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Garden, Graeme (1943-)

Actor, Presenter, Writer

Main image of Garden, Graeme (1943-)

Born in Aberdeen on 18 February 1943, David Graeme Garden read medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He joined the Footlights in his second year, becoming President in 1964. Whilst writing and performing in the hit radio series I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, he passed his final medical exams. He had reached the crossroads in his career: entertainment or medicine, and chose the former.

His television career was launched as a writer and performer with Bill Oddie, Michael Palin and Terry Jones in the sketch show Twice a Fortnight (BBC, 1967). He then created, with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Broaden Your Mind (BBC, 1968-69) and, with Bill Oddie thrown into the mix, the trio created The Goodies (BBC, 1970-80; ITV, 1981-82). In the long-running series Graeme's boffin character slowly evolved with each of his outrageous inventions into a mad professor.

Garden's medical training wasn't entirely wasted. John Cleese and Graham Chapman were pre-occupied with developing Monty Python's Flying Circus (BBC, 1969-74), so asked Garden to take over the writing duties of loosely adapting Richard Gordon's Doctor series. Co-writing with Bill Oddie, together they scripted 22 of the 26 episodes of Doctor in The House (ITV, 1969-70). On a serious level, but still with a comic twist, Garden co-presented the medical series Body Matters (BBC, 1985-89).

Since the demise of The Goodies, Garden has still maintained his satirical edge as a writer for Bremner, Bird and Fortune (Channel 4, 1999-) and as a team captain on If I Ruled the World (BBC, 1998-99). He played a number of one-off acting roles in both comedy: Yes Minister (BBC,1980-84) and My Summer with Des (BBC, tx. 25.5.1998) and drama: Strangers (ITV, 1978-82) and Peak Practice (ITV, 1993-2002) His vocal talents have been heard as the masked hero Bananaman (BBC, 1983-86) and as the geography teacher Mr Bibby in Bromwell High (Channel 4, 2005). He continues as a regular panellist on the 'antidote to panel games' I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (which Garden himself conceived in 1972), and he has returned to the fictional world of small screen medicine as the recurring character Mr. Loftwood in Holby City (BBC, 1999- ).

Graham Rinaldi

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Thumbnail image of Goodies, The (1970-82)Goodies, The (1970-82)

Daft and surreal comedy from Tim, Graeme and Bill

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