» Introduction & Index
» 1 Lemon Sherbet
» 2 Newsreaders
» 3 Targets: Max & Des
» 4. Goodies Turning ...
» 5. Beanz Ads
» 6. Targets: Nichola...
» 7. Goodies In Love
» 8. The Trandem
» 9. Targets: Tony Bl...
» 10. Inventions
» 11. Tim In Drag
» 12. Targets - David...
» 13. Bill's Outfits
» 14. Live Music
» 15. Targets: Mary &...
» 16. Goodies Relatives
» 17. Tim's Patriotic...
» 18. Targets: Rolf H...
» 19. Bill & Graeme i...
» 20. Sports & Games
» 21. Targets: Lionel...
» 22. Guest Stars: Pa...
» 23. Graeme's Computer
» 24. Monty Python Re...
» 25. Targets: Eddie ...
» 26. Memorable Animals
» 27. Foreigners
» 28. Targets: The Ra...
» 29. Graeme falling ...
» 30. Targets - Royal...
» 31. Tim Crying
» 32. Baddies & Villa...
» 33. Targets: Ken Ru...
» 34. Quick Change Ca...
» 35. Goodies Deaths
A COLLECTION OF GOODIES THEMES #15
(from C&G 170 – January 2010)
GOODIES TARGETS – MARY WHITEHOUSE & VANESSA REDGRAVE
Although the majority of the Goodies favourite targets for sending up are male (like Max Bygraves, Nicholas Parsons and Tony Blackburn … not much!), some of the prominent ladies of the era aren't spared from the satire of the show by any means. This article looks at The Goodies stirring of two such ladies who both had very high public profiles at the time, were extremely passionate and highly opinionated about their chosen causes and didn't suffer fools gladly; especially fools who dared to hold an opposing viewpoint - Mary Whitehouse and Vanessa Redgrave.
Mary Whitehouse was born Constance Mary Hutcheson in Warwickshire, England, in 1910 and died in 2001. After completing school, she undertook teacher training and became an art teacher before marrying Ernest Whitehouse and raising her family of five sons, two of whom (twins) died in infancy. She later returned to teaching in the early 1960s, teaching sex education to her students (perhaps surprisingly), and it was at this point that she became shocked at the attitude of young people towards moral issues and at the role that the media played in fuelling this decline in moral standards by allowing programs containing excessive violence and sexual content to be screened during family viewing hours.
She first began her campaign against the British media, most notably the BBC, in 1963, becoming the founder and first president of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, which is now known as mediawatch-uk. With her strong Christian beliefs she was involved with the Nationwide Festival Of Light and she also invoked a number of litigations upon theatrical productions and publications that she found offensive, however it was her Clean Up TV campaign that gave her the greatest public prominence and forced the media bosses and the governments of the day to at least pay some heed to her views.
Whitehouse's main targets of outrage on the TV screen included Benny Hill, Dave Allen and Doctor Who, however strangely enough it was her approval of the first series of The Goodies in 1970 that made her into a target for the superchaps three. Tim Brooke-Taylor takes up the story in a past interview with the Goodies Clarion & Globe: "The most painful moments of our lives was when, at the party at the end of the first series, our producer stood up and read out a telegram from Mary Whitehouse congratulating us on making a good, clean show, or words to that effect. We were deeply ashamed and never made the same mistake again. She was a very bad influence on British TV and I certainly hope the episode upset her."
The episode which Tim is referring to is "Gender Education" (aka "Sex And Violence") from Series 2 in 1971 where guest star Beryl Reid does a brilliant job playing Mrs Desiree Carthorse; a wickedly funny send-up of Mary Whitehouse with extremely conservative and prudish views towards anything even remotely titillating on television, such as "close-ups of (BBC newsreader) Robert Dougall's lips!", and a propensity to spell out or gesture words and letters that she finds too offensive to use in polite conversation.
