In the 2005 BBC special "Return Of The Goodies", many of the sequences of Goodies footage are introduced by current-day comedians who count The Goodies as one of the strongest comedy influences of their childhood. For one such sequence Australian comedian Adam Hills rather cheekily comments "What is it with Tim in drag?! Really!" Accompanied by footage of Tim Brooke-Taylor rather glamourously dolled up as Lady Macbeth in "The Movies" and then as Mrs Cricklewood in "Chubby Chumps", Hills continues: "Did anyone else ever look at Tim when he was dressed in drag and kinda think 'Ooooh!'?", before pausing and uttering "Just me.", answering his own question in a mock sheepish tone. Fear not Adam, you've got plenty of company among fellow Goodies fans as Tim's many gender bender roles during the show are very convincing and a really amusing highlight of the show. Tim's own point of view, from a past Goodies Clarion & Globe interview, is " I have to say I liked playing female parts but hated the actual clothes. My sympathies go out to women who have to wear formal clothes."
Most Goodies fans would consider Tim's Nanny character in "Cecily" to be his first occasion to pop on a frock in the show, but in fact his initial drag role comes in the seldom-screened "Playgirl Club" episode earlier in Series One. The Goodies are asked by the Minister for Trade and Domestic Affairs (Mollie Sugden of "Are You Being Served" fame) to retrieve some rather compromising photos of her from the Playgirl Club, but as it is an exclusive sexy club for women only, they need to find a way of infiltrating it. Bill has the bright idea of sending Tim in there dressed as a woman seeing as he can already "do the voice", to which a horrified Tim initially protests, but then relents and dresses in a crinoline and a large hat with a wig of long curly hair to complete the transformation.
"The voice" is actually the same one which Tim uses for Cecily's Nanny and many of his other female roles and it originates from his Lady Constance de Coverlet character in the earlier radio comedy series "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again". In a further quote from his C&G interviews, Tim explains how this voice came about: "As a student in our Footlights revue we did a send up of Oscar Wilde. I played the Lady Bracknell part and instead of 'a handbag', I had 'A Gooseberry bush'. In the classic film of 'The Importance Of Being Earnest' the Lady Bracknell part was played by Dame Edith Evans and it was her voice that I copied. At the first night in London Dame Edith was invited to attend – it appears that she was the only person in the theatre who didn’t know who I was impersonating. I got the nicest review possible from the English critic Harold Hobson who said that my impression of Edith Evans was 'blasphemous'."
Tim's first female character is quite interesting because he is still very much a red-blooded male who is rather reluctant to dress up as a woman and has to keep slapping his own wrist to stop himself from touching and ogling at the bevy of scantily-clad ladies around him, culminating in his need to take a cold shower after getting an eyeful of the naked women in the shower room alongside him. After a while,Graeme and Bill start to worry about his disappearance at the Playgirl Club. G: He's been gone a long time, hasn't he?!" B: "Three weeks." G: "What do you think he's doing?" B: "C'mon, what would you be doing if you were in a place like that, hey?!" G (shocked): "No he can't do that! Not when he's dragged up like Queen Victoria!" In fact Tim has got himself a role as Mitzi, the assistant to Miss Heifer who is the Playgirl Club Wolf Mother, which enables him to reclaim the Minister's photos, but Miss Heifer's suspicions about him eventually leads him to firmly declare "Alright, I admit it. I'm a man!", necessitating the Goodies to make a hasty exit from the Playgirl Club after a bit more ogling on the way out through the shower room.
In "Cecily", the Goodies are asked to fulfil a job for mother's help and caretaking, with a female Nanny being essential, therefore launching Tim into his better-known drag role from the first series. Again he is quite reluctant and rather vehemently opposes the idea either side of a rather flirty Lady Constance-like phone call ("I look forward to the pleasure … but I doubt I'll get it!") to Cecily's elderly uncle, but because he getting paid for it and only has to be a Nanny for one day, he eventually agrees to the idea. Understandably Tim's Nanny character is considerably more frumpily dressed than Mitzi at the Playgirl Club but he still gets his share of action and danger trying to protect Cecily (and himself) from the evil forces that are trying to scare her to death and have done away with a dozen other nannies already. Perhaps the most memorable piece of imagery from this episode is Nanny running with a kite only to take a spectacular headlong plunge into the river ("Urk, Nanny swallowed a fish!") which frequently features in the opening credits of most future Goodies episodes.
