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A Collection Of Goodies Media Interviews
Goodies - Deadpan - 1994 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 27/12/2009


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(contributed by Marilyn Burge)


(from C&G #77  May 2002)


From "Deadpan" magazine No 7  October 1994




Goodie Goodie Yum Yum!  You just can't get more 70s than The Goodies.  Giant kittens, runaway Dougals, Ecky Thump hats - it was nuts.  And with the BBC finally releasing their shows on video, still oddly funny.  Graeme Kay reports.


The Goodies shot Tony Blackburn.  They pioneered "spoof" adverts.  They ran a pirate radio station that had only one record.  They saved London from being destroyed by a giant white kitten called Kong. [it was actually Twinkle - Ed]  Tim Brooke-Taylor even once married Prince Charles.  And they had what seemed to be the best job in the world; being stupid as stupid as anyone could be on prime time TV.


But while The Goodies may be forever locked in their nutzoid 70s world, the three protagonists are stubbornly still around, living their real lives.  And at this very moment Graeme Garden (cue boffin with jam jar glasses and funky sideburns) and Bill Oddie (cue chubby little groover with beard, loon pants and fringed suede jacket) are ensconced in the luxurious comfort of London's Langham Hotel.  Garden now resembles the medical consultant he might've become had comedy not got in the way but Oddie still looks like a little groover, only with shorter greyer hair and beard and John Lennon glasses.


For the next couple of days they'll be doing press interviews to support the video release of six of The Goodies' finest half hours, namely Kitten Kong, Scatty Safari, Scoutrageous, The Goodies And The Beanstalk, The End and Bunfight At The OK Tea Rooms.


And where is the missing man?  Mr Patriotic Shiny Shoes himself, Tim Brooke-Taylor?  Rehearsing for a play actually, though we'll get his thoughts on the phone later.


As befits their past, the two are easily, happily goaded into reminiscing.  Currently they are recalling show number 58, aka Dodonuts.  "That programme," says the million miles a minute Oddie, "was all about why Dodos became extinct and one of the things we had to do was teach a dodo how to fly.  So we had two models built with the bird sitting in a bi-plane dressed in full flying gear.  Anyway the idea was that eventually the plane would have to crash and it was gonna be a one take job.  So the FX people built this big plane and they were so proud of it that they wanted us to see it in action.  Initially we said no, just save it for the take.  But the FX guys insisted.  So we said OK and the plane went up and it was circling around nicely but when he pressed the button to send it into a dive the whole thing just exploded. Ooops!"


As the ebullient Oddie collapses into a fit of laughter at the memory, the quietly spoken Garden takes the opportunity to get a word in edgeways.  "Subsequently," he adds, we had to contract out some of the extra modelling.  Unfortunately the guy who got the job must have misheard what we were asking for because instead of a Dodo we got a dildo in an aeroplane!"


Bill Oddie first met Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden when the three of them, plus John Cleese and Graham Chapman, worked together in the Cambridge Circus revue of 1963.  Later on they collaborated on the radio series I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again and Brooke-Taylor and Garden's TV show Broaden Your Mind.  It was at the end of that show's second run in 1970 that the idea of The Goodies (under the working title SuperChaps 3) was first mooted.


"Originally," explains Garden, the BBC wanted to commission a third series of Broaden Your Mind.  But by that time Do Not Adjust Your Set and Python had started experimenting with what was called broken comedy, that is sketches with slightly surreal endings to them and we thought that the only way to improve Broaden... was to go in that same direction.  But it seemed kind of pointless to be in direct competition with them so we thought, 'Well let's use the same kind of humour but extend it into a half hour storyline...'"


"Really," continues Oddie, "it was an attempt to do something new.  There was no point in going down that same avenue of heavily verbal broken comedy that Python were doing so well.  So we went to the opposite extreme by doing things that were very visual and related to cartoons and silent comedy.  And I'm bound to say that by doing that I think we created the people who hated us as well.  I think that was related to the fact that in a sense what we were doing was a much more naïve type of comedy which sort of had a kids programme stigma attached to it and when the hip students of the time realised that their younger brothers and sisters were watching us, they stopped.  Our theory as to why, after twenty four years, the BBC are finally releasing the videos now is that the generation who wouldn't be seen dead watching The Goodies because their younger brothers liked it, were in charge until a couple of years ago.  But then the generation who were the younger brothers took charge and they liked it."


"On reflection I think the title might've been a bit soppy... but then again there was a plus side to it in that we were looking for a sort of poppy Monkees feel in which the music was an important element, but to a point I always regretted the title because it fed that sort of It's-A-Kids-Programme-And-I'm-Not-Watching-It-Element."


