From next week, however, Foxtel channel UK-TV is stepping into the gaping breach and bringing back The Goodies to where they belong - on TV, every weeknight, in Australia where The Goodies never were so much a cult as an established religion.

 

"Although it was never intended as a kids' show, I know that kids loved it (in Australia)," says Garden, who also co-wrote the series with Oddie.

 

"So we have sort of been aware over the years that there was quite a big fan base in Australia and that was keeping the program alive in a sense."

 

The huge interest in the show here - where last year the first Goodies DVD sold far more copies than it did in the UK (another one is due out next month) - has also encouraged the three comedians to venture to Australia for old out shows from next month.

 

"We'll have some clips, take questions - we hope to give them a bit of information and a lot of entertainment" says Garden.

 

"The reticence  is purely about whether we can live up to that, not about feeling in some way nervous or embarrassed about appearing as The Goodies again. It'll take the audience all of about two seconds to realise we're not quite the slim young fellows that we were on the screen."

 

The three men, who met up as students at Cambridge in the 1960s at the same time Monty Python was being born, have remained firm friends over the years.

 

"Tim and I have worked pretty regularly on the radio together," says Garden. "Bill has tended to have not exactly solitary pursuits but he goes off and does his bird watching and nature programs and stuff, so the three of us have not done much at all together."

 

Even in the Goodies day, Oddie stood slightly apart from his colleagues, in that he spent as much time writing music for the show as writing scripts.

 

The show's music is in fact another way in which The Goodies is forever linked to Australia - and not because of their relentless haranguing of Rolf Harris.

 

The show's musical director, Dave MacRae, is a long time resident of Sydney and a feature on the city's jazz circuit along with wife Joy Yates (who also did back-up vocals on an episode of the show featuring a performance of Funky Gibbon, a song which MacRae helped Oddie write).

 

"People do tend to get a certain look in their eyes when they heart about that," laughs MacRae.

 

"Most musicians, certainly jazz players, have a good sense of humour and it's nice to let it loose occasionally. I remember the guitar players had a wonderful time on Wild Thing. It was totally over the top."

 

SLAPSTICK AND ABSURDIST HUMOUR WAS ALL IN GOODIES' TASTE.

 

* As a child Tim Brooke-Taylor starred in the original Beanz Meanz Heinz advertisements, which would explain the fixation he had with parodies of the ads while on The Goodies. These featured him being dressed up as a schoolboy being forced to read poems in praise of beans, except that he can never quite bring himself to praise them ("I like palaces with kings and queens/But best by far I love baked... uh, fish").

 

* The episode in which Bill finds a dodo and tries to protect it from a hunting party organised by Graeme and Tim was based on Bill's own love of bird watching. In the UK he is, in fact, best known for his numerous television series on ornithology.

 

* Prince Charles was a big fan of the series, despite the show making a habit of mocking his ears, and volunteered to play himself in a 1975 episode which ended in a scene in which Tim got married to the crown prince. The Palace, however, vetoed his appearance.

 

* In the UK, the series was originally shown at 10.30pm on Sunday nights. Much lobbying eventually got the show into a 9pm timeslot but it largely remained a cult program for uni students. Even odder, to the Australian perspective, the show was never repeated in Britain.

 

* Tim, the archetypal establishment figure on the show, with his Union Jack waistcoat and patriotic speeches to a soundtrack of Land of Hope and Glory, actually has left-wing political leanings. He says the only reason he was given the Tory role was because of his double-barrelled surname. All three Goodies, he says, were politically very much like Bill's socialist-leaning character on the show.

 

* The ABC censored the series because of its teatime timeslot here. We missed out on many "bloodys" (though you could usually still see the word being mouthed), the odd reference to "poofs" and a scene that featured a naked Bill running into a pond.

 

* Songs featured on the show (such as the classic Funky Gibbon, and of course, Wild Thing) became such high-selling singles that The Goodies were one of the top-grossing musical acts in Britain for the year 1976. And their musical legacy lives on - Spiderbait has done a cover of the often-repeated Goodies chase music called Run.

 

* An anti-apartheid script was rejected by the BBC as too political (a BBC official told them it was "too harsh on the South African police"), so The Goodies made the episode about "apart-height" - the discrimination against short people, including Bill.

 

* As recently as 1995 there were rumours circulating that Steven Spielberg was keen to direct a Goodies movie, and idea which was first mooted in the mid 70s.