"Come Dancing" features all three Goodies dragged up as ballerinas to compete as Peaches Stiletto's "girls" against Delia Capone's "boys" in a dance-off after the initial dancing contest between the two troupes of male dancers and their partners ends in a draw thanks to Delia's bribing of the judges and the Goodies' radio controlled dancing suits ensuring that everyone receives maximum points. However the next episode featuring Tim dolling up solo is "Free To Live", where he is forced by Barbara, the Women's Lib inspector, to work at her male chauvinist father Charlie's country estate as Timbellina the housemaid as his punishment for being a sexist pig along with Graeme, who gets a much easier deal as Charlie's butler.
Tim is worked into the ground as a maid and eventually sees things from a woman's point of view, resigning in order to devote his time to "the cause". His refusal to change out of his maid's uniform back at the Goodies office has Graeme worried: "You're a man, not a woman. Go and have a look! You … you haven't done anything silly, have you?!", and even Graeme's regaling of the past exploits of "Tomcat Tim" with "Big Fat Nellie from Cock Fosters" and others isn't enough to snap Tim out of his feminine fancy. T: "I might even marry if Mr Right comes along." G (horrified): "Mr Wright, the greengrocer! You can't marry him!" T (indignantly): "I can marry anyone I choose!"
Ultimately though, it's Tim who seems likely to miss out on married life after the double wedding ceremony commences for the two happy couples – Bill and Barbara, and Graeme and his computer! However Tim takes on a second female role for the episode, this time as a much more hiply-dressed Women's Lib protester who makes a rousing soapbox speech about the drudgery of married life for women who end up "slaving over a hot nappy, washing meals and cooking babies!" This headstrong speech successfully deters Bill and Graeme from tying the knot, but greatly impresses Charlie, who grabs Tim in a tight embrace and thunderously declares "I love you, you gorgeous red-blooded she-beast! We've got the church, we've got the vicar and now, By God, we're going to have a wedding!", causing Tim and the other Goodies to make a speedy getaway on the trandem.
At the end of Series 2, the Goodies did a series of segments for inclusion in the various episodes of "Engelbert And The Young Generation". As Tim explains in another of his C&G interviews: "They were five minute pieces on film. Some were parodies. e.g. WE were Pan's Grannies'. The regular, all girl, 'coo er' dancers on Top of the Pops were called Pan's People and we did a Granny version. We did a collection of these items which I cobbled together as a one-off called A Collection Of Goodies". This special has been rarely screened, but Pan's Grannies make a much more well-known reappearance in "The Goodies Almost Live", providing the ultra-funky moves for a series of way-out dances like the Slimy Toad, Loony Moth and Belligerent Bee in their dowdy old coats and dresses, flowing shawls and gigantic applecatcher knickers!
Tim actually plays a similar-looking character to a Pan's Granny in "The New Office", where he dresses as an old woman to help to deliver the Goodie's sob story of being a poor downtrodden family who have nowhere to live when they go to visit the heartless real estate agency of Gazump Grasper Meanie & Snatch. He also plays old "pepperpot"-type characters in several of the mock ads in the first four series including Goodlop Tyres and the Dodo Sensation, with the most notable ones being the Razz 2 for 1 Swap (G:"You'd turn down the Crown Jewels for your packet of Razz washing powder?!" … "She just won't swap, and that's what we normally find. Most Razz users are too stupid to know a good thing when they see it!") and as Rolf Harris's Granny (T: "As a top entertainer, Rolf works really hard, singing those boring songs and telling those stupid jokes and being generally irritating!") in the ad for Bristo Gravy Mix where she gets to poison Rolf ("It's just what you deserve!"). In another ad he also plays a much younger housewife who opens up her refrigerator only to be swamped by a torrent of Soft Golden Dairy Margarine which supposedly "spreads straight from the fridge".