In spite of all this, The Goodies' first two series gain strong enough followings to sustain them for seven more seasons and six specials between 1972 and 1982.  During that time they won the Silver Rose at the Montreux TV Festival, picked up a similarly coloured disc for sales of their album, had five top thirty singles, three best selling books (The Goodies File, Book Of Criminal Records and Disaster Movie) and on one occasion found themselves voted Britain's top comedy show ahead of Morecambe & Wise and The Two Ronnies by the readers of The Sun.  Indeed such was their success that there was even a phone call from Steven Spielberg's secretary saying that the old ET-er wanted to work with them.  sadly it came to naught.


Remembering the first two runs of the show, Oddie says, "the early set-up was very clichéd and ran along the lines of 'Here's an agency and they'll do anything, anytime, any place.'  Which thereby raised the question, What do they do and who hires them?  So to start with we always had a big name guest star who would help us to solve a problem.  But that was the joke, the person who came in was always much more famous than any of us were and we'd just sort of end up standing around while they got all the best lines.  We did at least two series like that and then we thought that's wrong for whatever the reasons and it started getting better after that."


"For me," says Brooke-Taylor later, "the turning point came in about 1973.  From then on there's a confidence that comes into both the writing and performing.  That main difference was that instead of having a guest as a villain it was one of us who went mad and that of course was much more fun because it allowed us to play different characters.  I was usually the loony, patriotic, cowardly almost female person."


Which, it seems, was not a character that Brooke-Taylor was entirely comfortable with.  "I hated him,", he hisses, "I mean I obviously have some similarities in that I'm cowardly and patriotic but only in the way that most normal people are.  Not fanatically so."


But he didn't dislike the character so much that he tried to change him.  "No," he concedes, "because the strength of the show was that we represented all of the political parties.  I was the Tory, Graeme was the Liberal and Bill was the Socialist.  And that was a useful kind of shorthand because when you got the story you automatically knew, unless one of us went mad, what the attitude of each person was going to be."


Unlikely as it may seem The Goodies actually had a political edge.  So much so that in one edition of the left wing journal Tribune it was pointed out that while Monty Python could be seen in South Africa, The Goodies couldn't.


As an obviously proud Oddie points out, "To most non-Goodies fans we were seen as completely harmless but if you look a little closer you'll see that we often dealt with slightly contentious subjects and we actually got censored more times than Python.  I remember at least three things but the big one was probably the South African Adventure.  Whether the BBC were censoring it for the right reasons I don't know.  We actually had a row with them about it because they said something like we were being too harsh on the white South Africans."


"We had one really bad, vicious Afrikaans policeman who was using black people as target practice.  He was an awful character, a real monster, which is what we intended, but at the time we were actually told something like you're being too harsh and it's not funny.  So we called their bluff and reshot some of the scenes and we put in more apartheid jokes and surprisingly they let it go.  When I saw it the other day I thought it was a classic case of those things where even though the jokes were so violently anti-prejudiced they could easily be taken the other way, y'know like Til Death Do Us Part.  There's no way you could do that programme today because to do it we had to take on the role of rampant racists and use pretty dreadful racist language as well.


Which must have come as something of shock to Mary Whitehouse who after the end of the first series had written to the lads praising them for their "wonderful clean comedy".  This unexpected and unwanted commendation was, according to Brooke-Taylor, "our most shaming moment.  From then on we went out of our way to upset her."


Something they finally achieved in 1980 with the opening sequence to Saturday Night Grease.  A shot by shot take off of Saturday Night Fever it featured Brooke-Taylor as John Travolta stripping down to an exceedingly tight pair of underpants with a carrot motif on the front.  All of which proved too much for Mrs W who immediately fired off a letter of complaint saying that The Goodies were "too sexually orientated."


It was about this time that the love affair between The Goodies and the BBC began to wane.  As Brooke-Taylor explains it, "Basically we got frustrated by the BBC.  It was a time when they were a bit short of funds and they hadn't got any money to take risks and with us it wasn't so much that we were expensive but we tended to monopolise the visual effects department.  Unfortunately at that time visual effects were completely tied up with Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, so they kept putting us off and eventually we got an offer from ITV which was worth a lot of money.  To be honest I seriously didn't want to go, but Bill and Graeme were a bit short of cash so we did."


Unfortunately the switch over to The Other Side wasn't a great success.  "ITV," continues Brooke-Taylor, "didn't know where to put us.  So we ended up in the 5.30 slot on a Saturday night which we all thought was ludicrous."  And that was it.  After only one series and one Christmas special for LWT The Goodies were no more.