In "Gender Education", Tim and Graeme are relaxing in their office listening to the gramophone when they become aware that they are being spied on by a frumpy old lady. She introduces herself as Mrs Desiree Carthorse of the 'Keep Filth Off Television' campaign and offers them a job. Mrs.C: "I can only entrust this job to someone with a responsible attitude towards watching television." G (puzzled): "But we weren't watching television!" Mrs C (firmly): "That is what *I* call a responsible attitude!" … "I mean, I don't find you reading dirty books, looking at filthy television programs and playing around with girls. You are obviously ..."
Graeme (ruefully): "Unlucky!" Tim: " Unlucky ... (rapidly changes tune) no, no, we're pure, pure ...!"
Tim and Graeme make the claim that the Goodies are "as pure as the driven snow", but Bill enters the office at this point in a rather buoyant mood after an evening at the pictures. He is keen to tell the others about the racy film that he has just been watching ("Torrid Nudes Of Grope City!"), forcing Graeme and Tim to desperately attempt to shield the vivid details from Mrs Carthorse in case she becomes offended and withdraws her job offer to them. After they frantically clean up Bill's movie summary to make it sound like a "wildlife film" about "birds with big wings that nest in door knockers", a bemused Bill wonders what on earth they are talking about.
G: "Bill, this is Mrs Desiree Carthorse of the Keep Filth Off Television campaign." B (disbelievingly): "You're pulling my leg!" Mrs C: (gasps in horror) "I never thought I'd hear a gentleman like you use a disgusting word like l-e-g!" B (astonished): "You're right, it is her, isn't it?!" Mrs Carthorse tells them that she is appalled that the BBC have decided to make a sex education film for schoolchildren, "and as I can modestly claim to be the most powerful person in the field of television, if not the world, I've decided to make the beastly film myself!" Or more precisely, she wants the Goodies to make the film on her behalf using the script that she has written called "How To Make Babies By Doing Dirty Things"! Mrs Carthorse issues strict instructions there is to be no mention of the word "s-e-(hand gesture indicating an "x")", but immediately after she leaves the room, Bill grumbles "How are we supposed to make a film like that without mentioning sex!", only for an irate Mrs Carthorse to reappear and spray him with a mighty blast of air freshener before stalking out again.
The Goodies stick carefully to the script and produce the film which features all of the characters and props, including flowers, chocolates and even the birds and the bees, covered in sterile white sheets. Graeme has to cover his eyes and sheepishly point to the "rude bits" of a sheet-clad man and woman, with the ensuing narration of "Now we all know about the rude bits. Aren't they rude! And as we grow up, they get ruder and ruder!", and then even the image of the man and lady holding hands is covered with a 'censored' sign as they are sitting together on a bed.
Mrs Carthorse sits down to watch the film, but only gets as far as the opening credits before shrieking for it to be turned off and that she is "deeply deeply shocked", to Bill's incredulous riposte of "Already?! You can't be!". Because the credits label it as "A BBC Gender Education Film", Mrs Carthorse is outraged because "you know as well as I do that g-e-n-d-e-r and s-e-("x" hand gesture) mean the same thing!" … B: "You mean you're gonna condemn that film without even seeing it?!" Mrs C: "Why should I change the habit of a lifetime!" … B" We were only showing the facts of life." Mrs C: "If I had my way, nobody would know the facts of life until they were over sixty and by then it would be too late for them to do anything about it!" B: "Hey, Mrs Carthorse! It is *Mrs* Carthorse, isn't it ?" Mrs C: "Yes." B (inquisitively): "What does your husband do ?" Mrs C (huffily): "He keeps his distance!" (followed by a shot of Bill looking totally gobsmacked!)
In no time at all the Goodies name is mud with the general public but they eventually manage to redeem themselves by appearing on a BBC current affairs program disguised as outspoken backbench MP Sir Reginald Wheelbarrow (after clobbering the real Sir Reggie with a giant lollipop during the MP's school recess-like afternoon break). The current affairs presenter initially describes the Goodies gender education film (which he hasn't personally viewed either) as "Obscene, dirty, squalid, scabrous, salacious, lewd, randy, rude, outrageous, lubricious ... and a bit off!", but soon changes his tune after "Sir Reginald" has given it his personal seal of approval. The presenter is even quite happy when he realises that he has been tricked by the Goodies, offering them a job to make some really nasty violent TV shows that the BBC can sneakily screen while the Keep Filth Off TV brigade are looking out for sexy shows instead.
