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C&G 140 Jul 2007
#140 Jul 2007 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 12/07/2007


» #140 Jul 2007

             ( )
Issue No. 140                   15th July 2007
- Brett Allender <>
- Lisa Manekofsky
- David Balston, Alison Bean, Helen Randle, Duncan Lilly, Kirri Liepens, Kerry Matthews, prunatic, Sosia, the end
1. QUIZ & QUOTE - Goodies brainteasers for you and you and you
2. BOFFO IDEAS – The latest club news and happenings
3. SPOTTED!!! - The latest Goodies sightings.
4. 2001 AND A BIT - Tim, Graeme and Bill sightings post-Goodies.
5. FEATURE ARTICLE 1 – Bill Oddie, the Twitcher
6. FEATURE ARTICLE 2 – Growing Old Cluelessly
(by "Magnus Magnesium")
QUOTE: "My friends, this here bottle contains a guaranteed all-purpose remedy for prostration, inflation and frustration ... pneumonia and old monia ... distemper, dat temper and bad temper ... sunburn, heartburn ... and Tony Blackburn!"
(a) Which Goodie says this quote?
(b) Which product is he spruiking?
(c) Which episode is this quote from?
QUIZ: This month's questions are from the episode: "Antiques"
(d) Which "art connoisseurs" does the Sothebys auction attract?
(e) Which artist's portrait is Tim determined to buy so that it stays in Britain?
(f) How do the Goodies supposedly obtain the money to purchase all of the National Gallery's artworks?
(g) What do the Goodies do with Henry Moore's sculptures?
(h) Which painting does Graeme mass-produce for the Americans to purchase?
The answers are listed at the end of this newsletter.
You can make it happen here. Liven up the club with a boffo idea for bob-a-job week. E-mail <> with your comments, ideas or suggestions - meanwhile these are the boffo ideas which our club has been working on this month:
Our best birthday wishes go to Bill Oddie, who turned 66 on July 7th, and to Tim Brooke-Taylor who will celebrate his 67th birthday on July 17th. Happy Birthday Bill and Tim, from all members of The Goodies Rule OK.
(Lisa Manekofsky)
The latest service being offered by the fan club is a YouTube channel; it can be found at:
We've started off with a half dozen clips (including Linda Kay's amazing Goodies Can-Can video and other compilations) and will gradually add new items. If you check it out let us know what you think!
(Brett Allender)
The club website has been a hive of activity in the past week or so, with three new items added to the Articles/Guides section at
Firstly there is the Kitten Kon C&G & Photo Gallery, which is a reworking of the special newsletter that was published for GROK's greatest triumph; the Kitten Kon convention in Melbourne in 2000. This updated addition includes various colour photos and there are also two photo galleries showcasing some of the people and events from the convention. Any attendees who have KK photos which would make interesting additions to the ones in the galleries are invited to contact
The other two new additions are episode guides for I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (ISIRTA) and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (ISIHAC); the two brilliant long-running radio comedies which have featured all three Goodies (although Bill for only a short time in the case of ISIHAC). These guides are the result of some excellent work by Lisa Manekofsky and make a great addition to the resources on the club website.
As mentioned last month, I've been slowly adding a further selection of songs taped directly from Goodies episodes to the Downloads section of the website at  . I still have another 30 or so tracks to upload to the website and these should appear there within the next week. The songs are a mixture of ones which were actually part of an episode plot (eg Shiny Shoes, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and You're The One That I Want) and ones which were used as backing music for visual sequences (eg Run, Come Back and Needed). The common thread is that none of them (or at least not that particular version in the case of Wild Thing and a couple of others) were part of The Goodies' commercially released albums, so even though the songs still have background dialogue, sound effects and laugh tracks in place, they are generally the only version available to fans and are hopefully of interest as a showcase of Bill's extraordinary pop-comedy songwriting ability.
The votes from last month's general election have all been counted and here are the final results:
Tony Blair is stepping down as Prime Minister. Which Goody would you vote for to replace him?
- Tim                                                     63 votes
- Graeme                                             77 votes
- Bill                                                         48 votes
- all three should share the job                 119 votes
- I'd do a write-in vote for Rolf Harris     39 votes
Total                                                    346 votes
Great! Not only did Rolf finish a distant last, losing his deposit in the process (boy, he must have been nervous!), but we've got three joint Prime Ministers to run the country, share number 10 and compete in the next round of "It's A Knockout" for Britain. We can only hope that they don't again win the booby prize of the return to office of Margaret Thatcher!
Now to this month's poll. It seems as though every 70s music act that isn't able to continue touring around the globe for whatever reason has a lookalike tribute act (or several) that go around doing the touring and performing on their behalf. Think Elvis To The Max and the myriad of other Elvis impersonators. Think BABBA and Bjorn Again performing all of ABBA's music. And now think about this:
If you were forming a Goodies musical tribute group, what would you call yourselves? 
