» Recording Session
» Screened Show
THE RETURN OF THE GOODIES
(by Lisa Manekofsky)
(from C&G #120 November 2005)
On October 23, 2005 I had the pleasure of being in the studio audience for the recording of a Goodies TV special. As was mentioned in last month's newsletter, this special will be part of a Goodies theme night scheduled for broadcast on BBC 2 in the UK around Christmas. Going in I knew only that the show was to be set in a recreation of the Goodies office and that Tim, Graeme and Bill would be discussing some of the best moments from "The Goodies" TV show.
As I expected, there was no problem filling the studio audience with enthusiastic fans. After the recording I learned that the theater held about 275 people while over 700 tickets had been requested! TV productions typically give away more tickets than there are available seats (under the assumption that many of the free tickets won't get used); potential audience members are warned that seats are available on a first come, first served basis. The staff was still surprised at the huge number of people who showed up that evening, many of whom unfortunately had to be turned away.
In describing the recording I hope to give you a sense of the evening while not giving away too many spoilers, since the show will air next month. Please pardon me for not disclosing as many details as I'm sure you'll want.
The audience was seated well before the recording began, giving us time to check out the set. The set designer did a great job in creating something reminiscent of the Goodies office. In addition, he'd loaded the set with props that referenced various Goodies episodes; for example, in the back corner was a section of giant beanstalk. My friends and I had fun playing "spot the prop" - the longer we looked the more things we discovered. The set was also littered with Goodies memorabilia, including their books and records. I fear that most of these items won't be very visible in the TV show; if it's ever released on DVD some still photos of the set would be a great bonus feature.
I was seated on the right side of the theater, allowing me to see the Goodies when they came onto the stage. They initially milled about next to the set, talking to the crew and getting ready for the show. After a short time the warm-up man, Tom Binns, came on stage. As he was talking to the audience he kept dropping his voice to a stage whisper and saying quite excitedly, "The Goodies are here - I've just seen them!", "they're over there!" (pointing to the right side of the stage), and similar comments. I'm sure this was part of his act but it was pretty funny; unfortunately, it was perhaps the funniest part.
The recording finally began. So as not to give too much away I'll just say that the show involves the Goodies finding their old office after many years. They talk about some elements from the show, providing an excuse to show clips from the original episodes or portions of the new documentary. Since the documentary was still in production the audience saw only a few small bits, though enough to make us eager for more.
As is typical for a live recording many scenes had to be reshot, often multiple times; this lead to the recording going on for quite some time. While I'm sure this was frustrating for the actors and production staff it allowed the audience to spend extra time with Tim, Graeme, and Bill and to enjoy their kidding around between takes. Here are a few examples.
Many times throughout the recording the Goodies were seated at a table covered with props in the middle of the set. Bill kept picking up a Womble puppet. At one point he mock angrily told it the Wombles had kept the Goodies out of the #1 spot on the record charts. An audience member shouted back that the Wombles had better lyrics, to which Bill pretended to protest by saying their lyrics surely weren't better than "yum yum, shake your bum" (from "Black Pudding Bertha"). Later on Bill, still seated behind the table, was playing with the Womble puppet when the audience started to laugh. He realized that from their point of view it appeared he was doing something rude to it (possibly involving a black pudding); Bill grinned and started playing up to that. Eventually the director came over and took the puppet away, to boos from the audience.
During another lull in production the Goodies told to the audience we were only seeing bits of the documentary because it was still in production. Bill explained that the production people abbreviated "documentary" as "doco" and began complaining that this didn't make any sense; it should be "docu". All three Goodies then began referring to different things with an "-o" ending, cumulating with Bill referring to "Timbo" and Graeme getting a similar nickname (something like "Graybo"). Graeme shot back with "Bilbo", which got a good laugh from the audience. Bill, however, groaned, saying this was very wounding. He then added that they actually wouldn't know that and explained why he found it hurtful. Apparently he was up for the role of the voice of Dobby the house-elf in the Harry Potter movies (and obviously was quite disappointed that he didn't get it). Bill then said even he didn't know how he'd managed to get from a "Lord of the Rings" reference to "Harry Potter".
At another point between takes Tim managed to move a prop Kitten Kong out of its place. Graeme remarked, "don't touch my pussy", adding "Mrs. Slocombe has a lot to answer for..." (which most of you will recognize as a reference to a running joke in "Are You Being Served").
The last scene was finally filmed and the Goodies got a long standing ovation from an appreciative audience.
The finished show promises to be a real treat for Goodies fans. We'll have a more detailed report after it is broadcast in late December.