» #74 Feb 2002
THE GOODIES CLARION AND GLOBE
THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF 'THE GOODIES RULE - OK' FAN CLUB
Issue No. 74 17th February 2002
Newsletter enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
General enquiries: email@example.com
'The Goodies Rule - OK!'
P.O. Box 325
Chadstone VIC 3148, AUSTRALIA
THE LADS AND LASSES OF THE C&G
- Brett Allender
- Kay Dickinson
- Lisa Manekofsky
- David Balston
FAB FEATURE WRITER
- Kay Dickinson
COOL COR COMIC REVIEWER
- Linda Kay
- - Daniel Bowen, Ian Greaves, Billie, Jodie Hunter, Michael Shaw
1. BOFFO IDEAS - Club happenings and ideas.
2. SPOTTED!!! - The latest Goodies sightings
3. 2001 AND A BIT - Tim, Graeme and Bill sightings post-Goodies.
4. FEATURE ARTICLE - An interview with Tim Brooke-Taylor – Part Two
5. GOODIES EPISODE SUMMARY - The Clown Virus.
6. GOODIES COR!! COMICS SYNOPSIS #3
1. BOFFO IDEAS
You can make it happen here. Liven up the club with a boffo idea for bob-a-job week. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your comments, ideas or suggestions - meanwhile these are the boffo ideas which our club has been working on this month:
ANYTHING, ANYTIME ...
The C&G would like to pass on a request from Ian Greaves, the editor of the SOTCAA Toothpick Companion, a corrected version of which is due back on-line very soon. For the novice it's a guide to the edits in alternative broadcasts of each episode of The Goodies, in transmission order, with loads more besides.
Ian is currently looking into a new, formalised line-up for the guide (as well as the addition of series 2) and would welcome contributions from anyone who has access to any transmissions of the series outside of the UK. He has complete UKTV 1992 transmissions of virtually all the shows, but is interested in later broadcasts particularly, in order to chart the treatment of the show in Australia over the past decade.
If you have complete copies in your private collection too, then he would welcome either a supply of information, or better still, your own entries for the Toothpick Companion. Please contact Ian at <email@example.com> if you can help.
More exciting than getting your wig-spotters badge! If you've seen the Goodies recently, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>with the details. Here's where we've Spotted!!! The Goodies this month:
THE DEFINITIVE GOODIES
(by Lisa Manekofsky)
Mentions of the Goodies turn up in the strangest places...
The following is from "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable", Sixteenth Edition (which was published in 1999). Cross references to other entries in the book have been removed from this excerpt:
"Goody. A term for any nice small thing to eat, such as a sweet or cake. Children generally say 'Goody!' as a sign of approval. In a story or film, the 'Goody' is the hero or heroine, as contrasted with the 'Baddy'. The word is also a rustic variant of goodwife and is sometimes used as a title, like Gammer as, "Goody Blake', 'Goody Dobson'. The word often occurs in the plural, so that goodies are pleasant titbits and the 'Goodies' are the good people in the story. 'The Goodies' was the collective name adopted by three comedians in the television series so titled, first shown in 1970. They were Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie. ('Goodies' actually represented letters from their surnames: Garden, brOOke and odDIE.)"
While that last sentence is certainly a creative explanation, I believe it is apocryphal. The explanation the Goodies themselves have given in several recent interviews is that after struggling to choose a name for their show they were ready to settle on "Superchaps Three". Bill hated that name and was assigned the task of coming up with something better. He said he thought of "The Goodies" while thinking of goodies vs. baddies (partially influenced by many shows that were on the air at that time with titles such as "The Avengers", "The Persuaders", "The Champions", etc.). It's an interesting coincidence that letters from the guys last names can be used to spell "Goodie", even if it's a bit of a stretch to make it work.
GOODIES TO DOWNLOAD
(from information posted to Goodies-L by Daniel Bowen on January 27th and David Balston on January 31st and additional information contributed by Billie)
An article from the Nottingham Evening Post from last November, complete with
a picture of Tim Brooke-Taylor, our illustrious GROK president Kay, and Lisa Manekofsky, is now up on Daniel Bowen's web site at:
(with thanks to Claire for the scan)
Bill Oddie's This Is Your Life was screened on Thursday 31st Jan, at 8.30pm. For those not in the UK David Balston has done a low quality Realvideo file at http://www.dmb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/billthisisyourlife56.ra
The file is 7.25MB, but David can give out higher quality files (32MB for a high quality Realvideo file) if he can upload it somewhere. For a detailed review of Bill's appearance on This Is Your Life, see Alison Bean's excellent feature article in C&G #72
RADIO TIMES ROME-ANTICS
(posted to Goodies-L by Ian Greaves on January 29th)
8-14 February 1975
[Picture : full page cartoon of Bill and Tim rock climbing down Graeme's face. Caption : 'Goody, goody, they're back. Back feature: see how they rose, see how they fall about. The Goodies, Thursday, BBC2 Colour.'
Cover Story: Ten years ago, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor left Cambridge and joined the wave of university wits, satirists and comics who had the country in paroxysms of laughter all through the 60s. At the start of a new Goodies series, Michael Wynn Jones went to see who these people are.