- Big Pud and the Eckythumps
- The Everybody Loves String Quartet
- Trapped In A T-Rex
- The Little Laddies
- Atomic Giant Kitten
- The Goody Goody Yum Yums
- The Funky Gibbons
- The Almost Goodies Live
- The Plague Of Rolf Harrises
How about "Frankenfido Goes To Hollywood" ... or have you got your own idea of what you'd like to call your Philharmonic Glee Club Rock And Roll Band under the option of "other"? Head to the GROK website and cast your vote now. You know it makes sense!
More exciting than getting your wig-spotters badge! If you've seen the Goodies recently, e-mail <> with the details. Here's where we've Spotted!!! the Goodies this month:
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 18th & 25th Jun)
Sat 23 June, Sun 24 June, Fri 29 June, & Sat, 30 June, Fri July 6, Sat July 7, & Sun July 8 – episodes of "The Goodies" will be repeated on Paramount 2. Please check your local listings for times.
(Brett Allender)
The following letter was published in the feedback section of the "Hit" (music) insert from the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper on Thursday 14th June with the headline "This lot need a thump" in regard to an article in the previous edition about the White Stripes giving their new album the title of 'Icky Thump':
"Dear Hit,
For the benefit of (reporter) Kathy McCabe and anyone else under the age of 25, the term "ecky thump" will not become ingrained in the vernacular thanks to the White Stripes (Hit, June 7). This term has been around for more than 30 years thanks to those pioneers of comedy, The Goodies.
I suggest Kathy and the White Stripes sit down and watch a few episodes before they start gushing about how creative and progressive they are.
Maybe Bill Oddie could belt some sense into them with a big black pudding.
D. Simmonds, Somerville"
As a certain anonymous queen might once have said, "Hear, hear!"
4. 2001 AND A BIT
If you've sighted Tim, Bill or Graeme in a post-Goodies role, e-mail <> so that we can tell everyone where to spot a Goodie nowadays. Those of you seeking radio and 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.
(All items in this section contributed by Lisa Manekofsky, except where otherwise credited)
* "Bill Oddie's Top Ten Birds" is one of the shows reviewed in the Daily Telegraph's " Last night on television" at
Here's the excerpt:
Bill Oddie's Top Ten Birds (BBC 4) actually contained 20 of the things. There was a list of our 10 British favourites, and another of the 10 we like least. For us fans - however sheepish - of the list show, Oddie's methods in compiling this one seemed a little haphazard. At times, he'd apparently tried to gauge the public mood from all the letters he receives. Elsewhere, he was happy just to impose his own opinions and prejudices.
Either way, though, the programme plunged us deep into a bird-centred view of life. Oddie, for example, clearly considered himself a fearless iconoclast when he put in a good word for starlings, or reminded us that barn owls have their dark side. As he chatted - some might say rambled - away, he also threw in plenty of useful bird-watching tips, a few nice bits of bird-related phrasemaking and several top bird facts.
For the record, the award for Britain's least favourite avian went to "the flipping pigeons", who saw off a solid challenge from the gulls. In what Oddie regarded as a profoundly controversial move, ducks beat blue tits to the "most loved" - on the grounds that feeding them is many people's first experience of meeting wildlife.
After the inevitable Top of the Pops rundown at the end, Oddie finished by facing up to his worst nightmare. "Imagine," he said in a cracked voice, "a world without birds."
(13th Jun)
* Bill is scheduled to be a guest on "Mark Lawson Talks to..." Friday night on BBC 4 at 9:00-10:00pm. Here's a listing from BBC 4's website: "Showing as part of Bird Week. Bill Oddie looks back at his successful career as a comedian and ornithologist."
(15th Jun)
* weeknights - "Springwatch" with Bill on BBC Two. It airs Mon-Thurs at 20:00. The Friday edition starts at 19:30.
(15th Jun)
* Mon, 11 June - "Bill Oddie's Top 10 Birds" on BBC 4 at 21:00. Here's a listing: "Bill Oddie counts down the UK's ten most beloved and most villainous birds in a definitive, light-hearted guide to our feathered friends and foes. Bill's poll is based on the thousands of letters he has received over the years from members of the public."
(15th Jun)
* Mon, 11 June - "Bill Oddie Goes Wild" on BBC 2 Scotland at 19:00.
(15th Jun)
* Tues, 12 June - "Bill Oddie Goes Wild" on BBC 2W and BBC 2 Wales at
(15th Jun)
* Thurs, 14 June - "Springwatch Trackers" on BBC 2 at 08:00 with Bill.
(15th Jun)
* Tues, 19 June - "Wild Owl Farm" on BBC 2 at 20:50-21:00 presented by Bill.
(15th Jun)
* Nightly - "Bill Oddie's Animal House" on The Baby Channel (Sky channel 285, ) nightly at 8:30pm (thanks for Fiona Mikiel for this info)
(15th Jun)
* There's a two-part interview with Bill from March 29th & April 5th on The Ecologist's podcasts page at
You can click on each podcast's link to listen to the show from The Ecologists website. If you right-click on the link and choose "Save Target as" from the pop-up menu you should be able to save the files on your computer. 
