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Bill's Australian Tour 2013 - Articles & Interviews
Melbourne Herald Sun - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 14/05/2013


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(contributed by Brett Allender)
The following article appears in the Arts section of today's (18/6/13) Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper, though it has not been posted up on the Herald Sun website at this stage:
Goodie Oddie ready
Chris Hook
It's schtick that hasn't changed in 40 years.
Asked to say a few words for Bill Oddie ahead of his visit Down Under this month, his former Goodies cohorts Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden had just one: "Goodbye."
"I conned them into a studio to do a nice little piece because I thought it would be nice to give a message to Australia and maybe give me some encouragement and a few tips as to what I should try to do," Oddie says ahead of his trip down memory lane in Oldie But A Goodie
"Frankly, I didn't find them very helpful. I can honestly say they're both mean bastards."
There were just 76 episodes of The Goodies, filmed over 11 years from 1970-81, but it is seemingly shown nonstop on prime-time TV.
Strangely, British TV executives didn't quite see how the show, with its mesh of pop culture, zeitgeist socio-political concerns and surreal silliness could possibly be family fare. So it was relegated to a late timeslot. (ABC execs of the time, take a bow.)
"We always knew it was potentially a family show, but of course that confuses people who work in television, because they want to know exactly what the audience is," the now 71 year-old Oddie says.
"I remember being told, well, you're all undergraduates, to which we replied (putting on a posh accent), 'Well, no, we're graduates actually,' and the response was, 'Well yes, but is it that wacky student humour?' and so they wouldn't believe us."
The trio were all Cambridge University graduates who had been heavily involved with the famous Footlights Club, alongside the likes of Monty Python's John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle.
It was that experience that informed the way they went about their business. For example, the use of music.
Oddie (who co-wrote The Goodies theme song) is credited with being one of the first performers to parody rock and pop music, long before Weird Al began tweaking Michael Jackson lyrics.
"Doing a revue-type program, if you had music it would be those sophisticated witty Noel Coward-type songs," he says. "Right from the start I had this basic thing of wanting to write music that wasn't serious."
"I always put our success at Cambridge down to that because all these sophisticated undergraduates didn't want to be seen just enjoying this beefy rock and roll, but if it was satirical and they could tell themselves, 'Well, that's why we like it, because it's funny,' when they really just wanted to bop around."
"It was all about looking at what's around you."
"I bet we've all looked around separately over the years and seen what's going on, seen something in the news or on TV, and thought, 'Oh, I wish we were still going now, to do The Goodies version of that'."
Bill Oddie brings Oldie But A Goodie to The Astor, St Kilda, at 3pm on June 22. A meet and greet will be held after the show.
(The article is accompanied by two photos: Bill relaxing at home and a modern-day one of the three Goodies sitting on a couch together and all wearing Ecky Thump-style flat hats)

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