[Side-panel: Family Tree of Oxbridge comedy from 1961 onwards with cartoon legends of TBT, BO and GG's faces to signpost their own work.]
THE GOODS ON THE GOODIES
WHERE THE GOODIES CAME FROM
The seeds of The Goodies, like so many shows which have flickered on and off our television screens over the last ten years, were sown at those indulgent, end-of-term college entertainments at Cambridge, called (very appropriately) 'Smokers'.
You could get away with murder in those thick, smoggy atmospheres, and most people did - nor would anyone have pretended the esoteric brand of undergraduate humour had changed much from the days of Jack Hulbert to those of Prince Charles.
But in Cambridge in the early 60s, there were certain standards to be kept. After all, the satire boom was well under way, and wasn't the government and establishment reeling under the first wave of university satirists? In West End theatres you could see Peter Cook savaging Mr MacMillan, or watch David Frost on television smoothly dissecting the Profumo scandal.
You could read Christopher Brooker in Private Eye, or Jonathan Miller in The Observer insisting on the need to shout 'bloody fools' down Whitehall. Or for the really heavy stuff you squeezed into the Establishment Club to nod sagely at John Bird. Oxford had done its bit, too, by producing Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, Ned Sherrin, Richard Ingrams to name a few.
Yet when a new generation emerged with a revue called Cambridge Circus you'd have searched in vain for even the suggestion of a political innuendo. There were pin-striped City gents on a Green Line bus bursting inexplicably into a Negro spiritual, there was a robot hospital visitor and a newscaster from the Old Testament; but the nearest to social satire was Bill Oddie's immaculate take-off of a rock'n'roll singer.
"Everyone assumed that because we were undergraduates, it must be satire," recalls Bill Oddie. "But we were positively reacting *against* it." (The same thing was happening at Oxford as well, where Terry Jones and Mike Palin were even then devising embryonic Monty Python material - the now-famous Custard Pie routine and the Tennis Match.)
Cambridge Circus was an instant success, both in the West End and - in spite of its eccentric Englishness - on Broadway. Suddenly Graeme and Bill and Tim found themselves embarked on a career of comedy.
"I think I'd have been far too scared to have dreamed of doing it on my own," Tim admits. "But the Footlights" (the Cambridge revue club) "gave us a group confidence, which helped us all, I think."
And as a group they have soldiered on through several series (I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, Broaden Your Mind) infusing their own brand of humour with touches of Goonery and film-cartoon techniques.
Now and then you can detect anarchic echoes of those old 'Smoker' days - and perhaps it's these which prompted Prince Charles once to confide to Tim that while he loved Monty Python, he *adored* The Goodies.
"He also gave me one or two ideas for sketches, but I'd better not tell you them. He might want to use them one day," said Tim. "Very good they were."
"Don't mind him," added one of the others. "He's just going for his OBE!"
WHERE THE GOODIES GET TO
[Photos: Two action shots of Tim carrying the 'torch' around the Colosseum, plus four matching storyboards. Caption: 'Above: scenes from the Goodies' new series, starting this week. The boys are dauntless gladiators in Ancient Rome, believe it or not. All the visual effects for The Goodies are carefully worked out on storyboards first (see the small pictures, left).']
CHISWICK. An endless playing field that has soaked up hours of rain, a biting wind and a melancholy English sky. Alternatively…
ROME. A big signpost at the gates says so, an amphitheatre further on confirms it, Atilla The Hun gnawing hungrily at a steak-and-kidney pie proves it indubitably.
It is, I suppose, the logic of The Goodies that if all roads lead to Rome, then Rome is at the end of every road; and a sodden rugger-pitch on the north bank of the River Thames is as good a place to find it as any.
Our heroes are busy filming an episode (Rome Antics), in which they're playing dauntless gladiators (if those bloodless blue knees do not mislead me). They stand huddled round the generator for warmth. Suddenly Tim Brooke-Taylor strips off his protective layers and lurches off into the Colosseum to do battle with a fluffy sheep.
From deep in the cavern of his Roman helmet Graeme Garden indicates that the absurdity of the situation has, once again, struck him. "Grown men!" he murmurs. "You know there are times… well, we might be in the middle of a perfectly rational, serious discussion and it will suddenly dawn on the three of us that we're actually standing in the middle of a field dressed as mice or something."
He stares glumly at Tim writhing and wrestling on the ground with the mock stuffed sheep (and losing heavily), then breaks out into a chuckle. The assembled crew are laughing now, sending out ripples which draw in more spectators to this bout of lunacy. Tim extracts his matted hair from his face and shuffles back to his warm place at the generator.
"Someone laughed?" he enquired. Film crews, least of all damp ones, are rarely prone to such outbursts. "When we first started filming The Goodies, it was two weeks before one of the crew - I think he was an electrician - laughed. That really depressed us at the time, but you get used to it."
"Of course, you're always laying yourself wide open, and that's half the fun - though it still frightens me. We're always walking the knife-edge between being very funny and very silly, so when you do fall flat on your face, it is *awful*. We think in terms of a sort of human animated cartoon, which inevitably means (especially on a day like this) half the humour is technical."
"Mmm, I've never thought of myself as being funny," agreed Bill Oddie from the other side of the generator. "Only as having enough technique to do what I do. You might say, in a way, we're superior props. It wouldn't surprise me if the director's eventual idea is to replace us with dummies."
