Sir David Paradine Frost was born in Kent in 1939 and attended Cambridge shortly before the three Goodies did. Like the Goodies, he was involved with the Footlights Drama Society at Cambridge, serving as the Secretary in his final year. After graduating, Frost was chosen to host a pioneering satirical show titled “That Was The Week That Was”, and one of the comedy writers that he signed up in 1964 was a young Bill Oddie, who had just returned from the Footlights’ “Cambridge Circus” tour of the U.S.
“The Frost Report” from 1966 and 1967 was an important launching pad for the television careers of the likes of John Cleese and the Two Ronnies, and Frost’s scriptwriting team included two future Goodies – Bill and Tim – plus Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman and various other budding comedians.
Frost would go on to host many other TV programs in Britain and America, including his self-titled “The David Frost Show”, but he is perhaps best known for his probing interviews of U.S. Presidents, most notably Richard Nixon. His present media commitment is a weekly current affairs show titled “Frost Over the World” on the Al Jazeera English channel
As a prominent TV and media figure during the 1970s, he was ripe for the picking as a target for The Goodies, but their stirring of him was always done with a measure of fondness as he had given both Bill and Tim early opportunities to show their own comedy wares. As Tim mentions in a past interview for the Goodies Clarion & Globe newsletter, “David Frost gave me my first break. He backed At Last The 1948 Show. John Cleese and I were editors (smart word for researchers) of his live chat show in the mid sixties. They were brilliant. But it gave me an ulcer. We made fun of his self importance but we liked him. Still do.”
The swipes at Frost first appear on the Goodies’ agenda in the second series of the show, where he scores a mention in three separate episodes, and then periodically throughout the remaining series. In Pollution, Tim is extremely annoyed by the Ministry Of Pollution creating such a terrible mess of the environment so that they can then profit by cleaning it up again, and he picks up the phone, grumbling: "I'm going to make a complaint to the very highest authority." Graeme (shocked): "Not ..." Bill (also shocked): "... David Frost!" T (taken aback): "No, not that high ... no ... no ...!" He ends up phoning the considerably lower authority of the Prime Minister instead!
In Antiques, Tim is launching into one of his patriotic speeches because a group of rich American art dealers have had the temerity to bid astronomical prices (“One million billion trillion quintillion zillion pounds!”) to snap up a historic British artwork at Sotheby’s auction house. The fact that the portrait’s artist Velasquez is actually Spanish is lost on Tim as he castigates the Americans: "Too many times you've taken too much from us. London Bridge ... the Queen Mary ... Julie Andrews and David Frost. And we're grateful!" But not so grateful that they’re plundering the country’s art treasures, it seems.
The Goodies are running a 'Nice Person Of The Year Award' in Double Trouble, with themselves in the running against people like Liberace, Tony Blackburn, Moira Anderson, Lovelace Watkins, Hughie Green ("a bunch of creeps", according to Bill) and the unknown Dr Petal. The phone rings and Tim answers: "Hello. No, it's not too late to enter. You wish to nominate a contestant? Certainly. Could I have your name please? David what? Frist, yes. No, Frost … David Frost! (T gasps in mock amazement while B looks disgusted) And who do you wish to nominate? David Frost … that's right, yes it is super, isn't it? Yes and you're a very wonderful human being too! Yes. Byeee!" (hangs up with a disdainful look) G (gleefully setting the winning odds): David Frost! A million to one! T: "No, two million!" (with B nodding in agreement)
That Old Black Magic sees a corrupted Graeme performing some awful magic tricks in his hideout at Clapham Common, with Tim and Bill (disguised as virgins) trembling at the thought of being offered as sacrifices when Graeme ultimately summons up the devil. Following Graeme’s incantation of "Appear to us, lord of darkness, leader of lost souls, all powerful one!", Bill shrieks "No, not him!!" and Graeme's assistant opens a curtain to reveal a stage with a talk show setting of comfy-looking chairs and a table with microphones on it. As Graeme roars "See he approaches!" a Satan-like image looms at the back of stage spouting a characteristic greeting of “Hello, good evening and welcome.” to the theme music of Frost's TV show.Bill and Tim scream in terror before Witch Hazel intervenes and pits her good magic against Graeme's evil, exploding the stage set and successfully sending Frost packing with an apologetic squeak from him of "Sorry about that. Got to go now. Back in a trice. Byeee!"
Towards the end of 'For Those In Peril On The Sea', the arch-villain of the Goodies (who they had previously encountered as the Music Master in Series 2 episode 'The Stolen Musicians') reveals his true identity as "Nasty Person". He claims to be the "Napoleon of wickedness" and "The most naughty man in the world", and when Tim asks him why no-one has ever heard of him before, he claims that he is a "Master of Disguises … Sussex University!" and unveils a board that shows four of his secret identities. In the top right corner is a photo of David Frost, along with other "arch rascals" Richard Nixon, Enoch Powell and Idi Amin!