In "That Old Black Magic" Tim and Bill venture to a rather creepy Clapham Common in a bid to prevent a possessed Graeme from practicing his corny "black magic" and selling his soul to the Sunday papers. After reading a gloomy sign titled "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here", Tim and Bill spot a smaller "Virgins Required" sign and after a quick detour, they re-emerge in long blonde wigs and white robes. Tim is worried about the state of his hair, causing Bill to snap "For heaven's sake, at this very moment Graeme's probably selling his soul to the devil, we're the only two people that can help him and all you're worried about is your blasted hair!" T: "I'm sorry." B: "I should think so too. (changes his tune) Have you got a comb?!" After considering them as "A bit ropey, but you'll have to do.", Graeme plans to offer Tim and Bill as a small sacrifice to appease the Devil upon summoning him (G: "Prepare to tremble!" T & B (petrified): "We are trembling!". However Witch Hazel arrives to not only spoil Graeme's satanic worship session but also to defeat him and unintentionally possess him with the soul of a gibbon, setting off a lengthy chase scene with Tim and Bill still dressed as virgins pursuing gibbon Graeme all over the countryside.
"The Movies" episode at the start of Series 5 firstly has Tim dressing as a suitably medieval-looking Lady Macbeth after Bill has already snaffled the role of Macbeth for himself, however Tim's first chance to really glam up as a female in The Goodies comes at the special stars-only preview of "Macbeth Meets Truffaut The Wonder Dog". Graeme is setting up the projector for the screening and is somewhat surprised when a Mae West-lookalike sashays into the room in a shimmering black dress, enormous feather-adorned hat and bright red lipstick, then totally stunned when he realises who 'she' is, gasping: "Tim?!!" T: "This is my new screen image. This is how my public sees me." G (shocked): "If they see you like that, they'll have you arrested! You like it, don't you, that's what it is. You're peculiar, you like it!" T (dramatically): "It's not what I like, it's what they like. To them out there, I'm no longer Tim Brooke-Taylor, I am Lady Macbeth!" G (in an exaggerated manner): "You are peculiar!", only to then reveal his own equally peculiar new sequinned suit as the bright lights of potential movie stardom have gone to his head as well!
In "Chubby Chumps" Tim starts off as a house hubby who gets rather obese from lazing around the office listening to his trusty transistor radio while the others are away and gorging himself on lard-laden recipes such as Jim's suet dumplings. Tim is not only conned into losing his excess weight courtesy of Terry's "Fight Against Flab" campaign, but ends up with a whole new makeover altogether. Graeme and Bill have been looking at a framed photo of Tim on the wall quite some time after he has left them (B: "You know, I reckon I'll miss him." G: "Not if you aim carefully!" with B then hurling a cricket ball at the photo, smashing the glass panel for a 'bullseye'!) and a little while later Tim re-enters the office all tarted up in a pink dress, teased-up hair and enhanced bustline. The others initially don't even notice any change before they finally drop a stack of dishes in shock. T: "Haven't you noticed anything else? … I'm beautiful!" B (impressed): Y'know he is a bit of a cracker, isn't he?!"
When Graeme takes over BBC Radio and impersonates Terry to compromise the Housewife Of The Year Contest by ordering the lovely housewives to go out and get tubby and frumpy by stuffing themselves with food, it's up to Bill to prevent Timbellina (later Mrs Cricklewood) from joining the feeding frenzy. B (desperately trying to hold T back and stop him from leaving the office): "No he doesn't mean you … Look, you're slim and you're pretty, right? You don't want to get fat, you don't want to get flabby, you don't want to spoil yourself. Timbellina, don't ruin your lovely, beautiful … (stares at T in wonder) … Oh God, you're lovely!" T (flattered): "Yes I am a bit, aren't I?!" Bill's success in keeping Mrs Cricklewood slim and beautiful ultimately helps 'her' to win the contest as voted on by an expert panel of milkmen, but then leads to weighty problems dealing with the other fatties who are rather jealous and angry as a result of Tim's victory.
After the Goodies have rid the land of the plague of Rolf Harrisses in "Scatty Safari", the grateful anonymous Queen fulfils her earlier promise that whomsoever can achieve this mighty service for their country shall receive the hand of her eldest son in marriage and 1000 OBEs. We are then treated to the sight of a radiant Tim dressed in bridal gear appearing to lovingly cuddle up to Prince Charles, who was apparently keen to actually play this role himself until he was talked out of it by Palace staff, with Bill and Graeme decorated from top to toe in their 1000 gleaming OBE medallions weeping tears of joy in the background.