[Photos: Tim as petrified gladiator, Bill and Graeme as gladiators, plus mid-air sheep above panicking Tim. An additional two storyboards demonstrate the sheep's landing. Caption: 'You thought Ancient Roman gladiators fought with lions and tigers, didn't you? Well, the Ancient Roman Goodies fight… er, sheep. Top left, Bill and Graeme unleash the fearsome creature on to a quaking Tim (top right) - and BAM! (below)']
The fake sheep has been packed away in his crate but Freddy - the real one - is cantering off into the distance with a scrum of assistants in pursuit. He is brought down well inside the 25-yard line, to polite applause.
The rain has started to come down, and fantasy-making looks more than ever like a hard slog. The Goodies' affronts to the natural world which we take for granted on film - sheep that fly, cannon balls which boomerang - may take days to set up. "We're always writing "impossible" stunts into the scripts," Tim says, "but never without suggesting ways of doing them."
The suggestions are not always practical: producer Jim Franklin points out that "there's a team of people who actually make things happen." Even the simple matter of the sheep fight demands the combination of a real sheep, a dummy and a speeded-up film. And when Tim catches Attila's flaming bolus in his giant ice cream cone it's not because he has a good eye and a steady nerve. Just outside of camera shot is a set of steps from which the bolus is dropped.
The cast of thousands stacked in the stands of the Colosseum is painted on a sheet of glass, which is held in front of the camera. And a small-scale model of Rome cut-outs, scattered with inflammable material and photographed with a high-speed camera, becomes a realistic Rome in flames.
The rain has set in, and the Goodies have sensibly retired to the shelter of a changing room, still faintly redolent of a generation of rugger-socks and jockstraps. Tell me when you first made people laugh, I ask them. Graeme answers first:
"When I was nine, I was ever so good at falling over. I used to be invited to perform before the assembled company." But before I can ask any more, there is a knock at the door: the rain has stopped.
I leave quietly as another impossibility is being attempted. I extract my car from the melee of cycles - one of them seating no less than 15 persons - and start to make my way back to Central London.
I should be so lucky. Right and left, wherever I looked, the signposts said… ROME.
[Photo & Caption: 'The final triumph of Goodies over ovine (left): victorious gladiators Graeme and Bill hold vanquished sheep aloft.']
BILL IN THE RACE?
(by Michael Shaw)
In Auto Action (national weekly motorsport magazine), there is a column written by someone calling themself the Rev. Limiter. In this week's edition it mentions Bill Oddie when talking about celebrities for this year's Melbourne GP Celebrity Race...not as an actual entrant though. There is even a little photo of him. "The punters want proper full-blown celebrities, like Bill Oddie from The Goodies"
3. 2001 AND A BIT
If you've sighted Tim, Bill or Graeme in a post-Goodies role, e-mail <email@example.com> so that we can tell everyone where to spot a Goodie nowadays.
GRAEME THE GARDENER
(by David Balston – posted to Goodies-L on January 14th)
On a recent edition of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, Humph, made a reference about Graeme Garden's appearance on ITV1's Peak Practice, I assumed this was some kind of amusing joke but apparently it's true and he will be playing a gardener. Graeme's Peak Practice goes out on ITV1 Thursday 24th January at 9pm.
BILL'S BACK AGAIN
(by David Balston – posted to Goodies-L on January 19th)
Bill pops up on 'Holiday' Monday 28th January at 7pm on BBC1 where he returns to two of his favourite haunts on the Isles of Scilly.
Bill is also listed as the guest on 'Open House With Gloria Hunniford' both on Wednesday 30th January and Friday 1st February both at 2.20pm on Channel 5. I assume one of these is a mistake. Maybe it's to coincide with This Is Your Life. :-)
To follow up, David has uploaded a low quality RealVideo of Bill on Open House with Gloria Hunniford file to
BIRDING WAY OUT WEST
(contributed by Jodie Hunter)
TV's Bill opens birdwatching fair
Bill Oddie is opening one of the country's top birdwatching events.
He will be at the Great West Bird Fair at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Slimbridge, in Gloucestershire.
Thousands of birds are there to escape freezing temperatures across Europe.
Oddie is teaming up with TV producer and natural history author Stephen Moss to present highlights from the making of their BBC2 series, Bill Oddie Goes Wild.
He commented: "I've been visiting Slimbridge since I was a teenager, and every visit brings something different, usually something that's a bit special.
"Whether it's a rare bird sighting, or something quite ordinary, like the evening starling roost, Slimbridge always lends its own kind of magic to my time there."
Recent cold weather over northern Europe and some timely easterly winds have brought 100 Bewick's swans into Slimbridge since last weekend, doubling the numbers in and around the reserve.
Their arrival has boosted the total number to twice as many as were there this time last year.
Other birds in evidence include the many pintails, pochards, tufted ducks and other winter visitors.
As bird numbers continue to build up, the Peng Observatory overlooking the lake is expected to be a prime vantage point for Bird Fair visitors.
Story filed: 03:48 Saturday 2nd February 2002
BILL AND GRAEME SPOTTED
(by Lisa Manekofsky – posted to Goodies-L on February 6th)
A spotting from DigiGuide:
Vic Reeves Examines
Time: 04:25 to 04:55 (30 minutes long).