In Clown Virus, the Goodies are summoned to a nearby US military base and while waiting for Major Charles M. Cheeseburger to show up, they are astonished by the arsenal of various germ warfare missiles and nerve gas canisters that they find inside Command HQ. As well as the run-of-the-mill tear gas and laughing gas, they find stocks of Clap Gas. G (holding up a can):"Spray the enemy with this and no matter what appalling horrors he's faced with, he bursts into applause." T (disbelievingly): "Oh rubbish!" (G sprays T & B and they start clapping) B: "Good heavens, that's extremely useful. (looks at the desk) And there's a very big order here ... from David Frost!", which causes Graeme to have a chuckle as well.
The initial sequence of Scatty Safari features a tour of the Goodies Star Safari Park with a bunch of tourists madly clicking cameras at the various exhibits on show. This includes a candlestick-carrying Liberace being hunted down and tackled heavily to the ground by a pack of journalists including David Frost and Michael Parkinson, who have “got the scent of a celebrity.”
The episode Scoutrageous has Lone Scout Graeme and his partner-in-crime Bill desperate to get hold of the one last scouting badge that still eludes them - the World Domination badge. As Graeme explains to Bill, this particular badge is very rare and hard to obtain: "There's only three people that have those. That was Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar and David Frost. Mind you, Frosty pinched his!"
One of the two opening ads for Graeme’s new advertising business in Politics sees a gentleman wearing a long trenchcoat asking for help from a female ticketing officer to the reply of "I'm sorry Mr Frost, I really don't think I can.". He then flashes her and, rather impressed, she remarks "Oh, that'll do nicely" and credits his 'American Excess' card!. Later in this episode during the election coverage, guest presenter David Dimblemblm tells us: "As this is the first ever general election to have been nominated for a film and television Academy Award, we'll be going over for comments from Tony Hatch, Tommy Trinder and Mickey Most (shown sitting at a table in the studio). And we've got David Frost all the way over there in New York … so with any luck we shan't be hearing from him!"
Frost’s final Goodies send-up comes in the BBC episode Animals where Bill, as a representative of the Freedom Of Vegetables League, appears on the Rabid Frost Programme, which is hosted by a black Labrador dog. Rabid’s other guest is a rabbit, which is the leader of the Animal Revolutionary Party, and when Bill (who has already upset animal members of the studio audience by thanking Rabid for the opportunity of "eating your guest ... er, meeting your guest, sorry, sorry!") ends up making rabbit stew out of the leader while explaining that he sees the whole country as "one great big melting pot", all hell breaks loose.
In the dog-eats-dog world of satirical comedy and given the degree of verbal battering that the Goodies inflict on their other targets like Nicholas Parsons, Rolf Harris and Max Bygraves (not much!) for instance, Frost actually gets off pretty lightly despite their jibes at him still being quite amusing and an enjoyable feature of the show. It’s a pity that he never actually appeared in person as a guest on The Goodies at some stage given his own very impressive comedy and entertainment background.
David Frost - 1960s and current day photos
2/12 Double Trouble
Tim on the phone to David Frost
3/4 That Old Black Magic
Summoning the devil - "No, not him!"
3/5 For Those In Peril On The Sea
David Frost (top right) is one of Nasty Person's secret identities
5/2 Clown Virus
Clap Gas - "And there's a very big order here ... from David Frost!"
What a great article for Goodies turn Baddie, thanks Bretta. I always felt that Tim never got as much of a chance to be a loony as the other two although as you have demonstrated he did have his moments! However for me I think the ultimate Goodie goes loonie has to be Graeme in Radio Goodies
Thanks for those kind words, Wackywales! I had also felt that Tim's character was generally the most serious of the three with being the posh establishment figure while Graeme had the loony scientist persona and Bill had his violent scruffpot streak. However when it came to finding major examples of Goodies turning baddie (and loony) it was a nice surprise for me to find that Tim got to flip out every bit as much as the other two.
re goodies in love; i've always thought that whoever played mildred makepeace must have been a fantastic actress imagine being able to pretend to be able to resist Graybags without the glasses- especially as such short range (swoons thinking about it)
Regarding Nicholas Parsons as a target -- I've listened to quite a lot of Just A Minute now, and I'm ashamed to say I've grown quite charmed by him. Not because he's some sort of swoon-causing dream-come-true, though, but because he seems so...well, ditzy. His ham-handed attempts at chivalry are often so blatant that they're laughable in their clumsiness, and yet charming in a childish way. I just can't imagine that he realizes that he patronizes...in short, he seems so much like the male version of a blonde bimbo. Tim's comment of "I don't think it occurs to him that we were being rude" sums it up so well.
About the actual series of articles -- well-written, enjoyable, and all-around lovely. Looking forward to the next explorations of themes!