» 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 #25
GOODIES TARGETS: EDDIE WARING
Edward Marsden "Eddie" Waring was born in Yorkshire, England in 1910 and died in 1986. After an early career as a journalist, he became manager of his local rugby league team in Dewsbury and while travelling with Great Britain's post-war rugby team to Australia and the USA, he became convinced that the televising of rugby matches would be vital for the long-term future of the sport. Having previously unsuccessfully pitched the idea of rugby league TV coverage to the BBC, Waring persevered and was given the opportunity to broadcast matches when the BBC did finally began to televise them – a role which he continued in for several decades until the early 1980s.
Waring had a very distinctive commentary style with his gregarious nature and a heavy Northern accent and dialect peppered with notable catchphrases (such as "He's goin' for an early bath" when a player was sent off ), which was ripe for impersonation by various comedians during the 1960s. These included a pre-Goodies Graeme Garden, who started to hone his Eddie Waring impressions in several sketches of the classic BBC radio comedy 'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again' in the late 1960's; with Graeme exaggerating Waring's accent and delivery speed to such an extent that his speech became almost incomprehensible, yet still very funny.
In addition to his rugby commentator's role in the early 1970s, Waring also became a presenter on the TV game show 'It's a Knockout' and acted as the UK's umpiring representative for the show's European incarnation: 'Jeux Sans Frontieres'. Each of these three TV roles of Waring's became perfect cannon fodder for the Goodies to target at the time and the most enjoyable aspect of this was that – like Tony Blackburn in the same era – Waring was happy enough to send himself up and appear in person in two Goodies episodes to get in on the jokes.
The first mention of Eddie Waring in 'The Goodies' comes in Series 3 episode 'That Old Black Magic' where Graeme is mesmerised after a whack on the head with a mallet from Bill. Witch Hazel's attempts to use Graeme as a medium to summon the spirits of famous historical figures such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Attila the Hun only produces a series of farm animal noises from Graeme, but Bill has more luck when he asks Graeme to take on the identities of various radio and TV personalities, such as Eamonn Andrews ("And tonight Witch Hazel, this is your life!") and Walter Gabriel ("Ello me old beauty!"). After Bill's command of "Take Tony Blackburn" has Tim pleading with him to "Please ... take Tony Blackburn!" before Graeme can get a word out, Bill says "Take Eddie Waring" and Graeme launches into a lengthy spiel (starting with "Well, Hull Kingston Rovers had a good game ...", but soon degenerating into a stream of gibberish) that continues unabated until Bill finally gives him a further blow on the head with the mallet to shut him up.
The Series 4 special 'Goodies & the Beanstalk' sees the first guest appearance of Eddie Waring on the show and as Tim notes on the commentary track of the DVD, "He was very good at sending himself up after all those years of Graeme doing impersonations of him." The Goodies have entered as the British team in 'Jeux Sans Frontieres', which is hosted all the way from the "little foothills town" of Kathmandu, Nepal by Waring and fellow guest star, referee Arthur Ellis (who has to fight off a turban-clad Nepalese broadcaster in a battle of clipboards). In his inimitable style, Waring enthusiastically announces that "Cricklewood's playing the Joker" (a large card that features the face of then-PM Edward Heath) and that the Goodies face challenges from Italy (the Spaghetti Brothers) and Germany (Hans, Bors and Boopsidaisy from the town of Backbreaken). He also keenly explains the rules for the "panto-land"- themed games that the teams must undertake, which include donning a pantomime cow outfit, waking the sleeping princess, clearing a pool containing 26 piranhas by rope (while "killer lad" Man Friday – who Waring gushingly declares has previously undergone a rugby selection trial for Wigan - pelts them with coconuts from Robinson Crusoe's island) and scaling the butter-coated beanstalk while all roped together on their way to the top of Mount Everest. The first team to return and burst all of the balloons will be declared the winner and will receive a medicine glass-sized trophy (at "great expense" to the Nepal Television Company!) and 5000 puppies as a bonus.
Waring maintains a merry commentary as the competition gets underway, with him noting that the Spaghetti Brothers are "all good friends really, y'know" just before they shoot each other dead, saying "they'll enjoy that, these lads" about the Goodies having to wake up the sleeping princess (while also urging Bill to "give her a kiss … that's the idea!") and trotting out a signature "Well, there's Germany takin' the early bath" as the three Germans tumble into the pool of piranhas after Tim has thrown the rope out of their reach. Waring's commentary ceases once the Goodies climb the initial buttered section of the beanstalk; however he picks it up again at the end ("Well what a great effort by the British lads. All they've gotta do to win is bust the balloons and they've done it!") only for the giant to crash to the ground inside the balloon pit after Graeme shrivels up the beanstalk with weedkiller and burst all of the balloons in his annoyance. Waring excitedly announces "And it's the winner!" and ambles over to present the giant with first prize (despite the vehement protests to referee Arthur by the Goodies) and he catches a large golden egg which drops from a giant goose above; then gently shoves the giant aside with a rugby block and gleefully trots off on a weaving run to the try line between two flags, where he plants the golden egg on the ground and punches the air with glee.
