The Goodies

1982 | United Kingdom

Originally to be called 'Super Chaps Three', The Goodies were the quintessential image of a 1970's Britain that had not yet shaken off its 1960's 'swinging' image. 

The trio of do-gooders who would do anything, anyplace, anytime, consisted of Tim Brooke-Taylor (who was so patriotic that he always wore a Union-Jack waistcoat), Graham Garden (a nutty professor type), and Bill Oddie (a leftover from the hippie movement, complete with giant sized portrait of Chairman Mao). In the course of their adventures they would typically rescue humanity, as in the case of saving London from the clutches of a giant cat, whilst charging around the country on their three-seater bicycle. 

Popular fads and cultures of the day were given the 'Goodies' treatment, Doctor Who was presented as 'Planet of the Rabbits.' and Kung Fu was given a North Country twist in an episode entitled 'Kung Fu Capers', an episode that inadvertently realised the adage "died laughing." The episode featured Bill Oddie as a blackbelt in 'Ecky Thump' - a little-known Lancastrian martial art which involved pelting opponents with black pudding. Tim Brooke-Taylor played a Scotsman who defended himself with a set of bagpipes. Alex Mitchell, a 50- year-old bricklayer from King's Lynn was unable to stop laughing whilst watching the episode. According to his wife, after twenty-five minutes of continuous laughter, Mitchell "gave a tremendous belly laugh, slumped on the sofa and died". She later sent a letter to the Goodies thanking them for making her husband's final moments so happy. 

Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Dougal and Graham Garden

During its run the series picked up two Silver Roses at Montreux and spun off into the pop charts top ten with novelty' hits 'The In Betweenies,' 'Funky Gibbon,' 'Nappy Love' and 'Make A Daft Noise For Christmas.' After ten years the BBC had decided that they had got all the mileage out of the show that there was to get, and, somewhat disillusioned, Messrs Brooke-Taylor, Garden and Oddie took themselves off to commercial television. However, only six shows were made by LWT. 

The Goodies was one of the first shows in the UK to use chroma key, a post- production special effect that allowed the overlaying of one video image on top of another and one of the first to use stop-motion techniques, previously only seen on animated children's programmes, in a live action format. Unlike most long-running BBC comedy series, The Goodies has been sadly neglected and not enjoyed extensive repeats on terrestrial television. It wasn't until 2004 that the BBC finally acknowledged its appeal in an episode of the documentary series Comedy Connections which was devoted to the series. However, further afield the series has fared much better. In Australia, the series has had continued popularity, being repeated throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It has also proved to be popular in Canada, and in Germany was shown within another series in short 3 to 4 minute film sequences. Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden took their Goodies Live show to the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Published on December 19th, 2018. Written by Marc Saul for Television Heaven.

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