 

* In 2001 Bill Oddie became only the third person ever to run away when surprised by the show This is Your Life. When the show's British host Michael Aspel tracked him down to a bird-watching spot and spoke the famous line, Bill said, "Oh no it's not" before jumping in his car and speeding off.

 

 

TV WEEK - 26TH FEB TO 4TH MARCH

(Kristen Allender)

 

GOOD THINGS

The Goodies will be touring Australia in March.  Tim Brooke-Taylor talks to TV WEEK about the classic British comedy series.

 

They were the icons of the '70s, educated buffoons mixing the deliriously silly with the politically barbed.  Thirty years later, The Goodies are back.

 

IS IT TRUE THAT THE GOODIES WAS AIRED ONCE IN THE UK AND NEVER REPEATED?

Yes, that's right.  We didn't have our own video recorders then, so it's only recently that we've seen some of the episodes again.  There are one or two shows we actually don't remember making.  There was one about ballroom dancing that we hadn't seen since 1973, and we were looking at it and we thought, "We must remember doing that," but we didn't.

 

WAS IT HARD TO RIDE THE "TRANDEM"?

Very difficult.  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.

 

THE ROYAL FAMILY WERE THE SUBJECT OF A LOT OF JOKES - DID YOU EVER FIND OUT WHAT THEY REALLY THOUGHT OF YOU?

The first time I met the Queen she was fairly disdainful, until the Duke Of Edinburgh told her that The Goodies was one of Prince Charles' favourite programs, so she came back and chatted again.  Prince Charles, many years ago, agreed to be in one of the shows - and eventually he wasn't, because the palace people wouldn't let him - but it was the one where the Queen said "Whoever will rid me of this plague of Rolf Harrises shall have my son's hand in marriage."  He agreed to play himself, and I would be married to him.  I did a pantomime one Christmas, and Prince William came backstage.  I was blathering away and said, "Your father was a big fan," and he said, "Oh, he still is, silly old man."

 

The Goodies will premiere their live stage show at the Big Laugh Comedy Festival at Parramatta's Riverside Theatre On March 3, before touring nationally.  Other acts at the festival include Craig McLachlan, Jimeoin, The Chaser and Bill Bailey.

The Goodies screens weeknights at 7pm from March 1, on UKTV.

 

(with '70s photos of The Goodies in their outfits from Hunting Pink, and sitting on a park bench in standard Goodies outfits)

 

 

NEWS.COM.AU - 3RD MARCH

(Lisa Manekofsky - Goodies-l - 3rd March)

 

News story from http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12430630-29277,00.html

 

Local following intrigues Goodies

By Jonathon Moran

March 03, 2005

From: AAP

 

VETERAN British comedians The Goodies reckon it's almost as "weird" as their own zany antics that they should be remembered more in Australia than back home.

 

It's 20 plus years since Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden's manic and crazily irreverent brand of humour has been screened nationally in their own country. "We are totally forgotten and ignored at home so to actually come here and for anybody to remember who we are is quite weird," Oddie said in Sydney today.

 

The trio, who have a cult-like following around the world, will perform their first show together since 1981 in Sydney tonight.

Advertisement:

They have re-formed as the headline act for the Big Laugh Comedy Festival in Parramatta and following that, will embark on a three-date national tour.

 

"It is a voyage of discovery for us," Oddie said of the group getting back together.

"It is 25 years since we did the series and we haven't seen some of these programs until very recently."

 

The Goodies first aired on the BBC in November 1970 and ran for 12 years.

They sought to save the world from such bizarre threats as a marauding giant kitten and a plague of Rolf Harrises.

 

While the series aired just once in the UK, it was repeated for several years on the ABC in Australia and was recently released to DVD.

"In Britain, the series has never been repeated and frankly we don't really know why," Garden said.

"We seem to have a following of a pretty broad range of ages in Australia which is nice though."

 

Brooke-Taylor said Australians shared a similar sense of humour to the British.

"It was pretty anti-establishment and I think the Aussies quite liked us having a go at the British establishment," he said.

In The Goodies, Brooke-Taylor was known for bearing the Union Jack in whatever way he could and for being a staunch royalist.

 

With a host of royalty in Australia at the moment, Brooke-Taylor said he felt as though he was being followed.

"They're all following me," Brooke-Taylor said, referring to Prince Charles, Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary and rock royalty The Osbournes.