(17th Jun)
* Mon, 25 June - "Bill Oddie's Top 10 Birds" is repeated on BBC 4 at 20:00 then again a few hours later at 1:30am Tues morning (26 June)
(17th Jun)
* Weds, 4 July - "Never Mind The Buzzcocks" on BBC 2 at 22:00 is a repeat of the episode with Bill.
(25th Jun)
* Thanks to prunatic for spotting that Bill's appearance on BBC7's Comedy Controller is being repeated today. The show can be heard online from BBC7's website ( ). It will then be available through next Saturday (when the next episode airs) from the BBC Radio's Listen Again service at
(30th Jun)
* Thanks to club member the end for passing along this link to an article about and video of Bill visiting a school in Luton to talk about bees (at ).
Also, a pair of articles (at and ) talk about Bill taking part in an Earth climate change campaign. They both point to, which has a 9 second clip of Bill in support of the campaign.
(4th Jul)
* Bill and Kate Humble from Springwatch will be appearing in a quiz show as part of Saving Planet Earth which is on now on BBC1 (8.30pm to 10pm 6th July.)
Bill's old chum Rolf Harris has already made an appearance. :-)
(David Balston – Goodies-l - 6th Jul)
* An article at  mentions Bill's participation in the Saving Planet Earth. It also includes a photo of Bill with David Attenborough.
(9th Jul)
* Sun, 15 July & Mon, 16 July - "Birding with Bill Oddie" on UKTV Gardens. It looks like they are running a marathon of episodes on Sunday evening and throughout the day Monday. Please consult your local listings for specific times.
(9th Jul)
* This article comes from , which includes a small photo of Bill with the school children. You've got to love the first line from the article:
Oddie is the bees' knees!
By Ben Barnett
 There was an excited buzz about Oakworth Primary School as wildlife presenter Bill Oddie and the Sugar Puffs' Honey Monster came to visit.
Children spent weeks investigating "the wonderful world of bees" as part of a campaign to promote awareness about honeybees.
The children created a wall display, counted bees in maths and learned about their body in science earn prizes as one of only eight winning schools nationwide.
In addition to the celebrity visit, the school also won plant pots to grow sunflowers, a measuring chart to map their growth and flags.
Yes, "there was an excited buzz...[as] Bill Oddie and the Sugar Puffs' Honey Monster came to visit". When have you ever heard *that* said before? ;)
(11th Jul)
* Mondays - "Bromwell High", an animated series in which Graeme voices one of the characters, on TV2 in NZ on 11.25pm (info at )
(15th Jun)
* Tues, 10 July - "Holby City" on BBC 1 at 8:00pm will include a brief appearance by Graeme.
(17th Jun)
* BBC Radio 4 aired a new episode of Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off (" Glastonbury") this past Tuesday, 26 June. As with past episodes, Graeme was credited as providing additional material to the script.
The show can be heard via Listen Again through this coming Tuesday evening (London time) from  
Details about the episode can be found at
(30th Jun)
* Another item of note is the television version of "Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off ... to Glastonbury" on BBC4 this Friday, July 6th at 10:00pm. Graeme has provided material to the radio version; we don't know if he was involved in the television version but it's probably worth checking out (thanks to Sosia for spotting this).
(1st Jul)
* Tues, 10 July - "Wireless Wise" on BBC 7 at 12:30, repeated at 19:30. BBC 7 repeats the quiz show about radio hosted by David Hatch; Graeme is one of the panelists in this episode. The show can be heard online at  and will be available for a week after broadcast from Listen Again.
(1st Jul)
* The second series of "About a Dog", written by Graeme Garden and starring Alan Davies, begins tomorrow on BBC Radio 4 ( ) at 18:30. The show should be available from Listen Again.
Here's an item about the show from The Independent on Sunday in their choices for the week section (from June 8th):
Radio: About a Dog
RADIO 4, 6.30PM
Second series about the exploits of a group of excitable human beings, as viewed through canine eyes. As Sarah confides her dilemmas in her dog, so Jack offers her his doggy thoughts, which only listeners can hear. The series is written by Graeme Garden based on a synopsis proposed by the comedy writer Debbie Barham, now sadly deceased.
(9th Jul)
* Fri, 20 July - "QI" on BBC 2 at 22:00 is a repeat of Graeme's appearance on the show.
(9th Jul)
* Saturdays starting 7 July - ABC Radio National is scheduled to begin airing "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", the 1960's sketch comedy series with all three Goodies plus John Cleese, Jo Kendall, & David Hatch (according to )
(15th Jun)
* Mondays - BBC 7 airs old episodes of "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" (with Tim and Graeme). Each episode is available via Listen Again for six days after broadcast. The show can be heard worldwide via the internet from  on the day of broadcast as well as for six days afterwards using Listen Again.
(15th Jun)
Sir David Hatch, radio controller, producer and star of "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" died on June 13th at the age of 68 after a long illness.
