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Goodies File, The

It's anything you want it to be...Altogether now: “Kids’ book!” Well, in many cases yes, but what a kids’ book! The first comedy TV tie-in to fully capitalise on the ‘warped Eagle annual’ format that Monty Python’s Big Red Book inaugurated, The Goodies File settled into its new habitat with alarming gusto. Compiled by all three Goodies  (unlike the series, which was mainly a Bill and Graeme production), the brown-covered File followed the ‘random scrapbook’ format of the Python templates (with invaluable visual input from designer Anthony Cohen) and gave it an admittedly slight sitcom-like overall ‘plot’ – in this case the determination of Edna Tole (Mrs), the lady who ‘does’ for our intrepid trio, to fit them up for the tabloids as a bunch of ne’er-do-well ‘coots’, and cop a fat cheque from publishers Weiden, Feld and Nicolson (‘a song, a smile, and amazing stunts with a grapefruit!’) in the process.

The stage is set for an assortment of as-it-occurs-to-them daftness: a lurid home-printed promotional booklet for the ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ outfit; a ‘dress your own Goodies’ cut-out doll tableau (complete with ‘Tim’s sensible shoes’, ‘Bill’s tasteful trousers’ and ‘Graeme’s impressive shirt’); the story of the smash-hit musical Super-Pope; a good hundredweight of OBE references, and Bill’s bird-watcher’s guide with over-defensive foreword (”There’s nothing weird about me, you know […] STOP GETTING AT ME. OR I shall CRY.’)

It’s the early years of the Superchaps’ telly incarnation clapped effortlessly between hardcovers, and with its copious photostatted royal invitations ans secret plans (some scrawled on the backs of actual fag packets – ’20 Gut-rotters coke-tipped’), criminal records and notes from one Izzy Bent, it set the template for even greater, more intricate literary excursions that were to follow. At the time, it was the most Goodies-related fun you could have at the time without access to a VCR, a trandem, and the lease on a 6-legged pantomime dromedary costume. Will you please get off my desk?

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Arthur Nibble

    October 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    This included a made-up Top Ten albums chart which featured “Cliff’s Dirty Songbook” and a pretend book list which had the Roald Dahl classic, “My Parents Couldn’t Spell Ronald”. Inspired!

  2. Applemask

    October 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Are you sure that Roald Dahl joke was in this? Because I know for a fact it was in the Not the Nine O’Clock News book. Maybe it’s just not that original a joke.

  3. Arthur Nibble

    October 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Whoops, sorry – I had both those books!

  4. B B Beyer

    October 16, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Not forgetting the follow up books “The Goodies’ Book of (Criminal) Records” and “The Making of the Goodies’ Disaster Movie”, the latter featuring (from memory – my brother has the books!) classics such as “extra” Kenneth Wrotts’s CV (“man in queue – Z Cars; Passer-by – Crossroads”, etc.), Wotwigs, and the Charles Bronson Polyphoto Range of Expressions (20 identical pictures: happy, sad angry, intense, etc.). Great stuff.

  5. Lee James Turnock

    May 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    All the books are great but ‘Criminal Records’ is by far and away the best, if only for the ‘Goody Goody’ comic for nice children (“Surprise your parents – come down to breakfast drunk!”), the Tim Brooke-Taylor songbook (“She’ll be riding Tim Brooke-Taylor when she comes”…not a mental image on which I wish to dwell), the Goodies as semi-nude models (you’d be surprised how highly regarded these photos are in certain circles!) and some surprisingly filthy bits tucked into the fine print which only a sharp eye can readily find. “Swedish couple at it like knives” and “**** off, said Bill” stick in the mind particularly.

  6. Richard Davies

    June 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    When I was young a friend of mine had a copy & we would browse through looking for the funnier bits.

    It was just after Kitten Kong was repeated as part of TV 50, so we already had an idea of what The Goodies were about, with some memories of the later ITV shows.

    “How to cook a leather armchair” was one of our favourites, along with the first draft of the lyrics & the Trandem plans.

    I found a copy in a 2nd hand bookshop years later & still have it around.

  7. Barbara

    July 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I feel sure this is the one with the picture of the ambulance with ‘Loo-nee, loo-nee’ coming out of it – unfortunate considering Bill Oddie’s later mental health problems and the history of his mother having had similar as shown on ‘Who Do You Think you Are’.

  8. Barbara

    July 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Re: the ‘Goody Goody’ comic – I remember the Cecil The Swot strip in this, because my brother in law’s mum married a man around the same time who my sister said looked like the character as he wore glasses and had a bald head with a little patch of hair in the centre!

