The Goodies – 1970s TV Icon

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Growing up in England during the 1970's one of the funniest and most hilarious comedy shows on the BBC was the "The Goodies" which starred Tim Brooke Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graham Gardner. An early title which was considered for the series was "Narrow Your Mind" and prior to this it had the working title "Super Chaps Three". The show mixed surreal madness with genius comedy to create one of the funniest shows on British TV.

The Goodies was a ground breaking 1970 British comedy series, not nearly as well-known outside of Great Britain as its contemporary, Monty Python's Flying Circus. (Some view it as the Beatles to the Python's Rolling Stones.) Born from the same generation of comic talents that infused British TV in the 1960s and 1970s with such innovative work, The Goodies was far more plot-oriented than Python (it was nominally a Situation Comedy when it premièred), but at the same time it was also far more anarchic and surreal.

The Goodies basic structure revolved around the trio, always short of money, offering themselves for hire — with the tag line "We Do Anything, Anywhere, Any time" — to perform all sorts of ridiculous but generally benevolent tasks. The BBC's own historical reference for the show describes it as a "live action version of a typical Warner Brothers cartoon", which is quite accurate, although sidestepping completely much of the thinly veiled social satire the show was inclined towards. Entire episodes were devoted to poking fun at topical subjects as diverse as TV censorship, Mary Whitehouse, Nuclear testing, Saturday Night Fever and Black Puddings.

Central to the show were the exaggerated versions of themselves that the leads played — conservative royalist Tim, twisted Inventor Graeme and Hippy Bill. The intersection of these three personalities generated as much comedy as the increasingly-bizarre situations that they found themselves in. Their trademark was the "Tandem" — a bicycle-built-for-three which they invariably mounted and fell off of once per episode before riding to their next adventure.

Many episodes parodied current events, such as an episode where the entire black population of South Africa emigrates to Great Britain to escape apartheid. As this means that the white South Africans no longer have anyone to exploit and oppress, they introduce a new system called "apart-height", where short people (Bill and a number of jockeys) are discriminated against.

Other story lines were more abstractly philosophical, such as an episode in which the trio spend Christmas Eve together waiting for the Earth to be blown up by prior arrangement of the world's governments. The "Christmas Eve" episode titled "Earthanasia" was one of the two episodes which took place entirely in one room. The other episode called, "The End" Where Graeme accidentally had their office encased in an enormous block of concrete.

These episodes were made when the entire location budget for the season had been spent, forcing the trio to come up with a script shot entirely on the set that relied entirely on character interaction. These enclosed episodes often worked particularly well.

The Goodies have won many prizes including A special episode, which was based on the original 1971 Goodies' - "Kitten Kong" episode, which was called "Kitten Kong: Montreux '72 Edition", and was first broadcast in 1972. The Goodies won the Silver Rose in 1972 for this special episode at the Festival Rose d'or which was held in Montreux, Switzerland.

The Goodies also won the Silver Rose in 1975 at the Festival Rose d'Or for their episode The Movies.

More inclined to British Variety like humour than the Pythons, the Goodies never quite got the respect they deserved — despite the fact that they lasted at least three times as long on the air.

All told 74 episodes from the television series were produced: Series 1–8 — (1970–1980) Which were shown on BBC2. The last Series 9 — (1981–1982) — was made by LWT for ITV.

The series can be found regularly on Australian TV ( Which has continually been shown since the 1970's) as well as on You Tube. One of their recordings "The Funky Gibbon" has just been re-released as a charity record for Christmas 2010.

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The Chinese call Britain 'The Island of Hero's' which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.


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Paul hussey has 1 articles online

My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th Century AD. I am also a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren which has given me an interest in English History and Icons which is great fun to research.

I have recently decided to write articles on my favourite subjects: English Sports, English History, English Icons, English Discoveries and English Inventions.

At present I have written over 100 articles which I call "An Englishman's Favourite Bits Of England" in various Volumes.

Please visit my Blogs page http://Bloggs.Resourcez.Comwhere I have listed all my articles to date.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.

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The Goodies – 1970s TV Icon

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This article was published on 2010/11/26
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