The Goodies are back!
As every episode of The Goodies is released on DVD for the first time, we look back at the show’s madcap antics and why repeats have been shown so rarely on television
Anything, anywhere, anytime” – that was the motto of The Goodies and for 12 wonderful years, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor delivered on their promise of trying every mischievous, rebellious or silly idea you could imagine – and many you couldn’t. From enormous kittens demolishing the Post Office tower, to a chase by giant Magic Roundabout characters, their antics really knew no bounds – and we loved them for it.
That’s why we’re so excited that we can relive all the laughs as, for the first time, all the BBC episodes and specials the terrific trio created are going to be available in one collection, showcasing many episodes that have rarely been seen since their original airing.
The seeds of The Goodies grew in the student halls of Cambridge University, where Tim was studying law, Graeme medicine and Bill English. When they all joined the legendary theatrical club, Cambridge Footlights, they became firm friends and started playing in a comedy revue called Cambridge Circus, which eventually went to Broadway. Throughout the Sixties, each dabbled with comedy writing individually and together on the BBC Radio comedy series, I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again, which quickly became cult listening. This was followed by the children’s show, Broaden Your Mind, the success of which buoyed them to come up with The Goodies, which first aired at 10pm on Sunday, November 8, 1970.
The premise was simple: three blokes who were old enough to know better and too much corduroy go on wacky schemes on their ‘trandem’ three-seater bicycle. Tim was the English public schoolboy, Graeme the scientist and Bill the big hippie. They were the real-life equivalent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, pedalling silly, slapstick streams of madness in every episode, sometimes interspersed with the odd madcap, if catchy, song.
That first episode set the tone of the crackpot humour as the trio discovered who was stealing the beef from the Beefeaters at the Tower of London. In no time, their no-holds barred comedy had everyone, adults and children alike, in stitches, whether we were guffawing at Graeme ketchupping himself to death at the OK Tea Rooms, or Tim being forced to sneak around in a bin bag to hide his true nature as a scout.
In fact, the show was so funny that in
The seeds of The Goodies grew in the student halls of Cambridge University, where Tim was studying law, Graeme medicine and Bill English
1975, a bricklayer named Alex Mitchell literally died from laughing at the Kung Fu Kapers episode in which Tim, dressed as a kilted Scotsman, defended himself with bagpipes against a black-pudding wielding Bill who was practising the ancient Lancastrian martial art of ‘Ecky Thump’. Alex’s widow later sent them a letter thanking them for making her husband’s final moments so pleasant.
At their peak, The Goodies were attracting audiences of more than 15 million and winning light entertainment awards ahead of Morecambe and Wise. They also found themselves clad in dungarees making monkey impressions on The Top of The Pops when their song, Funky Gibbon, reached No 4 in the UK singles chart, helping make them the fifth biggest-grossing pop act of 1975.
Steven Spielberg even came knocking at their door to suggest making a film together although, sadly, the idea came to nothing. But despite this heady success, after the series ended in 1982, repeats of The Goodies have almost never been shown on TV in the UK, despite complaints from both the team behind the show and fans. DVDs too, including the latest complete BBC Collection, have always been released by independent labels, rather than the BBC’s commercial arm.
Even for The Goodies’ 40th anniversary Graeme Garden revealed that a viewer had written into the BBC asking if a series would be shown to mark the occasion, only to be told that ‘they don’t want their programmes to be nostalgic’ despite the fact regular repeats of Dad’s Army are shown on the BBC. To date, there’s never been a clear reason given for the series gathering dust on BBC shelves, although some say it’s bitterness that the team moved from BBC to ITV for their last series, while others say the show suffered from being seen as the poor relation of Monty Python. Australian TV still runs regular repeats of the best-loved episodes.
Nevertheless, we still have the memories and are happy a new DVD is paying well-overdue respect to the silly, but hugely special, show we all loved.
■ the Goodies: the Complete bbC Collection, released by
Network Distributing ltd, is out on september 24, rrp £69.99. We have one
DVD to give away. to enter send a postcard marked the Goodies to box 57, Coates Pe7 2FF by september 28, 2018. If you don’t wish to receive further information from Yours, write No Further Contact on your card. the final Goodies series aired on ItV and is also available from Network Distributing ltd.
Steven Spielberg even came knocking at their door to suggest making a film together
The Goodies, from left, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
Just hanging around – the crazy trio often performed their own stunts!
For 12 years, their madcap capers had audiences – young and old – in stitches
Pop stars! Performing their hit song Funky Gibbon