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Goodies, The (1970-82)

Courtesy of BBC

Main image of Goodies, The (1970-82)
BBC2, tx. 8/11/1970-18/2/1980; ITV, tx. 9/1-13/2/1982
73 x 30 min in 9 series, plus 4 specials, colour
DirectorsBob Spiers
 Jim Franklin
WritersTim Brooke-Taylor
 Graeme Garden
 Bill Oddie

Cast: Tim Brooke-Taylor (Tim); Graeme Garden (Graeme); Bill Oddie (Bill)

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The bizarre adventures of a trandem-riding trio, Tim, Graeme and Bill, who guarantee to take on 'anything, anytime'.

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Cambridge graduates Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie first collaborated as members of the BBC radio sketch comedy I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (1964-73). Brooke-Taylor and Garden then created the fast-paced sketch show Broaden Your Mind (BBC, 1968-69) for the small screen. Oddie became a regular in the second series, after which, in the wake of Monty Python's Flying Circus (BBC, 1969-74), the trio abandoned sketch comedy for the anarchic situation comedy The Goodies (BBC, 1970-80; ITV 1981-82), in which Buster Keaton met Tom and Jerry head on.

With the motto 'We do anything, anytime' the trio - Tim (royalist), Graeme (boffin) and Bill (anarchist) - set out on their 'trandem' from their Cricklewood office to diverse assignments. The series showcased their flair for combining satire, cartoon violence, slapstick and film trickery (especially in 'Movies' (tx. 10/2/1975), their tribute to silent film comedies). As each episode became more surreal, the props, explosions and special effects became more elaborate, culminating in a giant Dougal from the Magic Roundabout in 'Goodies Rule Ok?' (tx. 21/12/1975).

Twice winners of the Silver Rose of Montreux - for 'Kitten Kong' (tx. 9/4/1972) and 'Movies' - The Goodies excelled with their parodies of adverts, contemporary films ('Saturday Night Grease', tx. 21/1/1980) and popular fads ('Kung Fu Kapers', tx. 24/3/1975, which highlighted the deadly ancient Northern art of 'Ecky Thump', complete with lethal black puddings). Never shy of taking risks, the series tackled such contentious issues as feminism and South African apartheid. Predominant throughout were Oddie's songs, which briefly made The Goodies into pop icons with five hit singles, including the sublime 'Funky Gibbon'.

Seen as family entertainment, The Goodies regularly ran into trouble with their BBC bosses for their use of the word 'bloody'. They also fell foul of clean-up campaigner and moral custodian Mary Whitehouse; The Goodies' riposte was to parody her as Desiree Carthorse in 'Gender Education' (tx. 31/12/1971). With a young fan base, their comedy was labelled puerile and juvenile and denied the cerebral plaudits that greeted Monty Python. They answered their critics with a cameo by John Cleese as a genie uttering the words 'Kid's programme' in 'The Goodies and the Beanstalk' (tx. 24/12/1973). After a lack of commitment from the BBC, they cycled over to ITV for a short-lived series before finally closing the doors of their Cricklewood office forever.

Graham Rinaldi

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Video Clips
1. Animal clinic (2:06)
2. Walkies (3:34)
3. Twinkle attacks London (2:22)
Complete episode: 'Kitten Kong' (29:09)
Brooke-Taylor, Tim (1940-)
Davies, John Howard (1939-2011)
Garden, Graeme (1943-)
Oddie, Bill (1941-)
Spiers, Bob (1945-2008)