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(from Second Tour C&G November 2005)
SUNDAY TIMES (PERTH) - 13TH NOVEMBER)
(contributed by Vanessa Pusey)
Oh Goodie, they're here.
by Kane Young
The Goodies are coming for you and you and you, and you and you and you ... or at least two of them are, anyway. Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden are in Perth as part of their first touring show, The Goodies Still Alive On Stage. The third Goodie, Bill Oddie, will make an appearance via satellite because of filming commitments with the BBC in London.
Still Alive On Stage premiered in March to sell-out crowds. It recalls the best bits from the classic 1970s BBC TV series, a smorgasbord of special effects, giant props, camera tricks and slapstick comedy.
During 77 episodes, The Goodies - Graeme the intellectual, Tim the royalist and Bill the revolutionary - battled a giant kitten, climbed a beanstalk up Mt Everest, set up a radio station under the sea, represented Britain in the Winter Olympics at the North Pole, and beat each other senseless with black puddings.
In Still Alive On Stage, Garden and Brooke-Taylor reminisce about the series, show clips that were originally banned in Australia, explain how sketches were shot, answer questions from the audience and sing the Funky Gibbon.
"It's sort of a celebration, based around us answering questions," Brooke-Taylor says. "There are always questions people want to know, so we try to answer them - whether seriously or not depends on the question."
In their heyday, The Goodies took very little seriously, including their own TV show. "All we were really trying to do was make ourselves laugh," Brooke-Taylor says. "That was the thing we learnt very early on: Don't try to double-guess the audience. Try to write something that makes you laugh and then hope someone else will find it funny as well."
Despite, or maybe because of, their rampant silliness, Brooke-Taylor and his fellow Goodies enjoyed successful careers after the TV show finished in 1981. But they are still best known, specially in Australia, as The Goodies.
While the days of doing their own stunts are long gone, Brooke-Taylor says The Goodies will keep making people laugh as long as they are physically able to.
[with 2 photos - one of the Goodies in their "Funky Gibbon" overalls from the 1970s and a current photo of Bill, Graeme and Tim together.]
GOODIE GOODIE GUMDROPS
Monday, 21 November 2005
Presenter: Joseph Thomsen
[photo of The Goodies]
Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke Taylor in Sydney in March this year as part of the Goodies 2005 tour.
The Goodies are back in Australia minus one. Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke Taylor are currently in the country for the Goodies 2005 tour.
Although he makes a special non appearance in the show, the Goodies are without Bill Oddie for the current tour. However there will be mention of the unofficial fourth Goodie, the famous three-seater trandem.
"We hated that bike! We hated it with a loathing, it was the most painful experience we ever had" says Tim Brooke Taylor.
"It was a nasty thing," adds Graeme Garden.
"We found we could usually do about 20 or 30 yards before the chain went.. we used to complain about it, then three guys rode across Africa on it, and that slightly disproved out theory" says Tim
Graeme adds, "We had several of them made, I think about three altogether. The first one Bill just sat on like a bit of luggage; nothing changed over the years, he didn't have pedals so he was just dead weight and that threw the whole thing out of balance it was terrible. The later ones he got to pedal, and that was a little bit easier but not much. We did a special for the BBC for this Christmas, which was a first after 25 years. They got one of the trandems in the studio for us but they said you are not allowed to ride it because we can't insure you. I wish they had found that out a little bit earlier."
"One of them (trandems) turned up for this studio thing and it was the wrong colour so it had to be painted quickly so it was painted red because as Graeme pointed out 'when we bled you couldn't see it' basically.. we bled a lot."
Graeme says the Goodies happened by accident "We met at Cambridge, but we had no idea of doing the Goodies then. The Goodies came out of a show that Tim and I were doing with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman.. we all worked together on various programs and it just sort of fell out that Tim and I were doing one together called 'Broaden your mind' we did two series, then Bill came and joined us in the second series, and the third series we just looked around and thought everybody is doing sketches at the moment.. so we thought let's do the silly comedy that you do in the three minute sketch and stretch it into thirty minutes and the BBC said yes, alright."
Tim says he was surprised the BBC gave them the nod because the pitch wasn't the best, when asked what they had planned they said, "Well there are three guys and they will do anything, anytime, anywhere, that's it! It was very nice of them to take it on I wouldn't have bought it."