In Series 4 episode 'The Race', Graeme is trying to enter the Goodies in another race over the phone; but he is having trouble conversing with the French race organiser. Graeme follows up a stream of French gibberish with "yes, we are foreign" and states that "We are the Goodies. Le Bon Bon" (only for Bill to indignantly grumble "That's the Sweeties!"); then dramatically states in fractured French that they represent "Grande Brittania". After a stunned silent pause at the other end of the phone, Graeme continues with "Grande Brittania! No ... avec la football, la roast beef, Her Majesty La Queen, It's A Knockout, Eddie Waring ... (upon which he launches into a babbling impersonation, frustrated) ... yeah, that Grande Brittania!" At least the mere mention of Waring, along with a quick burst of Maurice Chevalier ultimately helps the Goodies to enter the Le Mans 24 Hour Race for motor cars, despite them not having a car and not being licensed to drive one either.
Series 5 episode "Chubby Chumps" sees Graeme promptly take up a new job as BBC Radio DJ after the previous DJ Terry is sacked for calling his core audience of housewives "fat old bats" while still on air and true to form, it doesn't take long for his megalomania to kick in once he realises that he is in a position of power. Graeme has great delight in taking over the cobweb-riddled BBC Radio headquarters and turning it into the "Trendy BBC", which allows him to reel off a brilliant string of impersonations (with a quick change of hat or appearance for each one) in an inspired burst of power-crazed lunacy (with a mad roar of "Power! Power!" at the end for good measure).
Amid rattling off impressions of the cast of 'The Archers' (most notably Walter Gabriel - "Oh deaaar, oh deaaar"), Emperor Caligula (a hairy-chested, impatient send-up of DJ Emperor Rosko), Jimmy Savile ("clunk, click, aaahaaa!"), Tony Blackburn as a ventriloquist's dummy ("You only like gugglegum music, Tony m'boy?!") and Alan "Fluff" Freeman ("Hi there pop pickers …") in quick succession, Graeme goes "over to the Wigan studio for news of today's Rugby League Cup semi-final". He then shows great delight as he dons a pork pie hat, tilts his head to one side and has a big smirking grin on his face while he takes off Eddie Waring (uttering a heap of barely decipherable babble with a notable "And that's all you're gettin'!" at the end) after which he says in his normal voice "We'll bring you the result of this match as soon as we can find an interpreter!" Meanwhile housewife Tim is happily listening to the broadcast on his trusty transistor radio and remarks "See, they didn't give Graeme a job. I knew they wouldn't!" and Bill's protest of "That's him, you fool! Graeme's doing all the voices." only draws a reply of "Don't be silly. That was Eddie!" from naïve little Timbellina.
'The Goodies Rule - OK' special at the end of Series 5 is the second episode that features Eddie Waring as a guest star and his moments of glory come in the underground 'joke-easy' where Graeme is charged with the unenviable responsibility of reminding all of the former entertainers how to do their acts after a long period in the wilderness under the now-overthrown repressive, fun-hating Standing Party government. Graeme has all of the old entertainers lined up, only to find that they have forgotten how to do their voices (despite his expertly-mimicked reminders) and he tries in vain to coax the likes of Tommy Cooper ("Just like that ... just like that!"), Rolf Harris ("Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport"), Kojak ("Terrific, pussycat") and Jimmy Savile ("Ow's about that then!") into doing their old routines, only for them to stuff them up. The best one by far though is where Eddie Waring in his guest role stands up and launches into a Tommy Cooper routine, only to be told firmly by Graeme that his effort is "Pathetic, come on do your (babbled commentary about Hull Kingston Rovers), work at it, work at it!", only for Eddie to then come back with a silly Frankie Howerd-like "Ladies and gentlemen, I am flabbergasted. Never has my flabber been so gasted!" and for a disgusted Graeme to push him aside and keep walking along the line of entertainers.