When: Thursday 7th February on Play UK
Vic Reeves presents his fascinating thoughts on birdwatching, with help
from Bill Oddie
And another DigiGuide listing, this time for Graeme. He's listed as being in an episode of "Masterchef". There are three sets of dates/times; I'm guessing it's just three separate airings of the same episode (someone please correct me if I'm wrong)
Time: 18:30 to 19:00 (30 minutes long).
When: Saturday 16th February on UK Food
Time: 10:00 to 10:30 (30 minutes long).
When: Sunday 17th February on UK Food
Time: 17:00 to 17:30 (30 minutes long).
When: Sunday 17th February on UK Food
Description: Loyd Grossman presents the amateur cookery contest, with special guests food writer Susann Gelmetti and writer, actor, and former Goodie Graeme Garden. With three contestants from Scotland this week battling it out in the kitchen
HOLY GRAIL DVD WITH GRAEME
(from information posted to Goodies-L by Lisa Manekofsky on February 7th and Daniel Bowen on February 8th)
The special edition DVD of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is due to be released in the UK on 4th March. As was the case with the US release from a few months ago, the UK edition will include the film's original theatrical trailer in which Graeme Garden briefly appears.
More details about the DVD are available at http://www.blackstar.co.uk/video/item/7000000068329
Before Aussies go and order it from the UK (and pay a heap of Aussie pesos to do so), it should be noted that a swarm of Monty Python releases, including the Holy Grail, are due to be released on March 26th here. It is not yet confirmed if the extra features will be the same as the Region 2 (UK) release.
4. FEATURE ARTICLE
AN INTERVIEW WITH TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR – PART TWO
(by Kay Dickinson)
Throughout the 9 series that The Goodies ran for, Graeme was always the one who could keep a straight face, no matter what was happening – Bill giggles incessantly and you could often see Tim beginning to go. "The highest praise we could get is that Bill, when he really found something funny would go like that [screws face up] and then suddenly fart! It was one of those things that obviously built up inside him, and phrrrt!! I must find it, because there is one where I'm doing the thing that's actually making him laugh and you can actually hear him out of shot! Now that's a test for anybody, if they can actually find that bit… but we used to think that that was the highest praise, if Bill farts, that's funny! So you can imagine all the West End, 'They were farting in the aisles!'
There were certain scenes throughout the shows, where Bill and Tim couldn't work together - they made one another giggle so much that they had to film at different times. "And the awful thing with giggling is that you've got all the cameramen and lighting men and sound, etc – thousands of pounds every minute and if you get to the end and giggle, you have to go again, and just the very fact that you weren't supposed to, it was, 'Now, please pull yourselves together' made you giggle twice as much. So we had to be led away…"
We then went on to Tim's rather wet, patriotic, cowardly character and he reckons that The Goodies probably stopped just in time, with regard to the image his character had, "The National Front were taking up the Union Jack and my whole idea was that I was this awful member of the establishment, aristocracy, he was a coward – I am a coward, that came easily!" People did, however, tend to think he was his character and sometimes treated him that way, "They go either way and either think that I'm very silly and no worry at all, or I really am that sort of person. I didn't like my character, I have to say, but it was fun playing it. We were all politically left of centre but for the sake of the programme, you have to have right, middle, left and it was a good thing being able to represent everybody."
The Goodies, as well as the visual, cartoon-like sequences, also tackled a lot of topical and political issues such as police brutality and racism. "I think that's why some people who only saw it when they were small assume it's all the running around, which is fine, I like the visual stuff, but that was only a part of it. The cartoons were great, I loved it, and there was one of those silly moments when, as in Roadrunner, when they run over the top of a cliff and they look down and suddenly realise they're suspended in thin air and drop. We did that with Kitten Kong and we got to the stage that we were trying to get back projection and curving wires and it got so complicated in our minds that someone said, 'well it doesn't have to be far off the floor' and Bill said, 'oh, well if it's only six feet off the floor then I don't need anything, I can just do it!' – I know how he got to that, but still, Bill, you're not going to be suspended in mid-air! But we did it! It was a miracle!"
It's a great shame that with the attitude of the BBC in the UK, we have to arrange special showings of The Goodies and can't just switch on the TV and see it all again. "I like the idea of the Police breaking in," says Tim, "This is illegal, the BBC have sent us and you can't be watching this stuff! I blame Jane Root." He has no idea why she is so opposed to the show, "I don't know. Even the people at the BBC are amazed and people that are senior to her at the BBC are amazed." The clip we showed at the beginning of the interview from Comic Relief was 85 seconds long and it seems that the BBC aren't willing to give them more than that, "That was actually edited down, too, it wasn't the full script… and it was 3.30 in the morning!"
"I hate Comic Relief anyway, I like some of it, it's just these smug comedians saying, 'I'm doing this for charity and it's just oh" [puts head in hands]
Bill and Graeme took part in a recent Comic Relief, in an 'Eastenders' spoof – Tim wasn't asked but thinks he was on tour at the time anyway, "but I would have found it quite difficult to know what to do, but because there were some quite good people around, I probably would have done it, and then said 'Oh, look at me, how smug I am!'"