Bill is more than happy to oblige and soon becomes totally corrupted while churning out some of the most unbelievably brutal and gory TV shows imaginable. Mrs Carthorse returns to the Goodies office and threatens to "kick up a h-e-l-l of a s-t-i-n-k" over the TV violence that she thinks that all of the Goodies are responsible for, only to be told to "Belt up, you silly old c-o-w!" by a frustrated Tim. Mrs Carthorse accompanies Tim and Graeme on the trandem to Bill's filming set (with crosses of black tape on her glasses so that she can't see Bill's gory scenes and props), but her outrage at Bill ("Young man, you are wicked and evil! I never thought I'd …") is soon quelled when Bill says: "Shoosh, shoosh, come here, c'mon, come a bit closer, c'mon ... Knickers!" Mrs C: "Oooooh!" (collapses in shock) T (also shocked): "You've killed her!" B (dismissively): "Yes, good!!"
After Bill is eventually reined in (though not before managing to blow up the entire BBC first!), he sits in the Goodies office in a very bored state with white glasses on so that he doesn't see anything that might corrupt him again. Seeing as there is no BBC television coverage (and "ITV being so clean"), Tim is doing some knitting while Graeme is threatening to do his Rolf Harris impersonation on the banjo, as Mrs Carthorse calls in to congratulate them for "(striking) a mighty blow to rid this evil world of violence and dirty things!" She continues: "Well there is actually one other little thing you could do to help me." T&B (warily): "Oh, yes?!" Mrs C: "Well you see, normally I spend the whole evening switching off my television set and now I've got nothing to do and I'm rather bored. What do people do when they have nothing to watch?" B (incredulously): "Whaddya think they do? (produces a telescope) Have a look through there, go on, have a look!" Mrs Carthorse sees two lovebirds in red hot action through the telescope and produces a horrified shriek, then trots off down the street continually shaking her fist and yelling "Stop it! Stop it!", while the Goodies relieve their own boredom with the company of three very pretty girls – strictly for a game of chess though!
After this particular episode was broadcast, the Goodies fervently hoped that it would draw a complaint from Mary Whitehouse, however it must have aired on one of the nights that she was switching her TV off like Mrs Carthorse did (as indeed the eye-popping, jaw-dropping "Playgirl Club" episode in Series 1 surely must have as well!), for there was no public response from her at the time. Redemption for the Goodies would finally come almost a further decade down the track when they were promptly summoned to the BBC Program Manager's office and told that a furious telegram of complaint had been received from Mary Whitehouse regarding the "Saturday Night Grease" episode. Apparently she had blown a gasket over the large carrot motif on the front of Tim's undies in the opening sequence where he is getting dressed to head out disco dancing, describing it as a blatant phallic symbol!
The Goodies were quietly delighted that they had finally managed to attract an official complaint from her, although a little puzzled that it took so long given that they had deliberately set out to offend her several series beforehand and also that they had a number of other personal digs at her in various Goodies episodes in the years since then.
In "Goodies In The Nick", the Goodies have taken over their own courtroom trial with Bill replacing Justice Once as the presiding judge; however things go pear-shaped when Bill gets a little power-mad from his new-found status. After dishing out 10-year sentences to Tim and Graeme and 15 years for the former judge, Bill then engages in an auction-style bidding war until the closing credits intervene: "... 30 (years) for Edward Heath, 40 for Mary Whitehouse"
B: "Any advance on 50 for Mary Whitehouse!"
B: "I have 60 for Mary Whitehouse!"
T: "69! ... "
B: "69 for Mary Whitehouse!"