A little later when Graeme is just about to give up after going right along the line of entertainers without any of them doing their old act properly, he hears a northern-accented voice pipe up off-screen with "Ey'up, hang on a minute … "I've remembered how to do it." Graeme yells with relief "At last! One of you has actually got it right.", only to find that it is Patrick Moore speaking in Eddie Waring's voice: "If you train your telescope on the western sky tonight, you'll see ... Hull Kingston Rovers who had a terrific win over Rochdale Hornets with a couple of magnificent tries … not a bad lot there, Rochdale, but a few early baths for some of the lads after a little bit of nonsense!" Graeme then walks away disgusted as Moore continues chattering away in the background with Waring's rugby commentary.
Waring's next namecheck doesn't occur until the final episode of Series 7, 'Earthanasia', in which the following exchange takes place between Graeme and Bill as they contemplate that there is only 25 minutes left until the end of the world and want to fill in their final moments doing something interesting:
Graeme: "But I've done everything. I mean, I'm not a creature of the flesh like you. I'm a loony scientist and I've done it all! Giant kittens ... monster cods ... Eddie Waring impressions ... !"
(does a babbling impersonation of Eddie)
Bill (looks at his watch impatiently): "Ten seconds, that took!"
Graeme (lamenting): "It's not so easy for me!"
The final mention of Eddie Waring in 'The Goodies' comes in the Series 8 opener, 'Politics', where in a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, we are treated to a lengthy impersonation of Eddie by an ever-grinning Graeme in a special edition of the gameshow 'Guerres Sans Frontiers'. The teams consist of either the Prime Minister or President from six European nations (Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain and Britain) and they compete for the ultimate prize of "six points and the domination of Europe" and although Britain's coalition of Timita and Che is handicapped by having a leg tied together each as in a three-legged race, they do manage to "play the Joker" (a card of MP Cyril Smith) at the start. "Eddie" explains that the competitors must carry a large piece of cake through an obstacle course of barbed wire and heavy machine-gun fire, then "climb the butter mountain while the tanks try to slow them down a bit by blowing their heads off!", cross the wine lake with its greasy poles, navigate the minefield, scale the Berlin Wall and activate a nuclear attack (as a dolly model hostess sets one off accidentally during the demo!), with the winners being the first team to burst all of the balloons at the finish.
"Eddie" commentates on the action relentlessly with a sprinkling of distinctive expressions made famous by the real Eddie (though it's perhaps not Graeme's funniest takeoff, as it's relatively easy to understand what he is actually saying!) and his spring-loaded dummy sidekick Stuart unleashes his cackling 'Blackpool sailor' laugh at frequent intervals as the contest gets underway. Timita and Che trail badly right from the start due to their lack of mobility and eventually come to grief in the wine lake (being forced to drink it dry with large straws so that they can eventually escape). In a rather sozzled state, Che and Timita step on a landmine and are blown over the top of the Berlin Wall and into the lead, much to the chagrin of the other competitors (who have all been looking back and laughing at their boozy antics in the wine lake). Although Timita and Che drunkenly manage to pop all of the balloons (to the inspiring and patriotic strains of 'Land Of Hope And Glory'), they turn around to find that everyone else has long finished and gone home (with Germany taking the ultimate prize from France). Great Britain receives just one point for finishing last and "Eddie" has great delight in telling Timita and Che "Don't worry, you may not have won the contest, but you do get a booby prize" - the return of Margaret Thatcher on an aeroplane, much to the hysterical chuckling of Stuart.
Sadly it was around this time that Waring's health started to deteriorate markedly and although the BBC retained him as their main rugby commentator, his popularity with the public was fading as it became more evident that he was struggling to identify players out on the field. Waring did his last commentary of a final for the BBC in 1981 and retired soon afterwards; from which point his health worsened quickly and he was diagnosed with dementia before passing away in 1986.
At least the combination of his two excellent guest appearances and Graeme's numerous funny send-ups of him gives us Goodies fans plenty of great memories of Eddie Waring, plus his contribution to the sport of rugby league over a period of several decades is a legacy to be admired and respected.
Eddie Waring at the rugby
3/4 That Old Black Magic
Graeme is possessed by Eddie Waring
Special Goodies and the Beanstalk
Eddie introduces the teams in Jeux Sans Frontieres
Eddie presents the giant with his trophy
Eddie celebrates a try with the golden egg
4/6 The Race
Graeme impersonates Eddie to the French race organiser
5/3 Chubby Chumps
"Eddie" gives the rugby report at BBC Radio
Special The Goodies Rule - OK
Graeme tries to remind Eddie how to do the voice properly
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am flabbergasted ..."
Graeme is not impressed!
Graeme has already done everything ... including Eddie impressions!
Graeme as Eddie hosting Guerres Sans Frontieres
"Eddie" with Britain's joint Prime Ministers Che and Timita