Gone but not forgotten.  The launch of satellite TV in the late 1980s rescued the threesome from complete obscurity and through the auspices of Sky, BSB and most recently UK Gold they have found a whole new generation of fans.  Indeed judging by what Brooke-Taylor says The Goodies are about to become hip once again.


"I've caught my two sons aged 23 and 24 watching episodes with their friends and recently one of them rang me from Bristol Poly to ask me if it was alright for someone to use the theme music because Goodies sounds like Good E's as in Ecstasy.  So I think we could become trendy any minute now.  The awful thing is the lyrics are all about taking 'a trip to paradise' and 'whatever turns you on' and in the first programme Bill started having hallucinations after sucking on a Sherbet Dip."


Brooke-Taylor denies though that The Goodies were ever involved with anything stronger than an aspirin.  "I don't think," he laughs, "we ever realised we were such a drug infested programme."


The Goodies: Kitten Kong and The Goodies And The Beanstalk are released by BBC Video on 5th September.




In addition to the main article, the following information is also featured in separate boxes:




The 'Trandem' was bought in 1984 by Hugh Spowers from an auction of BBC props.  in 198(obscured) Hugo's brother Rory rode it from South Africa to London in aid of the African Medical Research Organisation  Last year Rory and Bill Oddie saddled up and rode from the mouth of the River Ganges in the Bay Of Bengal to its source in the Himalayas.  The whole thing was filmed for television and Rory wrote a book about it called Three Men On A Bike which will be out next year.




1. CAR  The one where the car in classic style is filled up with petrol and then goes on to drive and drive until it approaches a paper banner which says 50,000 miles on it.  But instead of driving through the banner the car crashes into it and is completely written off.  The joke being that the advert was actually for extra strong paper



Never broadcast.  It was censored a) because the girl did such a convincing blow job on the flake and b) she was leaning against a fountain and the more she sucked on the chocolate the more the fountain began to spurt.  Apparently this was considered suggestive and wouldn't do at all.



Remember the campaign which ran around the slogan Beanz Meanz Heinz?  "Well," says Garden, "we were always taking the piss out of that.  What would happen was Tim would play the sweet faced little boy who couldn't get it right and each time he got it wrong the producer would get more violent slapping him and pelting him with beans.  Eventually it ended up with Tim having the barrel of a tank pressed up against his forehead."



"We did a great take off of those 'Will you swap your old powder for 200,000 pounds and a packet of Daz' ads" explains Oddie.  "Basically what would happen was Tim would dress up as an old lady and Graeme would ask her to swap.  When she refused he would belt her one with the packet of powder, the message being that some people are too stupid to see a good thing even when it hits them in the face."



There was a famous ad in the 70s where this very suave and sophisticated guy lit up a pipe of St Bruno, the aroma of which drove all the women in the immediate vicinity wild with desire.  So they start chasing him down to a gate which his big burly minder closes until the guy decides which of the girls he wants to have.  Only in The Goodies version the guy gets off with the minder instead.





December 1974 'The Inbetweenies' reached no. 7

March 1975 'Funky Gibbon no. 4

June 1975 'Black Pudding Bertha' no. 19

September 1975 'Wild Thing' no. 21

December 1975 'Make A Daft Noise For Christmas' no. 20



Nov 1975 'The New Goodies LP' no. 25




GRAEME - The Goodies And The Beanstalk

BILL - U Friend Or UFO

TIM - The End




Perhaps The Goodies' finest moment was goofing around on Top Of The Pops imploring a nation to scratch their armpits and do the Funky Gibbon.  So, one more time ...



We're the Goodies, how do you do

We've just been down to the zoo

We saw a monkey in a cage

Doin' a dance that could be the rage

It's not hard, so let's all do

The funky gibbon, ooh ooh ooh



Do do do the funky gibbon

We are here to show you how

Ooh ooh ooh, the funky gibbon

It's just like you, so come on and do, the funky gibbon now



Dogs are always howling

Cats are always yowling

Gibbons only like to sing and dance

You be like that monkey

Get a little funky

And in a while start to smile

Gibbon half a chance


G the world would be good

I know how nice it could

B with just a little gibbon and take

B just like that gibbon

O you fool the rhythm

N your groove, dress up to the planet of the apes


[Spoken interlude]

Now everybody get ready to do the funky gibbon

Drop one arm down by your knee

Let the other arm reach up to the trees

Let your wrist go limp like a bent baboon

And get ready to sing this gibbon tune



Do do do the funky gibbon

We are here to show you how

Ooh ooh ooh, the funky gibbon

It's just like you, so come on and do, the funky gibbon now


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