When I was a little Mudskipper, The Goodies was my favourite programme on TV. As an eight-year old, I wanted to be Bill; I thought that Tim was rather silly; and I didn’t like Graeme but, collectively, they made me laugh more than anything else on the box. As a child, I understood not a jot of the social commentary, intelligent parody and subtle humour, which undercut each episode of The Goodies; instead, I loved the endless slapstick, the silly outfits, and the big-budget visual gags. There was also something quite risqué about The Goodies; to possess a The Goodies Annual was rather like owning a secret stash of pornography. The Goodies were naughty, although as an eight-year old I didn’t quite understand either how or why.
Watching the shows again as an adult on DVD, I still love The Goodies, although I no longer want to be Bill; I still think Tim is rather silly, but in a good way; and I can now see that it is Graeme who is actually pulling all the strings to keep the show on the road. I can now better appreciate the intelligence behind the scripts and, even if some of the issues tackled are no longer quite so current, I can see how The Goodies were groundbreakers for an entire generation of topical satirists to follow. Think of something funny, and the chances are The Goodies have already done it in some form or other.
For me, the heyday of The Goodies was 1975, and when it comes to choosing my Top Five episodes most of them date from this period. In my selection, I cannot claim to being a completist who has watched all 69 BBC and 7 LWT episodes from which to make my choice. These are simply the five shows, which left the greatest impression on my innocent eight-year old self.
TOP FIVE EPISODES OF THE GOODIES
5. Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms
The discovery of a clotted cream mine in Cornwall provides the scenario for a classic The Goodies episode.
4. Scatty Safari
Made more problematic viewing given Rolf Harris’s recent history, but still a terrific rollercoaster of visual gags and fun-poking nostalgia.
3. It Might as Well Be String
String, string, string, string, everybody loves string. Certainly everyone at my school did for months after this aired.
2. Kung Fu Kapers
This episode sparked another school craze: hitting each other over the head to the cry of Ecky Thump.
1. Lighthouse Keeping Loonies
Perhaps an unusual first choice, but I loved the gags about everything being round; the foghorn that kept blocking out everyone’s speech; and seeing a joyous Tim in the bath.
RIP Tim Brooke-Taylor. Silly to the end.
© The Mudskipper