  9. Doctor Eidelburger

    October 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    The photos which accompanied the ‘Super Pope’ story were so convincing that I spent several fruitless years searching for this lost classic of the Goodies’ repertoire. Is it one of the lost/wiped episodes?
    Additionally, “Kids Book’? Either this or the follow-up had ‘police evidence’ photos of an orgy included that were anything but…

  10. Lee James Turnock

    June 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm


    Doctor Eidelburger:

    The photos which accompanied the ‘Super Pope’ story were so convincing that I spent several fruitless years searching for this lost classic of the Goodies’ repertoire. Is it one of the lost/wiped episodes?…

    They’re from the 1973 special episode ‘Superstar’. Bloody hard to get hold of.

  11. Droogie

    December 5, 2020 at 6:13 am

    The Goodies was one of my favourite shows as a kid, and I remember asking for The Goodies Disaster Movie Book for Christmas one year. I was expecting a kids annual type thing possibly full of cartoon strips like the Goodies one in Cor! Comic. Instead, this was a very adult read satirising the movie industry with most of the jokes going over my 8 year old head, not to mention a fair bit of female nudity throughout.( I still cringe when thinking of my prudish mum buying this for me then seeing the contents. ) One piece that still sticks in my mind was a very daring Carry On parody called Carry On Christ with a spot on movie poster pastiche depicting Charles Hawtrey as Jesus. This predated Life Of Brian by a few years, and I was amazed how they got away with it.

  12. Richardpd

    December 5, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    The Goodies seemed to sneak a fair amount of innuendo into their output, while subtle in the TV programme, in the books it seemed to be a bit more blatant.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      December 5, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Very funny, but totally not suitable for children. I think this did have the orgy photos, although they were fairly mild (wasn’t Richard Nixon a participant?) I thought Cliff’s album in the bogus chart was called ‘Rip Your Knickers Off, I’m Evil’ but it could have been someone equally anodyne. PC Bent’s intelligence test was also laugh out loud funny.

  13. Glenn Aylett

    December 5, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I think The Goodies File was the trio trying to break free of BBC restrictions, where the suits saw them as children’s entertainment and never gave them a first run on BBC1. I suppose had The Goodies been given a 9pm slot and more freedom, this is how they would have evolved.

    • Richardpd

      December 5, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      In places it’s similar to the Monty Python books, being able to cut loose when the BBC standards people weren’t there to stymie things.

      It was impressive that the Goodies managed to last as long as they did at the BBC. Even afterwards there was scant acknowledgment for years apart from the TV50 repeat of Kitten Kong due to some top brass not liking them.

  14. Droogie

    December 6, 2020 at 3:17 am

    A lady called Jane Root who was controller of BBC2 from 1999 to 2004 really had it in for The Goodies and swore she’d never repeat them while she was in charge. I know a few episodes haven’t aged well with certain racial attitudes on display , but 69 BBC episodes were made and it was bonkers to ban the entire show from being seen again.

    • THX 1139

      December 6, 2020 at 9:24 am

      You say that, but I got the complete series box set last year and while it’s very funny, in every single episode there’s a joke, maybe more than one, where you think, eesh, that doesn’t sound good now. The ironic thing was that they were really right-on in their day.

      Graeme Garden says that when someone remarks about a dodgy joke in The Goodies “Oh, you wouldn’t do that now!”, he replies, “Well, you wouldn’t need to.” Which is a perfectly sensible response.

    • Glenn Aylett

      December 6, 2020 at 10:50 am

      The Goodies fall into two distinctive phases, the classic era up to 1976 with Kitten Kong, Ecky Thump and The Goodies And The Beanstalk, then a less good phase up to them leaving the BBC in 1980 where many of the shows were well below par and just not funny. That said, there were a few good episodes such as them forming a punk rock band, but by 1980 they were well past their best and viewers were losing interest.

      • THX 1139

        December 6, 2020 at 10:54 am

        I’d suggest asking for the box set for Christmas, Glenn, and you’ll see they were very consistent, the latter half of the decade was just as funny as the first half. OK, there are a few dud gags, but there are no dud episodes. I even like the LWT series.

  15. Richardpd

    December 6, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    I know Saturday Night Grease of often called the “beginning of the end” for the Goodies, as it was spoofing disco music almost two years after it had peaked, though as it was made after a break in series I presume it was intended to be made earlier.

    Quite a funny episode though, with Robin Yad being a judge.

    • THX 1139

      December 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      That last BBC series also has the Close Encounters and Watership Down spoofs, and they’re really funny.

  16. Droogie

    December 8, 2020 at 12:26 am

    There were more original comedy ideas and concepts and jokes in every episode of The Goodies than any other British show except Monty Python. Some naysayers keep droning on for decades that the lost their edge in the last BBC season, but this a nonsense. The ITV shows also produced a few classic episodes too.

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