In "Daylight Robbery On The Orient Express", Tim's role is to rapidly change into sexy costumes as a beautiful maiden representing the particular country that the Orient Express is supposedly travelling through at the time. Among Tim's various drag performances on the train, there's a quick flash of the frillies in France, a "sunkissed Latin maiden" in Italy, a brief appearance as Rachel Roberts in traditional Welsh costume madly bellowing "Yaach-y-daa boyos!", a wailing belly dancer while in Egypt, in a fancy fur coat and hat while travelling through Lapland and finally the full geisha treatment in Japan which ultimately finishes in tears when an increasingly bored and obnoxious Graeme shouts "Ole!" and forcefully shoves two knitting needles into Tim's tea-cosy style Japanese wig. Tim's grumble of "Why don't you do it (drag up)?" is met with Graeme's blunt response of "I haven't got the legs for it, that's why!" and shortly afterwards Tim gets all upset when Graeme hits him and Tim starts pining for Bill (who has been left behind along the track) because "he wouldn't hit a frail little lady"!
After many years of his Goodies character adoring the Queen, Tim finally gets the chance to play her in "Royal Command" after 'The Amazing Tumbling Royals' equestrian thrills on ice results in the members of the Royal Family breaking every bone in their bodies and being laid up in hospital swathed in plaster and bandages. The Royals need stand-ins to perform their duties seeing as they will be out of action for a while, so with Graeme undecided whether to be 'him' (in Prince Philip's jacket) or 'her' (also in Princess Anne's dress and doing appropriately silly walks for both characters) before finally settling on being 'her', and Bill initially dressing as a corgi in his 'Cuddly Scamp' suit before he has to be 'young him' (resplendent in a crown with gigantic ears flapping on it!), the duty of becoming Queen falls to Tim, with a wooden dummy eventually sufficing as Prince Philip. Tim makes a rather elegant and bossy Queen in a powder blue dress and matching sensible hat (even though he just couldn't get the "My husband and I" voice right!), and though the real Queen is supposedly happy for there to be a rerun of the coronation ceremony (as she missed watching it the first time!) the realisation that they will no longer be in power after the coronation is enough to drag the injured Royal Family members from their sickbeds to defend their heritage. T: "Are they (the Royal Family) really cross, Bill?" B: "Well put it this way. One is not amused. ... Two are bloody furious, and the other just wants Harry Secombe's autograph!"
The "Politics" episode features two memorable drag roles from Tim; the first being a scarily accurate take-off of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Tim enters ad-man Graeme's office dressed as Maggie, and Graeme is fooled into thinking that the real Maggie has returned from her early tax-dodging retirement to the Bahamas. G: "You're back, thank heavens! Don't tell me, you want to get back in, right? Yes well this time, why stop at Prime Minister?! (roughly ushers T into a seat) How about Empress of Europe, of America, of the world?! Here we are, try this on! (sticks a Hitler-style moustache onto a stunned silent Tim) There. No, doesn't suit you, mind you, what did, hey? My God, how did I ever sell you?! Still, I can do it again, I'm so pleased to see you back. I thought I was going to have to go back to flogging washing powders (scoffs), mind you, there's not much difference, hey! (chuckles) I'm sorry, I'm sorry, no offence, no offence. Always remember, rule number one - never offend the client. Rule number two - never forget they're idiots. And rule number three - never let them know that you know. Know what I mean? No, of course you don't, you're an idiot!"
After Tim (as Maggie) and Bill (in one of his rare drag roles as Vanessa Redgrave) have given their stupendously boring campaign speeches, Bill quits politics in disgust at the "cynical manipulation of marketing" involved, only to return to Graeme's office half an hour later as the lefty revolutionary leader Che. His full name can be any one of a number of punny options such as "Che Kitallabout" or "Che SeMeCharlie" (or even Graeme's comment of "Che No More!" for that matter) and Bill is determined to do "anything to stop that posh Brooke-Taylor from queening his way to the top." As the background music from Evita steadily rises to a crescendo, Bill demands of Graeme: "Tell me something mate, what image could he possibly come up with that would be better than mine, hey, hey?" only to be upstaged by the entry of the glamourous Timita in a flowing white ballgown and fancy jewellery. B: "Ooh I don't believe it, it isn't … it is! … Miss Piggy!" (earning a 'hi-yah' from Tim's handbag for his trouble!) T: "Yes it's me Evita, or rather Timita. (sings) High flying adore …" B (stares at T's body and scoffs): "More like a jumbo jet!" (bursts into laughter) T (annoyed): "That's quite enough out of you, Fido Castrol GTX!" B (turns to G): Hey … you ever heard of the Iron Maiden? (looks back at T) ... "The Tin Transvestite!"