The following links detail some of the various news stories about his sad passing:
(from information sent to Goodies-l by Alison Bean, Helen Randle, Duncan Lilly, Kirri Liepens and Kerry Matthews
* The following appears in the Friday, 15th June edition of BBC 7's newsletter:
"I'm afraid there's some sad news, which some of you will already be aware of: Sir David Hatch died this week at the age of 68, following a long illness. Sir David was an actor, writer and later producer for "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", the irreverent radio comedy series which ran between 1964 and 1973. The show was a forerunner to "The Goodies" and "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue". BBC 7 listeners will be more than familiar with his work, with programmes such as "Doctor In The House" and "What Ho! Jeeves" under his belt and in our schedules, to name but two.
Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC Audio and Music, said: 'David Hatch was one of the greats of BBC Radio. He was a performer, a leader and an inspirer of people. He led the radio Light Entertainment department with verve and joy.' She also said that Hatch modernised and ensured that radio thrived in an increasingly competitive world.
As a tribute we'll be re-running "Wireless Wise", starting on Tuesday 10th July - and his edition of "Radio Heads", although the date for this has yet to be confirmed."
(17th Jun)
For the latest information see the club FAQ at
The following are the dates in the tour. All shows have gone on sale.
* Thursday 30 August LEEDS GRAND THEATRE
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £12.50 - £27.50
     Box Office Tel: 0870 121 4901
     Venue URL:       
     Event Listing:
    Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £14.00 - £25.00
     Box Office 0115 989 5555
     Event Listing:
* Monday 10 September NORTHAMPTON DERNGATE
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £25.00 & £20.00
     Box Office : 01604 624 811
     Venue URL:  
     Event Listing:
* Monday 17 September Assembly Hall Theatre TUNBRIDGE WELLS
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £24.50
     Box Office: 01892 530613
     Event Listing:
* Tuesday 18 September BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME - Show starts 7.30pm, ends
approx 10.15pm   ***SOLD OUT***
* Wednesday 19 September BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME - Show starts 7.30pm, ends
approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £14.50 - £26.50
     Box Office: 0121 622 7486
     Event Listing at Ticketmaster Site:
* Tuesday 25 September IPSWICH REGENT
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £20 - £22.50
     Box Office: 01473 433 100
     Event Listing:
* Wednesday 26 September NEW THEATRE OXFORD
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £20 - £22.50
     Box Office Tel: 0870 606 3500
     Event Listing:
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £22 - £24
     Box Office: 0118 960 6060
     Event Listing:
     Reading Comedy Festival URL:  
     Show starts 7.30pm, ends approx 10.15pm
     Tickets: £20 - £23
     Box Office 01273 709709
     Venue URL:  
     Event Listing:
     Brighton Comedy Festival URL:  
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 12th Jun)
The following article appears on The Independent's website at
Bill Oddie: The twitcher
Most know the performer and writer for his greatest love - nature. It has been a lifelong affair
By Ed Caesar
Published: 09 June 2007
Two titans of television went head to head this week. In one corner, we had Big Brother, the reality television behemoth and a programme so all-pervading that Gordon Brown would not think of leaving the country without being full apprised of its latest developments. In the other corner was a short, scruffy, scriptless ex-Goodie talking about wildlife.
There was, of course, no contest. Bill Oddie's Springwatch trounced Big Brother in the ratings, pulling in more than four million viewers. Even Nightshift, the live streaming from Springwatch's webcams, had 300,000 viewers one midnight - almost four times the number watching the action unfold in the Elstree BB house. So much for the curiosity of the viewing public. The human species is fine, but you just can't beat the animal world.
Oddie, 65, should have no problem dealing with his latest triumph. In a strange, meandering career, he has experienced almost everything the entertainment business has to offer. He has written comedy scripts, songs and children's books. He has risen high in the pop charts. And he has been lampooned by the fictional Norwich DJ, Alan Partridge.
But most know Oddie for his greatest love - nature. It has been a lifelong affair. As a child, he used to collect birds' eggs. He turned into a fully fledged twitcher, and these days can often be found on a bright morning on Hampstead Heath, near where he lives, bird book in hand.
"The important thing to know about Bill is that he knows his stuff," said Peter Holden of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who co-presented one of Oddie's earliest nature programmes. "There are plenty of celebrities who endorse causes they know very little about. But Bill comes from the grass roots. He started by being interested in birds and has taken that interest with him all his life. That's why he's been so successful, I think. The enthusiasm is genuine."
Oddie was born in Rochdale and grew up near Birmingham, where he attended King Edward's School, in what was a periodically unhappy childhood. His mother endured constant mental health problems, leaving Oddie in the care of his grandmother and father in what he remembers as a stilted environment.
Oddie escaped, though, when he won a place at Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read English literature in 1961. It was there that he met Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, with whom he performed in the Cambridge Footlights and was destined to form the Goodies comedy trio. Oddie and Garden used to draw cartoons together for the student newspaper.
"We all had a common interest in comedy," said Garden, "and that led us together. The Footlights revue, which Bill and Tim Brooke-Taylor and [soon-to-be-Python] Graham Chapman were in, led to radio. And our radio show, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, was how we all stuck together after university."