 

Since the early 1980s, Brooke-Taylor and Garden have continued to work in comedy while Oddie is known as "Britain's most famous bird watcher", hosting a number of wildlife programs.

 

The three men have maintained a strong friendship and Brooke-Taylor said the live stage show would be a mix of insights and reminisces, sketches and clips with tall tales and audience talkback.

 

He said one of the main reservations in getting back together was that the group didn't want to be seen as "sad old men".

"It is very sad seeing the old rockers coming back and looking like that," Brooke-Taylor said.

 

The Goodies have sold more than 25,000 tickets for their Australian dates, including two shows as part of the comedy festival and independent shows in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

 

 

BORDER MAIL - 4TH MARCH

(Lisa Manekofsky - Goodies-l - 4th March)

 

I don't think the content is substantially different from some of the others but there's a different photo

 

http://www.bordermail.com.au/newsflow/pageitem?page_id=907938

 

(text of article)

NATIONAL NEWS  Fri, Mar 04, 2005

 

20 years on, Goodies back for big laugh

 

The Goodies, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor reflect on their popularity in Australia.

 

VETERAN British comedians The Goodies reckon its almost as "weird" as their own zany antics that they should be remembered more in Australia than back home.

 

It's 20 plus years since Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden's manic and crazily irreverent brand of humour has been screened nationally in their own country.

 

"We are totally forgotten and ignored at home so to actually come here and for anybody to remember who we are is quite weird," Oddie said.

 

The trio, who have a cult-like following around the world, performed their first show together since 1981 in Sydney last night.

 

They have re-formed as the headline act for the Big Laugh Comedy Festival at Parramatta and following that, will embark on a three-date national tour.

 

"It is a voyage of discovery for us," Oddie said of the group getting back together.

 

"It is 25 years since we did the series and we haven't seen some of these programs until very recently."

 

The Goodies first aired on the BBC in November 1970.

 

They sought to save the world from such bizarre threats as a marauding giant kitten and a plague of Rolf Harrises.

 

While the series aired just once in Britain, it was repeated for several years on the ABC.

 

Brooke-Taylor said Australians shared a similar sense of humour to the British.

 

"It was pretty anti-establishment and I think the Aussies quite liked us having a go at the British establishment," he said.

 

In The Goodies, Brooke-Taylor was known for bearing the Union Jack in whatever way he could and for being a staunch royalist.

 

The Goodies have sold more than 25,000 tickets for their Australian dates, including two comedy festival performances and shows in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

 

 

THE AGE (MELBOURNE) - 5TH MARCH

(Lisa Manekofsky - Goodies-l - 5th March)

 

There's a great interview with Graeme (which includes a photo of the three Goodies) at http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2005/03/03/1109700605326.html?oneclick=true

 

Still Goodies ... but oldies

By Michael Winkler

March 5, 2005

 

The Goodies: Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden.

Photo: Julian Andrews

 

He was the brains of the outfit: the nerveless scientist who understood computers but found time to perform wacky impersonations. He was megalomaniacal, patronising and crazy as a loon - so those of us whose pre-pubescent selves chose Graeme as our favourite Goodie might profitably ponder our motivations.

 

Mind you, Tim was a cowardly royalist fop, and Bill was a rotund hairy oik, so choosing either of them as your favourite was hardly a guarantee of good mental hygiene. But you had to choose one, because for a certain generation of Australians, "Who's your favourite Goodie?" was as important a question as "Kingswood or Falcon?" or "Sherbet or Skyhooks?"

 

It is 35 years since the BBC took a punt on a sitcom and The Goodies became a television classic, loved around the world, particularly in Australia, where it was a staple for many years.

 

"I don't have any decent explanation for why The Goodies was so big in Australia, except that the ABC showed it a lot," Graeme Garden says from his home in the Cotswolds. "It was broadcast even more often there than in the UK."

 

Capitalising on residual affection for the three unlikely heroes from No Fixed Abode, Cricklewood, the Big Laugh festival in Sydney invited the Goodies to come to meet their fans. Their reunion stage show will tour several Australian cities, including Melbourne.

 

"The ABC showed it quite early in the evening, so a lot of kids grew up with it. We'll be meeting them grown up. We've come to disappoint your fond memories, really," Garden says.

 

Graeme fans might be relieved to know that he displays none of the bombast that marked his Goodies character, although he does share some of the abstractedness.