The coalition government of Che and Timita doesn't exactly go swimmingly, culminating in a European war via "It's A Knockout" hosted by Graeme as Eddie Waring, but at least Timita's political campaign does offer up one all-time classic Goodies quote. Two common factory workers, Tina and Marge, are pictured working away while chatting about Timita's chances in the upcoming election. They are so worried that Timita won't get the win that she so richly deserves that they begin to weep, but are soon consoled by Timita making another rousing entry with the memorable line: "Don't cry for me Marge and Tina!"
Tim's last drag appearance in the BBC episodes is a considerably more understated and less glamourous one than his previous few roles. The trombone-playing aliens are about to take over the Earth and Graeme makes the following suggestion: "We must send up an ambassador of peace. Somebody not even the aliens could harm. Somebody who represents gentleness and truth. Somebody who stands for the holy way of life. But above all, somebody who can fly like the clappers!" Graeme then stares directly at a surprised Tim and Super Nun comes into being. Super Nun's mission of gentleness and holiness only lasts for as long as it takes for Graeme's loony scientist bent to kick in, as he gets Bill to fit 'her' with a nuclear warhead to blast the aliens out of the skies. A horrified Bill realises this just after helping to launch Super Nun into orbit and angrily confronts Graeme about it: "Come on, own up. That nun was loaded!" G: "Well yes, a bit." B (demandingly): "How much of a bit?!" G (being a smart alec): "Quite a big bit. That there is a five megaton nun, son!" Of course the loaded nun makes quite an impact when she finally hits her target, wiping out all remaining life on Earth just as Bill is in the middle of a grand speech after merrily communicating with the aliens via trombone.
The change over to LWT for the last series of The Goodies brings three more opportunities for Tim to drag up, although the first two aren't particularly unusual. In the pantomime-style "Snow White 2", Tim plays the Fairy Godmother who speaks in rhyme in a very Lady Constance-style voice and tries to stop the boys from storming the castle that the girls have control of, but much is made of the unmanly roles that most of the other men have to put up with in pantomimes in any case. In "Football Crazy", Tim is part of the Cricklewood " team of dancers who have to play in the"Juliet" strip in the big match against the "Romeo"-clad Aston Villa at Covent Garden, but he also has Graeme and Bill as teammates in tutus for company.
The very last Goodies episode titled "Animals" gives Tim one last chance to frock up, this time as the somewhat batty dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. After he has bought her Dog Training Kit from Graeme's pet shop, he walks into the men's toilet and emerges from the adjacent women's loo complete with white hair, black glasses and eminently sensible top and skirt. His commands, in a very strange high-pitched authoritative voice, for his dog to do various tricks fall on deaf doggy ears, but Bill and several other men in the park all obey Tim's commands to the letter, much to the interest of Graeme, watching from the doorway of his shop. Tim returns to the shop and complains (in Barbara's nutty voice) that he does not like this "dawg" that Graeme has given him, so Graeme casually stuffs it in a rubbish bin and shows Tim his new line of pets - a bunch of people dressed as dogs in a cage. Tim chooses Bill ("the runt of the litter!") and takes him for walkies, but soon tires of him and ultimately tries to dump him in the river while taking him on "the longest walkies of all". Tim has to revert to Barbara again later in the episode to round up a renegade Graeme who has fled after working on a fiendish scheme to send his herd of human bullocks to the knackery (G: "Oh you fools! This plan could have made us all rich! In some cases dead ... but rich!") and Tim uses Barbara's shrill tones to set the human bullocks, bloodhounds, ducks and sheep onto Graeme. The chase ensues until Graeme is finally cornered in a sheep dip trough and goes under for seemingly the last time.
As a final quote from "Return Of The Goodies", Tim has just viewed footage of himself as the "Beanz Boy" being roughed up by Graeme some 30 years earlier in the mock commercials, and rather indignantly grumbles "Wait a minute, wait a minute! Why did I always play the parts of women and little boys who were hurt?!" (He glares at Graeme and Bill) "I suppose because you were so hairy, you couldn't play those parts." Graeme's rather matter-of-fact reply, with an accompanying smirk from Bill, is "No. Because we wrote it!" Fair enough too! It was also noted in "The Goodies Still Alive On Stage" tour shows that The Goodies took a lot of pride in creating strong character roles for women right throughout the show; it's just that Tim ended up playing most of them in the latter series. For the sake of Adam Hills and the rest of us Goodies fans, we're more than happy that he did!