"We used to sit round at the beginning of the series as if we were doing a current affairs program. We would have a list of all the things going on at that time, serious, stupid, whatever! Then we would normally get three or four of those and knit them together."
Both Goodies agree that is the ageless appeal that has kept the Goodies a household favourite.
"The audiences have been amazing and the ones we chat to have been so enthusiastic, all different generations.. the secret has been to start early then the whole family can watch it.. we literally have three generations watching" says Tim.
It became such a part of a lot of children's childhood; they are the generation who are now in their early 30's with kids of their own. even though it was not made for kids, children love the falling about and the slapstick, they enjoyed it. It was always a show that families could watch together, that was quite good you know, if the parent found the kids watching the Goodies they didn't say stop watching that rubbish, they said go and tell your Gran" adds Graeme.
THE ADVERTISER (ADELAIDE) -
(contributed by Lisa Manekofsky)
* An article in "The Advertiser" talks about the Goodies tour; the club even gets a passing mention. Unfortunately they also repeat the false rumour that Tim appeared in Heinz commercials as a child.
Here's the article, from http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17366783%255E2682,00.html
Ecky-thump - at last, it's Goodie Goodie yum yum
THEY even came with cans of Heinz baked beans - Goodies fans young and old lined the Dymocks book store in Jetty Rd, Glenelg, yesterday for DVD and T-shirt signings.
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden had flown into town for two nights of The Goodies: Still Live on Stage at Her Majesty's Theatre, featuring skits, anecdotes and the third Goodie, Bill Oddie, on a video screen from Britain.
"I've been dying to come to Adelaide," said Brooke-Taylor, now in his 60s.
"It's been a very nice reaction, but we knew it was going to be good here.
"A - because we haven't been before and B - because The Goodies fan club is based here, on the website. It started in Adelaide, about 10 years ago."
Asked to explain the enduring popularity of the 1970s British comedy, Brooke-Taylor recalled being initially appalled at the 6 o'clock screening time on the ABC in Australia. It ran at night in the UK.
"But in fact it's the best thing that's ever happened because people have grown up with it," he said.
"Then they get older and they realise there's another level to it, so they enjoy it more than they did.
"So we're lucky."
Tickets are still available through BASS for tonight's show, a new four-disc DVD has been released for Christmas and The Goodies will screen on pay-TV's UK-TV channel at 3.15pm, weekdays, from December 5.
As for those baked beans?
As a child Brooke-Taylor starred in the original Beanz Meanz Heinz advertisements, which he duly sent up with parodies of the ads on The Goodies.
Owen, 9, and his sister Ramona, 7, have been watching The Goodies on video since they were two. "They're just real funny," said Owen.
"It's the first comedy they ever watched," said their mother, Belinda Brown, who is also a Goodies fan.
* Footnote: Eee bah goom - in Episode 42, Kung Fu Kapers, Bill reveals he is an expert in the ancient Lancashire martial art of Ecky-Thump.
THE CAIRNS POST - (1st DECEMBER)
(contributed by Alison Bean)
Do the Funky Gibbon by Niki Bruce
If you grew up during the '70s and '80s there was no way you missed your daily dose of the Goodies. Every day thousands of kids would switch to the ABC for irreverent British humour. Niki Bruce chatted with
Graeme Garden and enjoyed every minute.
The Goodies are coming to Cairns and everyone is excited. Our favourite comedians - Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie - are currently on their The Goodies Still Alive on Stage tour; although Bill appears only as a digital image since he's got filming commitments with the BBC.
This show gives Australians outside the capital cities an opportunity to hang out with the funny guys and check out The Goodies' own favourite bits of their history. And Australia is still in love with The Goodies' particular brand of laughs, says Graeme Garden - the 'serious' Goodie. "We've been welcomed with warmth and affection," says Graeme.
The Goodies evolved from an idea that developed from the show Broaden Your Mind, that the three comedic partners worked on. It was "another sketch show", explains Graeme, saying that they wanted to do something different in the "crowded market" of comedy sketch shows. "We wanted to have the same silly feeling of those shows, but a different structure. We came up with the idea of 'anything, anytime, anywhere' and took it to the BBC - in those days the BBC would take a chance with anything," he chuckles.
