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A Collection Of Goodies Media Interviews
Graeme - Radio Times - 1976 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 27/12/2009

Index

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» Bill - Varsity 2012
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» Graeme - TV Tonight...
» Tim - Daily Mail (A...

FEATURE ARTICLE

(contributed by Lisa Manekofsky)

 

(from C&G #90  June 2003

 

The following article appeared in the 18-24 September 1976 issue of Radio Times:

 

"The Goodies On The Goodies"

   by Victoria Hainworth

 

Why, one might ask, when there are three of them, each as versatile as the other, is it always the same one who plays the woman?  Every time the Goodies are on and a woman is called for, there is Tim Brooke-Taylor playing her.  It must be something to do with his legs.

 

'No,' says Graeme Garden, dismissing the suggestion quickly, 'it's just that Bill Oddie and I write the scripts.'  He pauses.  "That, and our facial hair of course.'  He caresses his beard.  'Bill and I made sure we grew some quickly.'

 

Repartee, it becomes obvious immediately, is not restricted to "The Goodies" scripts.  Conversation with Graeme Garden hovers constantly on the borders of joke and straight professionalism.  A slight five foot ten, he is quiet and unpretentious – a disarming contrast to the frenzied lunatic of the screen.  But at any minute, you feel, he could veer off at a tangent, turning the coffee house where we are meeting into a hailstorm of cream cakes.  He resists the temptation.

 

Today he is far more excited about the project of a new "Goodies" book planned for this autumn, to be followed by their first full film and, more immediately, by the news he has just received that an American network has taken their series.  'I believe we've got quite a good review.  I haven't seen it yet.  It has taken the Americans rather a long time to make up their minds about us.'

 

In fact "The Goodies" has been taken by Eastern Educational Network, the reason being, according to the review in "Variety" Garden hadn't yet seen, that: '"The Goodies" has a free-wheeling budget, which could only emanate from a nation and public television system with an enormous sense of humour.  To the great good fortune of EEN, the lunacy herein is too rich for American commercial television…'

 

The enormous sense of humour and the lunacy are a peculiar legacy of the early 60s which has taken the Goodies from the Cambridge Footlights Revue of 1963/4, through "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" (Garden, Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor), to "Twice A Fortnight" (Garden and Oddie) in 1968, "Broaden Your Mind" (Garden and Brooke-Taylor) in 1969, and finally their own programme, "The Goodies", in 1971.  'That sense of humour,' says Garden, 'grew out of a particular three years at Oxford and Cambridge and has led on to the Python brand of humour.  I think that it arose out of a particular group of people who were together at the same time and all influenced each other.  None of us would have gone into show business if we hadn't been a group.  I couldn't say now what created that humour; all I can say is that it was a peculiar three years, and very fruitful.'

 

For all their seeming spontaneity, the Goodies' madcap adventures and jokes require months of hard work.  For the last series of 13 episodes two years ago, the Goodies (and producers, props men and costume department) spent one year of planning.  Bill and Graeme will take one week to write one episode, but that comes after one or two meetings at which all three will get together for what they call 'whittling down'.

 

'We may start off with a list of about 20 ideas for one show,' says Garden, 'but by the end of the meeting only two or three will end up going in .  That's because the rest are so rotten.' A joke?  His face is deadpan.  'From there we will spend about two days working out the plot and the joke sequences, then we'll go to the visual effects department and the props department to see if we can make the ideas work.  Sometimes it's a toss-up whether the ideas go to costumes or props.'

 

The Goodies' new series, which starts this week, calls for a Nessie-sized rubber monster, assorted wheel-chairs for assorted Hercule Poirots, the inevitable wigs and dresses for Tim, and, among all the other extraordinary paraphernalia, even the odd copy of "Radio Times" to feed to a pet cod that falls unsuspectingly into the care of Graeme Garden.  Cracks about "Radio Times" are a regular feature of the series.  Why?

 

'Well, we felt it went downhill ever since the garden shed ads stopped appearing on the back page.  So we think we should remind viewers it's the highest circulation magazine in Europe.'  Mr Garden looks up quizzically.  We are hovering again.  Is it coincidence or joke that he picked out, precisely, *garden* sheds?

 




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