Return Of The Goodies, BBC2

by | Dec 30, 2005 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

At first there was that sense of euphoria and fun of meeting up with relatives you haven’t seen for a decade, but gradually you realise why it’s taken a so long to attain the motivation and strength to withstand another get together.

What was good about it?

• Some of the sketches still retain their comic appeal. The incessant berating of Tony Blackburn (although this was tempered when the Goodies allowed him to be in on the joke in return for playing their awful records on the radio); and the lassoing of wild Rolf Harrises in order to initiate a breeding programme in a zoo.

• The chronology of how the Goodies moved from the Cambridge Footlights (perhaps the smuggest collection of bilious humanity in the British Isles except for members of the Groucho Club), through a myriad abortive comedy shows in the 60s to the birth of The Goodies.

• One of the main reasons that the Goodies seemed to be successful was that all three were, and still are, very likable, contrasting personalities – posh Tim, boffin Graeme, and unkempt Bill – and this came across in the studio as they looked back over their careers.

• Tim Brooke-Taylor saying that he perhaps should have been part of Monty Python, but modestly adding that his writing “wasn’t that good”.

• Clips from At Last The 1948 Show – the Yorkshiremen engaged in a series of one-upmanship about the sorry state of their lives – and Broaden Your Mind, which seemed like a 60s version of Look Around You.

What was bad about it?

• Much of the humour had dated very badly. This is not a criticism of the wit of the original shows, more that the humour relied heavily on topical issues that were perplexing to a contemporary audience. For instance, it was possible to appreciate that the sketch about Captain Fishface may have been a hilarious pastiche of a Birds Eye Fishfingers advert, but without remembering the ad itself, it merely seems bizarre.

• The allusions to some conspiracy theory as to why the Goodies has never been repeated anywhere. We would surmise that, like executing French aristocrats, denying women the vote or locking 10 strangers in a house together for a TV show, it was very much of its time and today would be a risible and outmoded form of entertainment.

• The Funky Gibbon. Any period of music can be wrought to appear the worst in history if you can find those generation-defining abominations.

• The Cambridge Circus, who were essentially a bunch of Cambridge Footlights, including Tim and Bill, who performed their awful show on Broadway. It was the kind of novelty act some Americans expect to see from the top deck of a London tourist bus as common behaviour amongst the bowler-hatted, repressed Brits.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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