The ecclesiastical rugby tournament in "Wacky Wales" features a team representing the Festival Of Light which has Mary Whitehouse playing as the hooker and gently waddling the length of the field for a try, with none of the opposing Nasturcian Monks game enough to lay a tackle on her. Teammate Lord Longford then runs in and gives her a congratulatory hug and kiss, only to get his face firmly slapped for his trouble. Mary's stiff-armed tackle and subsequent kicking of Brother Ignatius causes him to break his vow of silence by mouthing what looks very much like "You f...ing old bitch!" in her direction, before she gets sent off for rough play and suspended for the semi-final.
At the start of the punk newsreader's obscenity-laced news broadcast in "Punky Business", he states: "Alright, here's the [bleep] news.(spits) At today's Festival Of Light rally, Lord Longford made a [bleep] statement on the moral decline of this [toot toot] country. In support of this, Mary [honk] Whitehouse called for less [cuckoo/beep]. What a [squelch]! …" before going on to report about the futile campaign of "Mr Tim Brooke [cuckoo]" on behalf of the League Of Shiny Shoe Wearers to maintain standards and keep Britain's shoes shiny.
Vanessa Redgrave was born in London in 1937 and has been a prolific actress in stage, film and television productions over a fifty year period, winning Emmy and Tony awards and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Julia" in 1977, along with multiple other Oscar nominations. Redgrave has also been a notable activist for various human rights causes and her Trotskyist political leanings have even seen her run for the UK parliament twice as a member of the Worker's Revolutionary Party. It was no doubt the combination of her ubiquitous presence in the public eye, prominent social activism and left-wing political agitating during the late 1970s that put her squarely in the sights of the Goodies as someone who was ripe for sending up in the latter series of the show.
In the Series 6 episode "Hype Pressure", loony film director Tim has decided to revive World War 2, and in Graeme's words: "He certainly goes for realism", cueing Lancaster bombers, doodlebugs and vast numbers of troops, including all of Britain's armed forces who have all been hired as extras. Amid the wreckage of the Goodies' office, Graeme decides that there's only one way to combat a loony director … and that's with another one, so he gets on the phone immediately: "Hello, get me Ken Russell ... He's doing what?! ... Oh, lucky old Vanessa, but what a waste of carrots!" Hmm, kinda kinky, but it's whatever turns you on, I guess! Then during the following action sequence, replacement loony director Bill (masquerading as Ken Russell) succeeds in scaring off the forces storming the beach by bellowing "Cue Vanessa Redgrave!", who appears wearing a nun's habit and lopes towards the terrified troops, promptly repelling them back out to sea again!
The very next episode "Daylight Robbery On The Orient Express" also takes a pot shot at Redgrave in the sequence where the Goodies imposters have hijacked the train and taken it to the Cannes Festival Of Le Boring. The announcer states that the French team including Charles Aznovoice, John Paul Satire and Sasha Disgrace will be hard to beat for the legendary Rose Bore, and then casts an eye over the British hopefuls: "Britain's hopes are pinned on their entries for the Men's Solo Boring, that's Clement Freud and John Peel; the Women's Solo Boring, Vanessa Redgrave, and in the Formation Event we've put in a male voice choir from Wales; Land of a Thousand Boyces and we should see some fine traditional Welsh boring from them … and from London, of course, the entire House Of Lords."
In "Punky Business", Bill decides that he's going to go punk (G: "Mind if I open a window?") and that the Little Laddies need a name change to suit their new image. Having changed his own name to Willie Snot and the group's name to "Willie Snot and the Bogies" (G (chuckling): "That'll get right up their noses!"), Bill asks Graeme what his own nasty new punk stage name will be. Graeme initially suggests "Sweaty Socks", but a less-than-impressed Bill exhorts "C'mon, think of something universally objectionable!" G: "Vanessa Redgrave?!" B (suitably impressed): "Perfect! Perfect! I'll be Willie Snot, you be Vanessa Redgrave …" and then it's on to the difficult task of finding a universally objectionable name for Tim, which turns out to be his own name anyway!