Oddie was always, said Garden, a talented writer, but it was as a performer that he stood out. "All of us, I think, needed to be in a group. Even John Cleese. But Bill, I think, would have been the one person who could have made it under his own steam. He was always interested in the showbiz side. He wasn't ambitious like David Frost - who had an agent when he was a student - but he definitely looked at entertainment as a career."
Oddie's plan worked. He forged an instantly successful career in broadcasting, where his trademark popular song parodies soon registered with the British public, and sold well when released on albums such as his 1967 collection Distinctly Oddie. Indeed, John Peel was said to have treasured Oddie's version of the Yorkshire folk song "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At" set to Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends", which Peel released on his own Dandelion records in 1970.
It was through The Goodies television series - where Oddie played the long-haired rebel on 70 episodes that ran between 1970 and 1982 - that he allowed his musical interests to flourish. Zany in a Monty Python-lite kind of way, and somewhat derided since, the show was very much of its time, these days revisited - at least in the UK - only in the context of naff 1970s TV. Its novelty pop songs featured in the charts, most notably " Funky Gibbon", fulfilling Oddie's thinly concealed desire to be a musician.
"If you really want to annoy Bill," said Garden, "call him a would-be pop star. Because, in 1975, we were the fourth biggest British group in terms of sales. He would have loved to have been a bona fide pop star - he was always much more comfortable with that side of things than Tim or I. Although, I think, had he become a pop star he would have become pretty cynical pretty quickly, and would probably have fallen into comedy and nature."
After The Goodies, performing comedy on television lost its lustre for Oddie. He still continued to write, but his interests lay elsewhere. By the time he was in his 50s he was making serious nature programmes, and in the past 10 years, his output has been prodigious, with shows such as Bill Oddie Goes Wild, How to Watch Wildlife and the enormously successful Springwatch and Autumnwatch.
Oddie lives in a kind of twitcher idyll - a large gnome-infested house that he shares with his second wife and co-writer Laura Beaumont. They have a daughter, Rosie, who, having borrowed extensively from her father's record collection, is currently enjoying her own moment in the sun as "the next Lily Allen". Oddie also has two daughters from his first marriage to Jean Hart.
Personally, life has not been so easy. Six years ago, Oddie suffered a nervous breakdown - an attack that he believes was connected to his mother's schizophrenia. In 2001, he told The Independent: "I basically didn't have any mother love... I remember being taken to see her in the hospital when I was about 16 or 17 as a sort of experiment to see if she remembered me. She had no idea who I was. All I remember her saying was 'television is dead bodies and cardboard'."
Since then, though, Oddie has discovered more about his family, partly through his appearance on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?. "It completely rewrote my assumption of what my mother was," he said. " It undemonised her. I've started to build up a picture of her. She was very jolly and musical. If there is any continuity in the genes, I must have inherited quite a lot from her."
The new, mellower Oddie still has a reputation for grouchiness. "He is a consummate professional," explains Holden, "and a lot of his public appearances are performances. As with a lot of performers he can be temperamental, and that's the case with Bill. He is a passionate person about nature in particular. But it's the passion that makes him so watchable. "
The broadcaster Phill Jupitus remembers Oddie's recent, eccentric performance on the BBC's music quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks rather differently. "There was a weird atmosphere in the studio," said Jupitus. "It was as if Oddie genuinely didn't want to be there. He's certainly got a unique outlook on the whole business. He arrives jaded. For someone who is so good on television, he really doesn't seem to enjoy it.
"When you see Bill on those wildlife shows, he is quite extraordinary. But I wish he'd just do the wildlife shows. The other stuff seems to annoy him. He's a fragile individual at best, so I don't know why he keeps putting himself in these vulnerable positions. I was a huge fan of the Goodies – as was anyone who was 12 in 1972 - so I've got a huge amount of admiration for Bill, but he should do what makes him happy."
There is no doubt that birds make Oddie happy, and always have done. Garden remembers Oddie arranging some curious sites for Goodies' shoots. "He'd have a word with the location manager, so we'd be able to see some rare this-or-that," said Garden. "So we'd sit in the van and he'd always be pointing out all the birds and what was going on in the foliage around him. Watching him on television now is just like having a chat with him on location all those years ago. He used to disappear between takes with his binoculars and go and hide in a bush."
In his Goodies days, though, Oddie was not keen to have a wildlife programme of his own. "When he started doing nature on television, he did it slightly reluctantly," said Garden. "His twitching was always a private passion, and I think he was reluctant to publicise it, or to capitalise on it. Of course, he was enthusiastic and wanted others to be enthusiastic about it, but I don't think he was ever keen to get his own nature programme. It seems quite clear now that he absolutely loves it."
Despite having found his vocation, Oddie would not be Oddie without having some other irons in fires. He continues to write children's books and scripts with his wife. He continues to appear, occasionally, on other television programmes. Having made an impression on thousands of young lives by voicing several characters in Bananaman in the 1980s, Oddie has now turned his vocal talents to the B&Q adverts. And two years ago, the Goodies reunited for a tour of Australia, where old shows were recently aired. They were met by screaming fans.