We then went on to the Question and Answer session. I don't know who asked each question, so apologies for lack of namechecks, and the camera stopped with two or three questions to go, so the last few questions are recalled from memory.
The first questioner congratulated Tim on actually looking younger than him! "Well, you're a sweet talker and I love you!" said Tim. He was then asked whether there were any plans for the three Goodies to work together in the future. "There have been one or two ideas put up for radio – calling us 'The Baddies' and doing something rather similar but we've gone wrong. I'd like the three of us to work together, I don't think there probably will be, but given half a chance… I've always said that if the BBC said 'do a special' we'd do it, as old as we are now, because we always did it our actual age, and that would be fun to do, to go back and send ourselves up and do it again so yes, given half a chance. But they won't repeat us, and we're cheap, apparently!" Although, if they were doing a special with the speeded up film, Tim says, "they probably couldn't speed it up fast enough, now!"
Tim was then asked who owned the rights to The Goodies. "Very good question. We own the rights to the name and anything that shoots off from that, and funnily enough, Graeme has just had it that we now own everything on that, but the BBC own the shows, because I do know that a couple of people have actually tried to get the DVD rights – they won't release them. They won't show them, but they're hanging onto them. That's what I'm hoping, is that somebody outside will make them an offer they can't refuse!" "Could there be an independent production?" "That probably would be the answer, but if it's an independent production, it's got to go out somewhere and ideally you want the BBC behind you. Paul Jackson, the Head of Comedy, who's sadly left there now, he did The Young Ones, he put it forward 'we'll do this, we'll do it cheap' and that's when Jane Root said, 'No I don't think so'. So there are enough good people who want it to be done. The danger with me talking about it is that I begin to sound bitter. And I am! But having gone to Australia for the convention last year, it was actually fascinating because I hadn't seen the shows because we didn't have video recorders in the 70s. And so I was able to watch them more dispassionately, and I found to my embarrassment that I was roaring with laughter! I'd forgotten what a variety it was, and there are bits of film that I regret now and I feel that go on a bit too long and you feel you want to edit it – and why not? Why not do the 'Director's cuts' – they say, 'well some of it's politically incorrect' and it probably is now but that's easily cut.
Because of the climate of political correctness, a lot of what the Goodies were trying to portray now comes across as exactly the opposite, "the danger is being too politically correct and there are moments, for example in "Black and White Beauty" – it's so outrageous and it still makes me laugh because it was meant to be outrageous at the time – we've got this black and white horse and I'm the girl who owns it, "Oh he's so black and he's such a beauty, I'll call him… 'Nigger'" and you know that's not anti-anybody, it's just anti the people who will be worried about it. I know it couldn't go out now and it's a shame because that was the joke."
Similarly, Warren Mitchell's character of Alf Garnett in 'Til Death Us Do Part" was outrageously racist to try to provoke the opposite reaction in its audience, but often backfired. Tim says, "I did a character for Braden Beat, which was a very, very right-wing person and I was actually in the pub when they were showing it and I was saying these outrageous things like, 'Oh, he works like a black… erm… a slave… erm, extremely hard' and there were guys going, 'he's talking a lot of sense there' and that's when I stopped doing it because I realised that if you do the extreme and they don't laugh at that, that's quite frightening."
Tim was then asked about the special effects people that worked on The Goodies. "The special effects were like the SAS in the BBC, they could do anything. They'd meet before the filming and spend three days going through the storyboards, and we would come out with a way of doing something which would throw down the gauntlet to them 'Oh, that's pathetic, we can do much better than that!' and they did some absolutely marvellous things". The things that they couldn't do ultimately came down to cost, 'we can do that amazing effect, or we can do those three quite good effects' so you had to barter. The guy who did the sets came to us at the end of every series and said 'I've enjoyed working with you but my marriage is ruined, I'm ruined and I'm never working with you again' – and he was always first up next series. They were very special people who worked very long hours and incredibly creative and that sadly has gone now."
A question was then asked about what Tim, Bill and Graeme had worked on together before The Goodies, and Tim mentioned Cambridge Circus, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, "and then Graeme and I did a couple of series of a thing called 'Broaden Your Mind' which very much led off from the radio show and Bill came and sang songs and did bits from the radio show, and they asked us to do a third series and basically The Goodies came out from that, so yes, we were working together before the Goodies but it wasn't quite a group. Bill was asked in – and very lucky he was, too! His songs are still terrific, absolutely good fun on all levels." It was Bill's songs that got all the brilliant reviews when Cambridge Circus went to the West End and Broadway, "I get second best and John Cleese gets third, and I remember thinking at the time that John was the best thing, but it's how people perceive what's good."
The next question asked if Tim thought that the Universities now don't produce the same calibre of comedy that they used to. "The danger now is that they're expected to. When I was at University, it was a fun thing that you did but now they go to University to do it. They become mini-professionals and we were so frightened, we could hardly believe we were on stage."
The final question we have on tape asks about the rights to the LWT series. Tim doesn't know, but presumes that LWT have the rights, but as every television company gets taken over by another, he's no idea and they probably don't have the right to show it any more, "they have to get our agreement to show it, ironically!"
Other questions one that asked if there were any plans to release any more of the Goodies songs onto CD but Tim said that, as far as he knew, there weren't any plans to release them, although there had been plans to release some of the songs from the episodes that hadn't got anywhere yet, and the cover of 'Run' was mentioned.
