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40 years of The Goodies

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Robert Seatter Robert Seatter | 12:56 UK time, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Goodies on on a bicycle (‘trandem’)

Forty years ago this week (8 Nov 1970), three men on a bicycle (‘trandem’) careered into our comic TV world, promising to do ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’. One was posh right down to his Union Jack underpants, one was a middle-class technocrat concocting new inventions in his back room, and the third was a flat-capped son of honest toil with a penchant for aggression (before becoming a passionate twitcher and observer of all things natural in our back garden…).

The Goodies being chased by a giant rampaging Dougal (from The Magic Roundabout).

They were of course The Goodies! Can it really be 40 years ago they appeared for the first time? They came with a host of enduring, goofy, visually punning sketches – remember the trio chased by a giant rampaging Dougal (The Magic Roundabout was never ever the same again!), or by bomb-dropping geese, ‘ecky thump’ blood puddings, or when they turned delinquent on Skid Row, abandoned on the moon, and (ahead of its Who do you think you are? time) transformed themselves into their own ancestors: Keltic Kilty (Graeme) , Kinda Kinky (Bill) and Kountie Kutie (Tim)! And perhaps most memorable of all, in the episode ‘Kitten Kong’, where an enormous fluffy white kitten terrorised our cowering heroes.

A giant kitten on The Goodies set.

Kids loved it, adults loved. One poor viewer apparently thought they were so funny that he laughed himself to death! It also had the rare notoriety of being derided as ‘too childish’ by BBC executives, while being criticised by Mary Whitehouse for being ‘too sexually orientated’. The mind boggles!

And occasionally, they even strutted their stuff on Top of the Pops. ‘The Funky Gibbon’, written by Bill Oddie, propelled them into the charts and made them the 5th biggest grossing pop act of 1975.
So where did The Goodies come from? The trio had met at Cambridge University, contemporaries of Beyond the Fringe/Monty Python, and created their unique brand of humour, inspired by – in their own words – a mix of Buster Keaton, Mad Magazine, Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry. Whatever the case, America’s superman heroes were never ever to be the same again. They were now transformed into bumbling, class-befuddled, benign and oh-so English do-gooders. Amazingly, they lasted for ten years, and their influence still lingers today in The Mighty Boosh and We Are Klang, to name but two.
Can’t you still hear that theme tune: Goody goody yum yum..?

Robert Seatter is Head of BBC History

Listen to comedian Ross Noble's revist to The Goodies: Anything, Anywhere, Anytime and Pick of the Week on Radio 4 for a Goodies fix. You can also watch the Return of the Goodies on Saturday night on BBC Two.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    In the seventies i made some models for the goodies program, I've lost the photos I had of my work, does anyone know which programs including the following models apart from St Pauls in Kitten Kong, the meat eating computor, giant ice cube, illuminating spectacles (Sparklypegs) extendable rapiers, then I can buy the DVD's without having to buy them all, thanks Mike Carsberg

  • Comment number 2.

    Unfortunately there are only 3 DVDs available of the work that The Goodies did for the BBC, many episodes are missing on DVD. I'm not sure that any of the episodes with those models are on there, apart from Kitten Kong which is on 'The Goodies...at last'.

 

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