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A Collection Of Goodies Media Interviews
Goodies - Cult Times - 2003 - Print Email PDF 
Posted by bretta 27/12/2009

Index

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» Tim - The Express M...
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» Graeme - Guardian M...
» Tim - Hull Daily Ma...
» Graeme - Scotsman A...
» Graeme - Mature Tim...
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» Bill - Sunday Star ...
» Graeme - Time Out S...
» Goodies - Daily Mai...
» Bill - Bristol Even...
» Graeme - Best Briti...
» Tim - Telegraph Int...
» Graeme - Cotswold L...
» Bill - Daily Mail 2...
» Bill - Varsity 2012
» Graeme - The Age (T...
» Graeme - TV Tonight...
» Tim - Daily Mail (A...

FEATURE ARTICLE

(contributed by Kristen Allender)

 

(from C&G #96  December 2003)

 

ALL TO THE GOODIE

 

("Cult Times" - May 2003.  by Paul Spragg.)

 

For a decade, the insanity of The Goodies reigned supreme.  Now they're back on DVD for a new audience, how do Graeme, Tim and Bill feel about their work on the show?

 

From 1970 to 1981, TV was given a welcome shot in the arm near the funny bone by three men who claimed they could do 'anything, anytime.'  Their names: Bill, Tim and Graeme, going under the collective title of The Goodies.  Constantly finding themselves in the most ludicrous situations, these three men provided some of comedy's most memorable images, yet until now there's been no chance to appreciate their work due to the lack of a repeat run.  This month the first Goodies DVD appears on shelves, and Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden were more than happy to discuss a much-loved period in their lives.

 

"Looking back, it was great fun to do, it was a great opportunity we had, and it gave us lots of opportunities afterwards to carry on with various other things.  And it's rather touching that enough people remember it to bring it out on DVD and hopefully relive those happy days", begins Graeme.  Tim agrees, saying his feelings are of "Warm affection.  The odd thing is, for many years we never saw them again.  I enjoyed them more than I did at the time; that's partly because at the time all you're noticing is what you didn't do right or could have done better, but, to my embarrassment, I burst out laughing because I'd forgotten what was done.  So the original surprise was back again.  That's not saying everything is brilliant; sometimes we're lucky..."

 

The three encountered each other in the environs of Oxford and Cambridge during their educational years, which they shared with many of the Monty Python gang.  "It's a bit like bands, I always think.," ponders Bill.  "It's like when someone leaves Led Zeppelin and goes to somebody else.  Tim, for example, was in At Last The 1948 Show with Graham Chapman and John Cleese and Marty Feldman.  Then he and Graeme got together and did Broaden Your Mind, which was a sketch show, and I came in and did some of those."

 

Tim takes up the story: "The BBC were happy for us to go on but they wanted it to be slightly different.  We all sat down together and came up with the idea of doing a sketch show with a story so we didn't have to have punchlines all the time.  And basically the BBC didn't know what they were getting, but they got it."  He laughs.

 

Did they have a specific goal in mind?  "A goal?" asks Graeme.  "Well, earning a living was fairly high on the list."  He chuckles.  "Our aim really [was] not to be just another sketch show but to be a sort of hybrid and use a lot of influences from silent movies and from Tom & Jerry cartoons and from The Beano wherever possible.  We'd often refer to a slap-up feed at the Hotel de Posh or something - straight out of Lord Snooty.  We had fairly humble aspirations really, but we didn't set out to change the world and say 'This is how you have to do comedy,' it's just the way it appealed to us."

 

"When people said, 'Who are your influences?' we said Buster Keaton and Tom & Jerry," agrees Bill.  "And we weren't joking; that was true.  In the visual sequences we were trying to use ourselves like cartoon characters and with a lot of unreal violence like Tom and Jerry; you know, you could be flattened by a steamroller - and we often were - and then pumped up again and you were okay.  I've always loved that."

 

Is there a specific episode the boys would point to to give a flavour of the series?  "Funnily enough there's a DVD coming out with several episodes on," muses Graeme.  Oh, really?  "There are the famous ones that people remember, like the kitten, and the beanstalk one.  Kung Fu [Kapers] was one which gives a flavour of the show in that what we tended to do is to combine a couple of ideas, and at that time kung fu movies with Bruce Lee were terrifically popular.  We also wanted to have a go at northern stereotypes; as we all come from the north, we felt we were able to do that, and then to combine the two into a version of kung fu that belonged in the north of England."

 

Tim and Bill, meanwhile, are in agreement.  "My favourite without a doubt, which will surprise people, is one called Earthanasia," reveals Bill, "which is horribly topical right now in a way, because it starts off with a broadcast where all the political leaders of the world have got together and decided the world is past saving and it's going to end that night.  Why I like it is that we never really thought of us as acting, we were just human cartoon figures a lot of the time, and yet in that one there's a lot of performance which is verbal and visual, and Graeme I think is particularly brilliant with some of the visuals in that one."

 

"Some of those shows are the best because you had to concentrate on the words and the acting," agrees Tim.  "And they're as funny as some of the big visual ones.  There's a danger that people have in their minds some folk memories that The Goodies is just chasing after giant cats, but there's quite a big verbal element to it."

 

If people have such fond memories, it seems odd that the show was never repeated.  "It's a puzzle," agrees Tim.  "People assume that we've said it can't be shown, but it's quite the opposite, we'd love it to be shown."

 

But what about reviving the series?  "We've always said we'd do more," Tim offers, "but we assumed it was five years' time, and then it was 10 years, and then it was 20.  I think it would have to be a special in its own right, sending ourselves up, basically.  Where they are now, what they are doing, and probably we would be doing important jobs in various places.  I've often thought of doing it on radio, which is quite an interesting idea, but you'd really have to have the television [series] shown again before you can do radio.  It would certainly be more comfortable on radio, but it wouldn't pay!"

 

(Accompanying photos: (1) A small picture of the Goodies on the trandem beside the main heading. (2) A large picture of the three Goodies standing side-by-side from one of the early series (pre-Tim's Union Jack waistcoat) with a photo of Kitten Kong alongside it.  A tiny caption reads: "The Goodies: not just giant cats.  So, er, ignore this picture then...")

 




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