Another question asked about a sketch in which Tim and Marty Feldman appeared about how much they could buy for a small amount of money in the "old days" and it ended up with Marty saying something along the lines of "You could go to France and back for the day, have a meal on the ferry each way, buy as much wine as you liked – all for a halfpenny and still have change". Tim remembered the sketch and said he was fairly sure it was from "At Last The 1948 Show" and had been written by him and Marty Feldman, with John Cleese and Graham Chapman also starring.
Another question asked if there was likely to be a 40th Anniversary edition of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, but Tim said that there probably wouldn't be as John isn't very keen on the idea. However, you never know…
Tim was also asked about his favourite Goodies scene, and said that he didn't really have any favourites. He said he remembered there being some episodes, like The Goodies Rule - OK? which he thought had scenes which went on a bit too long but, having seen the episode again more recently, he liked it much more than he'd remembered.
Tim then had to rush off for the matinee of Bedside Manners, but didn't leave without signing all sorts of Goodies and ISIRTA stuff for people and having his photograph taken with everyone. Our thanks go again to him for taking the time and trouble to come along and for such a funny and informative interview, and my personal thanks go to everyone who came along and especially to Claire Hobson for the Boffo Idea of the Year and to Lisa Manekofsky for helping out with equipment and the videotapes.
5. GOODIES EPISODE SUMMARY
(by Brett Allender)
THE CLOWN VIRUS
Series 5, Episode 2
First screened: 17th February 1975
The Goodies have been summoned to a nearby U.S. military base and after they pass several 'keep out' and 'danger' signs (where Bill discovers that the sign is the actual danger when it falls on his head) and see a hippy protester detonated by a missile, they are forced to sneak in past the checkpoint behind a truck. They salute a soldier (and almost scrape their noses off!) whose helmet spins around when he salutes in return and are then promptly marched off to the command headquarters. They find all sorts of nasty things there like a working model of a guided missile base where the U.S. loses to the Commies (again!) and several germ warfare bombs and nerve gases, including laughing and tear gas sprays which Graeme terrorises Bill and Tim with.
In comes Major Charles M. Cheeseburger (who swings baseball bats and sings songs of the U.S. homeland) and after considerable discussion about whether their conversation is being secretly recorded, he asks them to dispose of a canister of harmless 'Tomato Soup' (or "tomayto" in his words!). The Goodies attempt to dump the heavy canister outside the five mile limit, but have great difficulty in getting it past the water's edge, as they smash a rowboat and find that the Road Runner-inspired Acme Giant Soup Can Flipper only succeeds in squashing Graeme with the soup can or one ton weight on several occasions.
The only remaining way of getting rid of the 'tomato soup' is to drink it up, so Tim serves it up for dinner, despite it being a bright green (because the tomatoes weren't ripe), then adds red paint to it to attempt to satisfy Bill's fussiness. Graeme comes up with an idea to sell it all off to the horrible Thirtes roadhouse chain, who in turn pass it off as everything from ox tails to paraffin, but their taste of it has done them no good at all. Tim emerges from his umpteenth trip to the bog with a little red nose which gets bigger and bigger, much to the amusement of Graeme and Bill, who remark that he looks like Coco the Clown.
Graeme finally realises that they have been eating something far more dastardly than tomato soup and insists that they quickly return to the U.S. base. However by the time they get there, Tim is also covered with makeup and frizzy multi-coloured hair and Bill's pants fill with air, with him also scoring a colourful hat and bow tie. Graeme smirks at their predicament, but soon sports a made-up frown and an orange wig which springs wildly in the air at intervals and they madly race up the road to the Command HQ, where they find a top secret file (which they initially refuse to look at because it's marked 'secret'!) about 'Operation Tomato Soup'.
The soup is actually CV 70 nerve gas, which affects the skin and clothing and causes a weird compulsion to behave like a clown. Graeme tosses the papers in the air and sprays the others with soda water, which in turn causes Bill to launch into his Italian clown routine. The Major returns and is hornswaggled that they have eaten the CV 70, as there is no cure for the clown virus (which prompts heaps of blubbering from Tim), while Graeme is trying to stop Thirtes from selling it as soup only to find that they are flogging it off as petrol, which spreads the contagious fumes all over the countryside.
The Major also has a red nose and is being doused with soda water by the Goodies when a Pentagon window opens and a General congratulates him on his successful mission. The U.S.A. is ready to invade Britain to claim it as a 52nd state (and write it off as a tax loss!) and a nation of clowns will provide little resistance. The Major is awarded the Purple Heart for his achievement which can only be presented to a wounded soldier, so he is shot via a blast from a small cannon on the desk and hits the floor with a heartfelt "God bless America!" and a helmetful of confetti flying in the air.
The BBC news bulletin contains film of the opening of the three ring circus at Westminster and also worrying footage of U.S. military buildup in the Atlantic, with a special broadcast from the cigar-puffing clown-suited Prime Minister rudely interrupted when he has a custard pie splattered in his face. The U.S. troops land on the beach dancing to jazz music, but are soon confronted by the Goodies, who get the better of them as they fire blueberry pies from a spring-loaded table, jump heavily on a landmine which detonates when a U.S. soldier tiptoes on it and finally blow the Americans up with their own target seeking missile. Just when the Goodies are finally surrounded by charred and angry U.S. troops, along comes an old gentleman from the deep South in a horse drawn buggy. He demands that the slaves get along back to his plantation for cotton pickin' time and herds them along the beach wielding a whip, with them singing 'Ain't Gonna Study War No More' as they march along.