 

"Graeme fans? Hmm. I have met one or two people who were Graeme fans. Matt Lucas from The League of Gentlemen (TV show) came up to me after we did a reunion performance at the National Film Theatre and said I was his favourite because I was 'a bit mad'. The look in his eye, I could see that he meant it.

 

"I don't know what a typical Graeme fan would be. A bit scary, probably. Tim was always nervous his fans might be ultra right-wingers who thought he really was a toffy-nosed git who belonged to the (British) National Party or some such terrible organisation. I think they are better judges than that, to be honest. Tim's character is the furthest away from what he's really like of the three of us."

 

And Bill fans? "You mean the human ones? They're quite like Bill I guess. They would have been hippies in the old days. He had music fans as well - there is a subset of people who took his music very seriously indeed.

 

"I'm not terribly musical. I used to play the guitar until my kids got better than me, then I stopped in a sulk. The banjo I learnt at one point." What does one play on the banjo? "Banjo music. That's why I stopped."

 

Garden was a member (and later president) of the famed Cambridge University Footlights Club in the late-'60s heyday of John Cleese, Eric Idle and David Hatch. With Bill Oddie he wrote the radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again; they collaborated again on episodes of Dr in the House and then wrote The Goodies together from 1970.

 

In 1981 after 11 productive years The Goodies left the BBC for London Weekend Television, a shift roughly as seismic as John Howard joining the Refugee Action Collective. It was an unhappy move, their stay lasting just seven episodes.

 

In the intervening quarter-century, Garden has written novels, children's books, numerous plays and television programs. He has been a quiz host, a history show presenter and stage actor, and has scripted, directed and presented training and information films. He is into his fourth decade as a team member for I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue, a program that he devised for BBC Radio 4.

 

"Of everything I have done, the most fun to do is radio in front of an audience. They're a part of the conspiracy, they can see you but nobody else can. You don't have to learn any lines, and by and large you don't have to fall over very much."

 

As the DVD (eight vintage episodes including perennial favourites such as Kitten Kong and The Goodies and the Beanstalk) sales attest, residual affection for the tragicomic triumvirate is not far below the surface in Australia. Key members of the international Goodies fan club are Australians, and a Queenslander has established a website devoted to logging every edit the ABC made when the program was first broadcast in this country.

 

"As part of the stage show we thought it would be fun to show some of the bits which were deemed unacceptable for broadcast in Australia. "Very mild stuff, such as saying 'I'm knackered'. Apart from that, I guess people will want to come along and see if we're still alive." Although the youngest of the three Goodies, Garden is feeling his age.

 

"I think I am due for a hip replacement. It's creeping up on me, and feels a bit clunky."

 

Garden trained as a doctor but has never practised. Asked an impertinent question about how he justifies spending his life making jokes rather than saving lives, he answers, "I don't think I would have done it as well. It's an interesting question - whether you've contributed more to the vast store of human enjoyment by doing comedy or by being a doctor, but the answer for me is that I don't think I would have been as successful or as happy being a doctor."

 

Various Goodies have pointed out that they are one of the few acts - comedy or musical - to disband without acrimony after a successful run. Tim Brooke-Taylor works intermittently on television and regularly on radio, although he had a comparatively lean time in the 1990s. Bill Oddie recently suffered a debilitating period of clinical depression, but he has carved his own niche as a wildlife advocate, an extension of his longstanding interest in all things ornithological.

 

"Tim and I work together on radio so I see him regularly," Garden says. "Bill is never in the country, he's always off chasing birds in South America or something."

 

Garden's contemporary comedy enthusiasms include three British television series: Little Britain, The League of Gentlemen and Spaced. "I've seen a little of Kath & Kim. It doesn't translate at all, but they are two very funny ladies."

 

The Goodies - Still Alive on Stage, at Hamer Hall, Tuesday, March 8 (two shows). Tickets from Ticketmaster.

 

 

SUNDAY HERALD SUN (MELBOURNE) - 6TH MARCH

(Brett Allender)

 

OLDIES BUT STILL GOODIES

 

Blasts from the past The Goodies are about to explode on stage.

JAMES WIGNEY reports.

 

When British comedy trio The Goodies hit town for a one-off show this week, it will be a throwback to a golden age of TV for a legion of 30-somethings.