The "Politics" episode sees the Goodies (and Bill in particular) taking great delight in parodying Redgrave's leftist political leanings and her campaigns for Parliament as a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party (W.R.P). Tim has already entered ad-man Graeme's office dressed as Margaret Thatcher and has requested that Graeme sell his new image to the nation as the next Prime Minister, though he is revolted by the thought that he would have to shake hands with grotty, scruffy, common workers during his campaigning. Workers just like Bill, as a matter of fact, who enters Graeme's office at this point wearing a long-haired wig, glasses, a brown jacket and dress, and stumbling along on a pair of stilts. G (puzzled): "Bill?!" B: "Oh no … Vanessa. Kindly address me as Vanessa." G (still puzzled): "Vanessa?!" B: "Yeah, that's right. I am the leader of The Worker's Revolutionary Party (points to the badge on his jacket) … not just *A* Worker's Revolutionary Party; but *THE* Worker's Revolutionary Party!" T (unimpressed with the acronym): "TWERP!" G: "Fair enough!" T: "You don't look a bit like Vanessa Redgrave!" B (indignantly): "Oh yes I do! A bit … that bit (bares his knee) and that bit (grabs his hair) … just haven't got the height for it, that's all!" G: "You're nothing like Vanessa. You don't make a very good woman!" B: "Well neither does she! (grins) G: "Vanessa Redgrave does *not* have a beard!" B: "She would if she could! Anyway the fact remains, I'm standing against you, with difficulty I admit (ad-libbing brilliantly as he almost topples off his stilts!), but still, I want you, Graeme, to sell me to the nation."
After Tim (as Maggie) has presented his policies to Graeme for a nicer Britain with a cull of workers, abolition of the National Health Service, shiny shoes, Union Jack waistcoats and lots of spanking ("You know it makes sense!"), Bill (as Vanessa) outlines his own ideas for running the country which include selling the Queen to Disneyland, disbanding the army and buying a white flag, abolishing all things posh (especially ties), making at least one film a year with Jane Fonda and getting the chance to turn down an Oscar. Understandably Graeme nods off in boredom while listening to these campaign speeches and he replies to Bill's forceful point that "the whole point of planning a campaign is to talk politics!" with a wary "Well I don't think you've got that right! No, puts them right off. If you want to get into Parliament, I should steer well clear of politics!". Tim soon catches on to Graeme's spiel that getting elected has everything to do with image and very little to do with actual policies, but Bill is appalled; grumbling "This cynical display of manipulative marketeering sickens and disgusts me! I'm going to retire from serious political life. I'm gonna burn my stilts!" Bill stalks out in a huff but is then back half an hour later in the guise of another notable left-winger Che, who has a veritable smorgasbord of possible punny surnames including Kitallabout and Monyou, causing Graeme to bluntly state "Che no more!"
Che no more indeed! There's not too much else to "Che" actually, only that The Goodies had a good time making fun of both Vanessa Redgrave and Mary Whitehouse, and it was somewhat ironic that they finally managed to ruffle Mary's feathers unintentionally after not succeeding (at least publicly) with their deliberate attempt to rile her so many years and episodes beforehand.
A latter-day photo of Mary Whitehouse
7.4 Punky Business
News footage of Mary Whitehouse from the 1970s
2/11 Gender Education
Beryl Reid as Mrs Desiree Carthorse
"Birds with big wings ...!" - some hasty cover-up work
"Not a mention of S-E-(X)"!
The Goodies Gender Education film
Bill saying "Knickers!" to Mrs Carthorse
"Stop it! Stop it! ..."
4/5 Goodies In The Nick
Judge Bill sentencing Mary Whitehouse auction-style
5/4 Wacky Wales
Mary the hooker heading for a try against the monks
Cop that, Lord Longford!
Sinking the boots into Brother Ignatius
Brother Ignatius breaks his vow of silence with some rather unholy language!
A latter day photo of Vanessa Redgrave
6/3 Daylight Robbery On The Orient Express
Footage of Vanessa Redgrave from the 1970s that is used to
show her supposedly boring for Britain
6/2 Hype Pressure
Vanessa the nun repelling the invading forces
Bill as Vanessa (on stilts to achieve some extra height!)
*The* Workers Revolutionary Party ... TWERP!