"It was completely surreal," said Oddie, on his return. "Like being plunged back into the Seventies and that rock concert ethos. Who would not enjoy two weeks' complete adulation? But it wasn't half weird."
Oddie might have been talking about his entire career. Just when you think he will fade out of view, up he pops again - with his hair a mess, his beard unkempt, and his sharp eyes darting around from behind his spectacles – more popular than ever. How this has come to pass, no one really knows. But don't count on Springwatch being his last greatest hit.
A Life in Brief
BORN: 7 July 1941, Rochdale. Brought up by his grandmother Emily when his mother fell mentally ill.
EDUCATION: King Edward's School, Birmingham. Read English literature at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
CAREER: At Cambridge he appeared in several Footlights productions while also writing scripts for TV's That Was the Week That Was. TV and radio career took in On the Braden Beat, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, Twice a Fortnight, Broaden Your Mind and The Goodies with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. Released novelty records including "Funky Gibbon" in 1975. Post-Goodies, he has focused mainly on nature programmes, including Oddie in Paradise (1985), Bill Oddie Goes Wild (three series starting 2001) and Britain Goes Wild (2004). Now presents BBC's Springwatch.
HE SAYS: "The first thing is to stop thinking of wildlife or a wildlife interest as something only for children. That really annoys me."
THEY SAY: "Working with Bill is challenging, unpredictable, sometimes downright infuriating but never ever boring." - Springwatch co-presenter Kate Humble
(Lisa Manekofsky – Goodies-l – 2nd Jul)
The July 2nd issue of The Times has the following article about "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" and its forthcoming stage tour. The article can be read online at
Growing Old Cluelessly
Radio 4's long-running anti-panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is going on tour, but still refuses to act its age, says Dominic Maxwell.
Jon Naismith, the producer of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, is alarmed - something that doesn't happen to him often, if his affable air of authority is to be believed. During the show's six annual recording sessions in theatres around the country, he hovers backstage, walking on now and then to ask for a retake or to whisper a word in the ear of the show's 86-year-old host, Humphrey Lyttelton.
But on this night in Wimbledon the crowd of 1,500 are laughing at a joke so blue it has made them hysterical. In the wings Naismith turns to his writer, Iain Pattinson, and cries out with a mixture of panic and glee: "Bit too rude, that one?"
Well, the glory of this dirty-minded but well-spoken compendium of lightning wit and dubious parlour games is that, however much it pushes its luck, it is often rude and never offensive. That's why its three million listeners love it with a fervour that no other radio show can approach. That's why it has sold more than 600,000 copies on CD. And that's why its first ever live tour this autumn has already sold out many of its nine dates without a whiff of publicity.
Its running jokes include the relentless ribbing of the former TV charades expert Lionel Blair - "who can forget the time that he pulled off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes?" - and the sexual adventures of the show's fictitious scorer, Samantha.
But Lyttelton and panellists Tim Brooke-Taylor, 66, Barry Cryer, 72, and Graeme Garden, 64, imbue this "antidote to panel games" with such a jovial air that Naismith hasn't received any complaints for five years. "If the same lines were delivered by 20-year-olds," he says, "I'm sure we'd be inundated. But people just think: 'Oh, they're grandads . . .' " These grandads have been both embodying and undermining the great British panel game for 35 years. Forming two teams - Cryer and Garden versus Brooke-Taylor and whichever of the show's younger comics is on the rota that week – they play ludicrous games ( see box) that are part-improvised, part-prepared. None of which is ever likely to impress the magnificently unwowable Lyttelton, the show's sheath against smugness since April 1972.
And the night's offending joke, delivered by Lyttelton with the same enthusiasm that he might have given to reading out Yellow Pages? It was a Samantha one, which had the frisky scorer going to the butchers and ending up "with Mr Dewhurst's tongue inside her".
Cryer, the show's avuncular gag fountain, calls the show "blue-chip filth". We'll find out tonight whether Mr Dewhurst's tongue has penetrated Radio 4's defences. And perhaps its touring incarnation, which will be like the usual recording session except unfettered by thoughts of transmission, will be its sauciest sojourn yet.
Yet if the BBC had had its way, this national treasure might never have been allowed out to play on its own. For the idea of the tour raised the question of ownership. Garden devised the show in 1971, after deciding that his blossoming TV career, including The Goodies with Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, left them no time for their radio sketch show I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. So he thought he'd devise a sort of mockery of panel shows to fill the same airtime but with less writing time.
He got a devising credit for the pilot, then never again for the next 35 years. It wasn't really an issue, he says - "until, with the tour, they started getting all stupid about it". The BBC told the teams that they could tour, but only if they didn't use the name. "Although everybody agrees that I came up with the idea," says Garden, "nobody is sure that the idea is a format. That it actually exists! It is like a game. It's a Mornington Crescent of legality."
The dispute became public earlier this year when Cryer let it slip to the press. After a brief storm of bad publicity the BBC backed down - but will take a cut from the tour.