 

For years, the ABC screened repeats of the show at 6pm, introducing enraptured youngsters to giant marauding kittens, three-seater bikes, the Funky Gibbon dance and the mysterious art of Ecky Thump.

 

But is Tim Brooke-Taylor, the Union Jack waistcoat-sporting third of the troupe, aware of the effect he had on a generation of Australian children?

 

"To a certain extent I'm aware because I came out to Melbourne about four years ago for a Goodies convention," Brooke-Taylor said. "I was amazed, to be totally honest."

 

For all its success in Australia, the series was never repeated in the UK and it is only since a DVD was released last year that the public's interest has been rekindled.

 

Brooke-Taylor, 64, and his cohorts Graeme Garden (the tall, nerdy one), 62, and Bill Oddie (the short, scruffy one), 63, have barely seen the show since it was cancelled in 1982.

 

When he visited Australia in 2000, Brooke-Taylor was astonished at the depth of passion for The Goodies.

 

"They kept saying 'do you remember when you did this?' and I kept having to say 'I'm terribly sorry, remind me'," he said.

 

"What I liked about going to Australia is that people watched it with Dr Who in the early evening, but then when they grew up they discovered there was another side to it and enjoyed it more the second time, which is how it should be."

 

The Goodies was originally aired in the UK between 9pm and 10.30pm, an indication that the comedy was not written for children.

 

The ABC dubbed or cut words such as "bloody" and "knackered", but the uncut episodes have been reissued in the DVDs.

 

"You missed one or two of the slightly riper bits - odd pictures of naked ladies which were in our Goodies' imaginations, but none of it is terribly offensive.  We are hoping to create one or two of the missed bits in our stage show, so Australia will discover what it has missed."

 

Brooke-Taylor is still proud of the strongly anti-establishment show and, while he concedes some episodes have dated, believes the series has stood the test of time.

 

"I have been genuinely pleasantly surprised by the jokes in it.  A lot of people we used to attack in the '70s are still around unfortunately - we haven't dislodged them in any way." he said.

 

Brooke-Taylor, Oddie and Garden all met at Cambridge University in the '60s.  Future members of Monty Python's Flying Circus, John Cleese and Graham Chapman were among their contemporaries.

 

Whereas the Pythons took their cues from the anarchic and often surreal radio series, The Goon Show, The Goodies' extremely visual and physical comedy owed more of a debt to Buster Keaton and the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

 

"We used to get much bigger audiences than Python and we are now, I think, probably more popular when people watch the show.  I love Python, but I think it has dated a bit.  They were the thing that you liked because your parents didn't like it.

 

"It was a bit like the pop stars - we were the Beatles to their Rolling Stones."

 

And while the BBC may have ignored the show for decades, comedians such as Ben Elton and Mike Myers still namecheck The Goodies as an influence.

 

"At the moment we have got Little Britain, which is very big and they very much say that they owe a lot to The Goodies," Brooke-Taylor says.

 

The Goodies stage show will be made up of clips, anecdotes, and a Q&A session, but their famous three-seater bike will not make an appearance, much to Brooke-Taylor's relief.

 

"I hated it, but actually it was one of the best inventions because it acted as a sort of a logo.  Whenever we went anywhere, people would always ask where the bike was.  They weren't really that interested in us."

 

As popular as the Goodies are in Australia, it's certainly no thanks to kids' entertainer Rolf Harris, who lives near Brooke-Taylor.  The trio used to lampoon the Aussie ex-pat mercilessly, most famously when they had to save the world from a plague of Rolf Harrises.

 

"It was very embarrassing when we did that show - we are hoping it will be on our next DVD - because we met him in the rehearsal rooms of the BBC.

 

"We had just been badmouthing the poor guy and he got into the lift with us and he said 'I'd just like to say that I like your show'.

 

"None of us, because we'd just been badmouthing him, could own up to say,'Hey Rolf, I liked yours', which I would have done if I had been on my own.

 

"We just went all the way down silently and he said 'Well, just thought I'd mention it' and walked off.

 

"I apologised to him later, but he was a particularly hairy, obnoxious creature at the time."

 

The Goodies appear at Hamer Hall on Tuesday.  Bookings 1300 136 166.  The Goodies: A Tasty Second Helping DVD is out now.

 

(with a large current-day photo of the three Goodies and a smaller photo of them aboard the trandem from the Kitten Kong special)

 

 




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