* Bill (about the Clap Gas): "And there's a very big order here ... from David Frost!"
* Major Cheeseburger (upon hearing that they ate the 'tomato soup'): "Well I'll be hornswaggled!"
Graeme: "Your personal life is no concern of ours!"
* A long haired protester sitting on the grass near the army base holding a placard with 'Stop U.S. Tests Now being blown up by a missile, with the smoke clearing to reveal the charred placard frame in the shape of a cross.
* Major Cheeseburger swearing that his conversation with the Goodies is not being secretly recorded while setting various tape reels spinning around; the most notable being the bra's on Annette Funicello's bikini on a poster on the wall. When the Major finally admits that they are being taped, the Goodies launch into an impromptu rendition of 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' with rousing applause from the Major, thanks to a blast of Clap Gas from Graeme.
* Their many and varied attempts at disposing of the canister of 'tomato soup', especially Tim riding it down a very long boat ramp, giving a captain's salute then capsizing into the drink, and the scenes straight from Road Runner where the Acme Giant Soup Can Flipper only succeeds in flattening Graeme (alias Wile.E. Coyote) on four separate occasions with either the can or the one ton weight.
* Selling the 'tomato soup' off to the notorious Thirtes roadhouses, who have a logo of a deer throwing up and advertise funeral services on their turnoff signs, with the grotty bin-rummaging cook spitting in the soup, tasting it, then spitting it out again in disgust before giving the okay signal that it is just fine for his customers!
* Their development as clowns along the way to the base, especially Bill's pants inflating to the extent that he struggles to get through the fence, Tim's shoes extending over the danger line and bringing the stop sign crashing down on Bill's head and the sight of the three of them waddling up the road to the base in full clown gear.
* The service station attendant turning into a clown after inhaling fumes from the car that he has just filled, then squirting himself in the face with his petrol pump and a cyclist turning into a clown on two unicycles after a smoke-belching truck drives past him.
* Graeme catching a live grenade and allowing it to detonate in the front of his strides which really does make his orange wig stand on end! Also Bill having his inflated pants punctured by the soldier's bayonets before climbing into a magic box which is duly bayonetted, but opens up to reveal Miss America in a glittering swimsuit.
* The blackened and furious U.S. troops advancing towards the Goodies ready to wring their necks before being told to get back to the plantations for cotton pickin' time by Ramsay Williams in his horse drawn carriage.
John Bluthal, Peter Dyneley, Corbet Woodall, Ramsay Williams
Here Come The Clowns
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
True to the theme of clowns and circuses, the lads dish up a very funny Big Top send-up of the U.S. military (and America in general) with their treatment of other topics like motorway food, Road Runner cartoons and deep south plantation owners making very amusing sideshows.
IIII Officially amazing
BLACK PUDDING RATINGS SYSTEM:
IIIII - Superstar.
IIII - Officially amazing.
III - Goody goody yum yum.
II - Fair-y punkmother.
I - Tripe on t' pikelets.
March Episode Summary – Chubby Chumps
6. GOODIES COR COMICS SYNOPSIS #3
(by Linda Kay)
20th January, 1973. No. 26
The Goodies were known for doing all their own stunts for their television series in the classic Buster Keaton style. One has to wonder what kind of masochistic tendencies inspired them to pen such incredibly physical tortures for themselves to perform before the cameras. Indeed fans shall remain forever grateful for their pained devotion to the hard-knocks school of comedy.
One benefit of appearing in the comics pages is your characters can get equally knocked around and yet no injuries will occur (except for the occasional paper cut endured by the artist). And certainly The Goodies often fared as badly physically in their cartoon versions as they did on the telly.
The third installment of the Cor!! comics was no exception. Our heroes are adequately bashed around in this particular episode, and understandably so considering its subject matter ... the
gentlemanly art of boxing. So it is we present a review of this month's thrash-fest ... er, comic.
Header: BE ON GUARD FOR FUN ... BILL BECOMES A BOXER!
The Goodies are riding their trandem along a rural road. Bill is sitting at the back, not pedaling but reading a newspaper.
BILL: Hey, fellas ... this newspaper asks the question ... when will a British boxer become world heavy weight boxing champ again? Cor! Bet *I* could be heavy weight champ with a bit of training!
Graeme pushes Bill off the back of the trandem and Bill starts running after them as they pedal away.
GRAEME: Great idea! We'll train YOU! You can start your road work right NOW!
TIM: See you back at the training camp!
Graeme and Tim are at a gym fighting over a sweater with the word TRAINER across the front, each pulling on one arm.
TIM: Leggo, I'm going to be the trainer!
GRAEME: You Leggo! I knitted it!
Having apparently resolved their differences, they are both seen wearing the sweater (at the same time!). Bill approaches the two-headed trainer with a jump rope.
GRAEME: Right! We'll BOTH be trainer! Ready to start, champ?
