TV Cream

TV: G is for...

Goodies, The

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  1. Aidy

    October 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    If a comedy show has ever earned the “has not aged well” tag then surely it must be The Goodies. If you ever catch it on The Comedy Channel repeats you will see what I mean. Totally unfunny and toe curling television. The Young Ones would come a close second in the not ageing well stakes, I reckon.

  2. Glenn A

    October 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Aidy, the last series they did for the BBC was completely banal and seemed as if they’d lost their touch for being contemporary( John Travolta dance routines were so 1978, not 1980) and the humour was immature. Their peak years were 1972 to 1976, but thereafter I agree they declined and became very juvenile. Also I never found The Young Ones funny.

  3. Angryhead

    October 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Some years ago, I borrowed a ‘Goodies’ video cassette from a mate which had three or four episodes on it. This was the first time I’d seen the programme since the 80s when the trio ended up on ITV. The shows featured on the cassette were from their “classic” days on the BBC. I can’t remember all the episodes on the cassette – except for the one with the cat which ended up growing to a Godzilla-like being and then proceeding to terrorise London. I enjoyed it, although in typical BBC miserley fashion, the Goodies were forced to wrestle with cheap polystyrene sets which wobbled and looked far too fake to believe.
    I loved this show as a kid, but as is the case with childhood memories, if I was to watch those episodes again now, I’d probably end up agreeing with Aidy and Glenn A.
    The “cat” episode was quite clever. It had elements of the “juvenile” as mentioned in the comments above, but not in a way which spoiled the story. Maybe this episode was a one-off in terms of coming across as entertaining – hence why it’s always the one which gets repeated and mentioned thirty years later.

  4. Glenn A

    October 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    It was called Kitten Kong and even though the London sets look cheap now, it was quite innovative in its day. Another classic is their interpetration of Jack and the Beanstalk and the one where they do a rock concert to a group of stoned cops. However, after 1977 the standards dropped and their last BBC series was poor. Actually the LWT series I found better, esp the one where they go for a weekend at a cottage and get snowed in.

  5. bisted

    October 18, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Glenn A ….
    With regards to the cheap sets… I wasn’t referring to the Kitten Kong London sets but the actual STUDIO sets. Having watched the compilation video, I recall a certain bit where our heroes are running through a prop door, but because of it’s flimsiness, they have to slow down before running through it. By the looks of it, they got to the door quicker than rehearsed and are as such forced to slow right down and wait around a few seconds before moving again. They didn’t improvise it too well and they end up ‘hanging around’ uncomfortably. At the same time, you can hear the sound of cheap wood / plyboard as they tread closer to where the prop has been built.
    I too remember their Jack and the Beanstalk episode. Wasn’t that an extended ITV bank holiday special? Or was it on the BBC?
    Plus… Do you remember the one where they turn into mice? that was a good episode.

  6. Glenn A

    October 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Jack and the Beanstalk was BBC from 1973 and is a classic. Actually I was in a minority with regards to the LWT shows as they were funnier than the last series they did for the BBC, where the BBC decided to treat them like idiots and the material was poor. Another classic from the early days is the one about an infestation of Rolf Harrises.

  7. Lee James Turnock

    May 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Other classic episodes include Give Police A Chance, the Music Lovers, Scotland, the Baddies, Hospital For Hire, the Race, Invasion of the Moon Creatures, Camelot, Goodies in the Nick, Chubbie Chumps, Cunning Stunts, Rome Antics, Hype Pressure, Goodies Rule OK, It Might As Well Be String, Almost Live, Royal Command, Animals and War Babies.

  8. Arthur Nibble

    June 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Make that The Goodies OBE, although Graeme and Tim have had to wait till this year. Well done, Wonder Chaps Three!

  9. Glenn A

    March 5, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    The Goodies were hit and miss and now the studio bound shows look extremely cheap and come across as boring and unfunny. Best ones tend to be the early ones with more location filming and have guest stars like Michael Aspel.

  10. Richard16378

    March 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Some of the CSO used in the earlier episodes to show things behind doors & such looks very cheap these days, but this seemed to be lessen as the years went on.

  11. THX 1139

    April 13, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Now all the episodes are on DVD, we can see that while some of the material hasn’t aged well, plenty of it is really inspired and often hilarious. The punk episode is one of the funniest things ever broadcast on 1970s TV. I loved The Goodies as a kid and was delighted to see how imaginative it was on a revisit. Graeme, Bill and Tim were comedy heroes to a generation.

    • Glenn Aylett

      April 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Sad to hear about Tim Brooke Taylor yesterday. I know The Goodies were hit and miss, but at their best, they were up there with the Pythons.