"It was so petty," says Cryer, "we were really quite angry. The Little Britains, the League of Gentlemens, these days people own what they do. But when we started you wouldn't have thought of it. We were just mercenaries."
It's most un-Clue-like, this real-world ramraid on this gentlemen's comedy club ("I always think it sounds like we are in leather chairs," says Garden). It's a show where everyone's a target, but the arrows are made of ice-cream. Jim Broadbent, one of the celebrity fans to pay tribute on the 30th anniversary special, summed up its appeal: "If there is such a thing as the great British sense of humour," he said, "it is here that it must surely be found, with all its absurdity, acerbity, self-mockery and filth."
For many years, though, it was a good programme rather than a great one. "Listen to the old shows and they sound stilted," says Cryer. "Jon Naismith transformed it." When Naismith took the job in 1991 he was asked to compile the first of the show's CD compilations. He listened to 150 shows, taking notes on every round. Not a huge fan of the show before, he became a zealot. He challenged the others to think up new ideas before every season. And, most importantly, he hired Iain Pattinson. "Before that," says Cryer, "the great Humph was just being a chairman. Jon decided that this man is such a great deliverer of a line that he needs a writer."
And yet Lyttelton is barely involved in the preparation of the show. The teams rehearse in the afternoon before a show. Lyttelton doesn't arrive till an hour before the audience. He has a brief chat with his producer, looks at his lines for the first time, then retreats to his dressing room. And that's that.
"The less I know the better," says Lyttelton, taller and twinklier than his gnomic radio presence suggests. "I'm not a comedian, so my attitude has always been, 'I've got a perfectly good day job as a bandleader and trumpeter; what the hell am I doing here?' And I've managed to keep that up for 35 years."
He ignores any double meanings put into his mouth. And if he does notice any of them, he certainly wouldn't want us to know about it: "If ever I giggle at what I'm saying I immediately stop and do it again. Nothing would be worse than me knowing that they were double entendres and then performing them in a leery voice."
The show survived the death of the regular panellist Willie Rushton in 1996, but could it do without the mighty Humph? Garden suggests that the format is "pretty fireproof" - it would change drastically without Lyttelton, but it could survive.
Brooke-Taylor agrees. "Humph is the most important component," he says, "but the show is better than any of us." It took him a while to come round to that idea, though. "Willie Rushton and I talked about it once and we agreed that if Humph isn't there it's not worth doing. And having had that discussion with Willie, you do sort of feel, it's not Humph that's going to be replaced, it's me!"
They have persisted, suggests Cryer, because the show "has never been put in aspic". Brooke-Taylor argues that the influx of younger faces since 1996 - such as Stephen Fry, Rob Brydon, Jack Dee and Ross Noble - has kept them awake, as well as bringing in younger listeners. Garden argues that the format allows them to mess up: "Part of the fun," he says, "is hearing the sound of sweat."
Jeremy Hardy, a stripling of 45, guests in every series. He'll be on the tour too. But while he can bring an abrasive edge to the show - not to mention the least soothing singing voice in England - he claims the others are more likely to keep up with comic trends than he is. "People think it's a difficult business to get started in," he says. "I think the opposite is true: it's very easy to get started and very hard to keep going. And so you end up with a great respect for people's longevity."
After the show, in an Italian restaurant that has run out of pasta, the tone is one of gregarious relief. It's as if, for the 49th consecutive series, they have somehow got away with it again. Brooke-Taylor chooses the wine. Garden quietly manoeuvres his veal, throwing in the odd brilliant comment. Cryer, dispatched to the end of the table to smoke his menthols, tells jokes and guffaws in that familiar way. "It's not put on," he insists, "I'm just enjoying it all enormously. We have four children who grew up imitating Dad. The house used to echo to HAHAHAHAHA!" He guffaws again. "Oh dear."
And while none of them exactly demurs at the suggestion that they are national treasures, they know that stardom on Radio 4 doesn't always mean much in the culture at large. "Probably 80 per cent of the country hasn't heard it," says Brooke-Taylor. "And of those that do listen to it, if someone says 'that's pathetic' I can see their point."
Smug? Somehow, against all the odds, they never are. But Garden knows the worth of his creation. Even if he can't actually prove it exists. "I think it's what Radio 4 is all about really," he says. "It's not stupid but it's silly, and the vulgarity . . . well, you'll never hear a dirty word. I'm a big fan of censorship because it's a great boon to the comedy writer to try to find ways round it."
So tune it tonight, and you will find out whether Mr Dewhurst's tongue has made its way into one deep, dark orifice that is always crying out for stimulation. The ear-hole of a grateful nation.
Games for a laugh: I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue's greatest hits
Uxbridge English Dictionary Contestants offer new meanings for words, eg, Stephen Fry's definition of countryside: "To kill Piers Morgan".
Late Arrivals The teams are given a social function, eg, the Drunkards' Ball, and have to devise funny names to announce. For example: "Will you welcome please Mr and Mrs Large-Whisky, and their son, Oliver Large-Whisky." Always preceded by . . .