Graeme, Tim and Bill were all at university together, along with John Cleese surprisingly enough. "We were a 'giggle' of comedians," Graeme jokes. Interestingly Graeme was actually at university studying medicine and he did qualify, although he never practised. "I loved working in radio and television - even doing it as a hobby would have been great," he says. After so many years in the entertainment industry, Graeme says the most surprising thing about the changes he's seen is that good quality comedy is still being made.
"There's a little bit more of it being run by accountants," he jokes, "but there's a terrific amount of good stuff around - despite those accountants." Graeme is also still excited to be working. He and Tim Brooke-Taylor have a regular radio show in the UK that's been going for "30 years or so". As a solo performer Graeme has, ironically, made about 50 medical films, some with John Cleese. He's also written for various shows and television programs.
The BBC is currently making a two-hour documentary that will follow the 25 years of The Goodies. While on the subject of the past, Graeme laughs when telling the story of The Goodies' famous three-seat bike. "BBC 2 did a documentary on us a while back and they found the bike and brought it out. But we couldn't get on it. They hadn't been able to insure us if we rode that bike!" he laughs.
Graeme has fond memories of all The Goodies' shows and says there are "lots of bits to like". "We did get into trouble with the South African show. The BBC wouldn't let it be broadcast - they thought it was 'quite edgy'." Some of these "edgy" bits will be star attractions at The Goodies Still Alive and On Stage tour; alongside insights and reminiscences, sketches and tall tales. And there will definitely be a live performance of The Funky Gibbon.
ABC NEWS WEBSITE - (7TH DECEMBER)
(contributed by Liz Headland & Lisa Manekofsky)
The Goodies: health and safety nightmare?
Reporter: Kim Lester
Presenter: Jenny Swan
A three-seater bicycle, an office on wheels and repeated blows to the head: a recipe for a classic comedy or a health and safety nightmare?
It was just another day on the job for Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, the men behind popular 70s sitcom The Goodies.
But could those stunts - from throwing themselves over small cliffs to acrobatics on a bike suspended ten feet above the ground - be performed with today's occupational health and safety standards?
Graeme recalls how little care they took when performing stunts.
"We were very stupid, quite often we didn't do sensible things like put padding on," he said.
"Of course you don't just fall over, you fall over eight times until they get the shot right."
"I don't think they would allow us to do the show today," Tim added.
"I've just done an animated series, just doing a voiceover, and they sent me a risk assessment form."
Tim and Graeme were travelling across Australia with a new version of the Goodies stage show, still aLive on Stage.
Third man on the bicycle, Bill Oddie, was unavoidably detained by his current career as a BBC wildlife presenter, but took part through pre-recorded video inserts.
The Goodies say the best thing about touring Australia is being remembered by generations of fans, many who grew up watching the show then found a new meaning to the humour through endless ABC TV re-runs.
"We've had grandmother, mother, and grandson or granddaughter and all celebrate it together," Tim says.
"I think that's actually rather great if the whole family can genuinely enjoy it." Because we were doing a lot of silly things we were able to get away with a lot of other things...
Graeme credits the comedy's success throughout the last four decades to the different element of humour for different age groups.
"It was the kids who liked the silliness, and I think the parents enjoyed the fact that there was a little bit more meat to it," he said.
"The audiences that we see now, a lot of them are in their thirties."
The Goodies has been described as a lot of silliness and the "kids version of Monty Python", but the comedy trio also gained a reputation for anti-establishment leanings.
"There was a very left wing paper in England which quoted how very anti-establishment we were, and we said Shush! Shush!," Tim says.
"Because we were doing a lot of silly things we were able to get away with a lot of other things.
"Every now and then the BBC would realise it, but very rarely, and quite a lot of it was censored by the ABC."
"We probably did set out just to be silly and make ourselves laugh, and hopefully that would make a lot of other people laugh," Graeme added.
"But because we opted to make it different to other sketch shows and we opted for the 30 minute storyline, we realised we had to have a story about something and the easiest thing to write a story about is something that's in the news and that everybody's talking about already."
Issues the Goodies covered such diverse ground as South African apartheid, sexism and racism, the Eurovision song contest and Rolf Harris.
Some of these links may be to sites outside the ABC and as such the ABC has no editorial control over such sites.
The Goodies Rule - OK!
The website of the offical Goodies fan club, based in Australia.
While Tim and Graeme were meeting their Australian fans Bill was in Britain presenting this interactive natural history show, which is similar to the ABC's Wildwatch.