BILL: Yes! I found a skipping rope outside!
Bill starts skipping rope, reciting out loud a skipping rhyme, but he inadvertently stomps down on a floorboard, the other end springing up and flipping Graeme and Tim into the air.
BILL: Salt ... mustard ... vinegar . . !
Graeme and Tim land roughly on a punch ball, which sticks up through the sweater and ends up situated between their heads.
BILL: . . . pepper!
Tim and Graeme watch with surprise as a little girl in pigtails and spectacles comes running in and grabs her jump rope from Bill, delivering a sound blow to his stomach as she does so.
GIRL: OY! That's my rope ... gimme!
Undaunted, Bill turns his attention to the punch ball, apparently not noticing Tim and Graeme are still attached to it and he pummels them.
BILL: I'll do some punch-ball bashing now!
TIM: OW! Hit the one in the middle! Better still ... do some shadow boxing first!
Bill turns his attention to the wall where he sees his shadow, leaving Tim and Graeme dazed and pained on the floor under the punch ball (which is now wearing the Trainer sweater alone).
BILL: Shadow boxing? Good idea ...!
Bill is startled as his shadow runs away from him along the wall.
BILL: HEY! I must be good! My shadow's scared stiff! He's run off! Now what do I do?
Graeme produces a can of black spray paint and begins squirting Tim in the face while Bill runs around throwing punches to the air (even a mouse is running for cover at this point!).
GRAEME: Make you another 'shadow' with this aerosol paint, that's what!
Painted black, Tim is wearing boxing gloves but is hardly any match for Bill's enthusiastic punches.
Bill continues to pummel poor Tim (who's being knocked right out of his shoes!) as Graeme heads for the door.
GRAEME: You're getting better. But you need real ring training now! I'll go and find you a SPARRING PARTNER!
SOON ... THE GOODIE CAME UP WITH THE GOODS ...
Graeme returns to the gym (which now has a boxing ring in the middle) leading a rather ratty- looking kangaroo wearing boxing gloves (it also has a patch on his fur and a zip on its pouch). Bill looks somewhat unsure and surprised. Tim is knocked out on the floor (only his feet are visible in the panel).
GRAEME: Look, champ! I've got you a sparring partner! Borrowed him from the local circus!
Bill and the kangaroo get into the boxing ring as Graeme and Tim (still black) watch from below.
BILL: An Aussie! Put 'em up, cobber!
Bill gets in one good punch and the kangaroo holds its nose in pain.
BILL: HEY! I got him with a left hook! I'm the greatest!
KANGAROO'S THOUGHT BALLOON: Stone the flymin' crows that hurt, sport!
A baby kangaroo pops out of the pouch and nails Bill with a gloved punch to the stomach.
KANGAROO'S THOUGHT BALLOON: Phew! Good on yer, son!
Tim and Graeme push Bill into the massage room (ominously labeled on the door with a skull and crossbones ... and it's best not to think about what the surgical-looking tools are doing on a nearby table).
GRAEME: That was a lucky punch . . . get on to the table I'll give you a massage!
Bill lays on his stomach on the massage table as Graeme begins pummeling his back (even the legs of the massage table are buckling under the abuse).
GRAEME: I'll soon knock you into shape! Then you'll be ready for the big time champ!
BILL: OOOOOH! AAAAGH! EEEEE!
Suddenly a promoter in a loud suit and derby hat rushes in to the room waving a contract and a pen.
PROMOTER: He's ready now! Sign this contract! You've got a great future!
BILL: I've made it! When's my first appearance in the ring!
CAME THE NIGHT ...
At the boxing arena a man is making an introduction to a large crowd. We see The Goodies in the ring with screaming fans in the seats all around. Tim is playing some exercise springs like a bass, Bill is laying on the massage table and clashing cymbals in his hands while kicking at a drumkit with his feet, and Graeme is playing Bill's back with his massage chops.
TIM: That chap wasn't a boxing promoter . . . he was a pop festival organiser! Now we're a pop group not a 'BOP' group!
BILL: OOH! OOH! OOH!
FAN IN CROWD: Grab that great new sound!
Sign-Off Line: YOU CAN BE SURE THE GOODIES WILL BOX CLEVER AGAIN NEXT WEEK!
RATING (using the BLACK PUDDING RATING SYSTEM):
III - Goody Goody Yum Yum.
This episode has some interesting artwork (very unlike any of the other strips in the series, as Bill's hair is drawn notably lighter than usual) and some cute ideas but suffers from a slightly weak plot and less than stellar dialogue that would be under par for the series (not to mention a bit of poor punctuation!). It's never quite clear where they are training, although one must assume it is an actual gym since a boxing ring is present. It would make sense if they converted their offices into a gym, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Their motivation for undertaking Bill's boxing training is a bit unclear, as no mention of potential financial gain is ever introduced.
But these are minor points . . . on the whole the story flows nicely and some cute boxing gags are utilized. The Goodies had touched upon the world of boxing (via ballroom dancing) some two years earlier to better effect, of course, but this venture into the world of pugilism was undoubtedly less painful for them, at least.
To view these strips online, you can now visit this page:
We'll post the currently reviewed issue plus the two previous issues for latecomers.
NEXT C&G EDITION: #75: - 12th March 2002.
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