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

YOURS (UK) - - Inside - By Katharine Woot­ton

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

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