The Samantha Joke The erotic adventures of Humph's fictitious scorer. For example: "Samantha tells me she has to pop out now as she does a few chores for an elderly gentleman who lives near by. She shows him how to use the washing machine and then goes out to prune his fruit trees. Later he'll be hanging out his pyjamas as he watches her beaver away up the ladder."
Pickup Song A contestant sings along to a record. The music is faded down and he continues unaccompanied till it's faded up again, trying to keep exactly to the tempo of the original.
Mornington Crescent The show's signature dish, a game without any rules - but played in high earnestness as if it were a game with all the tactical nuance of chess, backgammon and bridge combined. I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is on Radio 4 tonight at 6.30pm, repeated Sunday at noon. The live tour begins on August 30 in Leeds (
(by Brett Allender)
Here's a new Goodies crossword for fans of the superchaps three to puzzle over.
As with my previous crossword in March, if you're not familiar with a number of the Goodies episodes listed, the information in my Goodies Episode Summaries (in the "Articles/Guides" section) should help you solve the clues.
There is also a copy of the grid and clues in Word format in the "Articles/Guides" section of the website at  along with the solution on a separate page. The solution will also be printed in next month's newsletter.
. C 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 C .
R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R
1                             1
2                             2
3                             3
4                             4
5                             5
6                             6
7                             7
8                             8
9                             9
10                             10
11                             11
12                             12
R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R
. C 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 C .
Row 1, column 1 (5,7 letters) - This stuff gives Bill interesting visions (Beefeaters and other first series episodes)
Row 3, column 1 (5 letters) - Her high notes wreck the Goodies office - first name (The Music Lovers)
Row 3, column 10 (3 letters) - Graeme: "We're here to give you the ??? off." Tim: "The ??? off what?" (Scoutrageous)
Row 4, column 5 (4 letters) - He gets released, then shot soon afterwards - first name (Scatty Safari)
Row 5, column 1 (4 letters) - He appears as a genie at the end – first name (Goodies And The Beanstalk)
Row 6, column 9 (4 letters) - This Eskimo warms the Goodies up rather rapidly (Winter Olympics)
Row 7, column 1 (6 letters) -  The Goodies are served a pie made from one of these (Winter Olympics)
Row 8, column 7 (3 letters) - Song title: "??? ... That's How We Spell Work" (Snow White 2)
Row 9, column 3 (3 letters) - Frankenfido is a very unique one of these (Frankenfido)
Row 10, column 1 (3 letters) - Tim gets sprayed with this while in the rocket (Invasion Of The Moon Creatures)
Row 10, column 7 (6 letters) - Graeme gets turned into one of these by a magic spell (That Old Black Magic)
Row 12, column 1 (5, 6 letters) - The Music Master's true identity (For Those In Peril On The Sea)
Column 1, row 1 (4, 3 letters) - The name of the adventure school that the Goodies go to (Way Outward Bound)
Column 1, row 10 (3 letters) - Graeme: "That there's a five mega??? nun son!" (U-Friend Or UFO)
Column 3, row 5 (8 letters) - LWT episode where the Goodies travel to Dunsquabblin (????????)
Column 5, row 1 (4 letters) - Graeme in mock ad: "It's ???? scotch!" (Football Crazy)
Column 5, row 6 (5 letters) - The name of the lost island that The Goodies are seeking (For Those In Peril On The Sea)
Column 7, row 1 (6 letters) - Graeme: "It has been put about by backsliding revisionary paper ?????? ..." (Radio Goodies)
Column 7, row 8 (5 letters) - Surname of guest star who plays the Music Master (The Music Lovers)
Column 9, row 8 (3 letters) - The police sergeant tries to ??? the Goodies after their robbery (Goodies In The Nick)
Column 10, row 1 (7 letters) - The name of Tim's uncle at Tally Ho Towers (Hunting Pink)
Column 10, row 10 (3 letters) - What to say to Nessie to scare her away (Loch Ness Monster)
Column 11, row 9 (2 letters) - Song title: "Such A Long Way To ??" (The Lost Tribe)
Column 12, row 1 (4 letters) - Bill to Tim: "We only keep you on 'coz you can ???? !" (The Stone Age)
Column 12, row 6 (3 letters) - The name of Bill's vulture (For Those In Peril On The Sea)
Column 12, row 10 (2 letters) - Bill's innocent response to Tim exclaiming "It was you all the time!" (Scoutrageous)
(a) Graeme
(b) His magic elixir
(c) Hospital For Hire
(d) Filthy rich Americans
(e) Velasquez
(f) From Greenshields Stamps
(g) Turn them into a crazy-golf course
(h) Monarch Of The Glen
8    Mastermind Of The Year
7    Goodies fan supreme
5-6 Clever clogs
3-4 Reasonably Goodie
1-2 Thick as old boots
0    Rolf Harris!
- #141:    15th August 2007.
The Goodies Fan Club Clarion and Globe is copyright The Goodies Rule - OK! 2007. All rights reserved.
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