      • richardpd

        April 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm

        Also sad to hear the news yesterday.

        The Goodies seemed to exist in that overlap between the ligher side of Monty Python and the more traditional slapstick of Benny Hill, Marty Feldman and the other 1970s comedians who used of lot of speeded up film sequences.

        There was a nice selection of clips on BBC news, including Twinkle knocking down the GPO tower, which I think was used in the opening titles until the end of the BBC episodes.

        • Glenn Aylett

          April 13, 2020 at 3:42 pm

          I didn’t think Tim was 79, probably closer to 70, as he always looked quite young, but a big shame as he was very much of the TV Cream era.
          As for The Goodies, the BBC seemed to enjoy a love/hate relationship with them, they loved it when they won awards for their shows and the ratings went up, but seemed to hate the nature of their humour and were secretly delighted when their last series was below par and they left the BBC.

  12. richardpd

    April 14, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Supposedly someone high up at the BBC didn’t like the Goodies and made sure the show didn’t have any repeats or video releases for many years.

    • Droogie

      April 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      That would be BBC controller Jane Root who had a downer on repeating the Goodies. I think she had a similar grievance with. Spike Milligan’s Q series ( though to be fair the jaw-dropping un-PC moments on Spikes shows make the Goodies dodgier bits look like Play School in comparison)

      • Glenn Aylett

        April 24, 2020 at 7:45 pm

        I can remember an episode of Q5 being repeated in the mid nineties on BBC 2, perhaps as a one off, but never again. Can’t remember if it was the un PC Dalek sketch, but it had the usual Nazi references and comments about the country going to the dogs.

        • THX 1139

          April 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm

          There was a compilation series of Spike’s sketches shown in the 1990s, including the ludicrous Pakistani Dalek sketch, and that cropped up in repeats for a few years after. The whole lot (or what survives) is on DVD, some of it is funny, and some of it… really isn’t. You have to watch them with the caveat that he was, sadly, insane.

          • Glenn Aylett

            April 25, 2020 at 6:26 pm

            Yes the Q series were hit and miss and some of the humour would be terribly dated now, but the same accusation could be made about The Goodies. When they had a good show, it was absolutely surreal and hilarious, but at other times, they could come across as unfunny and juvenile. I think both Milligan and The Goodies were trying to continue the surreal humour of Monty Python and both were considered too niche for BBC1.

          • richardpd

            April 26, 2020 at 1:56 pm

            The Goodies were normally fairly good at spotting contemporary pop culture to work into the episodes, but occasionally some things went out of fashion before it could air.

            A good example is Saturday Night Grease as mentioned above. This episode was heavily based around disco music, but wasn’t shown until 1980 when it was going out of fashion. A few fans consider it to be the beginning of the end for the show.

            I assume it was written year or 2 earlier, but took a long time to get made.

  13. Joanne

    April 24, 2020 at 4:42 am

    Very sad to hear of Tim Brooke Taylor’s passing. Yet another of my childhood icons gone. I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue will never be the same 🙁

  14. Glenn Aylett

    April 25, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    it’s interesting the first run of each BBC Goodies series was always shown on BBC2, with repeats on BBC1. It was like the BBC were nervous about unleashing them on the bigger BBC1 audience, or as BBC2 had lower audience figures, they could keep the budget down. However, if BBC 1 needed a comedy repeat that would rate well, The Goodies were there for them.

  15. Tom Ronson

    April 27, 2021 at 12:23 am

    So many opinions on The Goodies, most of them sadly wrong. It wasn’t a children’s programme, it wasn’t a poor man’s Monty Python, it was simply three very clever men being very silly and having a high old time, replicating gags, stunts and visual sequences from the silent era (Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, early Laurel and Hardy) and the golden age of Hollywood animation (Tom and Jerry, Tex Avery, Looney Tunes) with a strong thread of contemporary comment and good-natured ribbing of their fellow seventies celebrities, most notably Nicholas Parsons and Tony Blackburn.
    As with any comedy series that notched up a lot of episodes (around seventy of them, spread over eight BBC series, two specials and an LWT series that wasn’t much cop), there are some episodes that don’t quite work, some embarrassing failures and quite a lot of ‘they’d never get away with that nowadays’ moments, but on the whole, an underrated and sadly misunderstood series which, in an ideal world, would have been repeated at least as often as Dad’s Army, Only Fools and Horses and Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.

  16. Richardpd

    April 27, 2021 at 11:37 am

    It’s a shame The Goodies didn’t get in the regular repeat cycle.

    It would have been ideal show to repeat in the 1990s, when nostalgia for the 1970s was high along with many other shows from the decade being shown in prime time.

    Even a late night screening on BBC2 like Monty Python had would have been great.

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