» Tim Q&A Interview C...
THE TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR INTERVIEW
(from C&G #63 March 2001)
Our resident Goodie, Tim Brooke-Taylor has been "officially amazing" enough to answer a stack of interesting questions that you, our C&G readers, have sent in to him, so here is the first instalment of Tim's replies:
HOW CLOSE ARE THE THREE OF YOU TO YOUR GOODIES CHARACTERS?
Superficially - very. I happen to be a woolly, left of centre (just) liberal - and not the raving fascist of my character. Bill was pretty far to the left, but not quite so far now I would guess. And Graeme - well - Mr Wise is Mr Wise. Very pragmatic. We always reckoned that Bill's character echoed all our ideas and beliefs more than any other. I am patriotic. But not to the point of turning down Europe. And I do have a double-barrelled name which takes a bit of living down to.
WHAT INSPIRED THE GOODIES TO DO A LIGHTHOUSE EPISODE, AND WAS THE SET IN THIS EPISODE THE SAME ONE USED IN THE DOCTOR WHO EPISODE "HORROR AT FANG ROCK"
I cannot tell you whether this was the Dr Who set. But it's more than likely. I suspect that the whole episode was based on the pun - a little light housekeeping. An uncle of mine pointed out an ad for 'someone to do a little lighthouse keeping, 3 hrs a week'.
ACCORDING TO THE 1976 WISDEN CRICKETERS ALMANAC THERE IS RECORD OF A T.BROOKE-TAYLOR PLAYING IN A 12-A-SIDE CHARITY MATCH AT LORDS ON 18 AUGUST 1975. HE PERFORMED REMARKABLY WELL IN THIS MATCH, CATCHING ONE D.C.S. COMPTON AND RETURNING THE BOWLING FIGURES OF 1-0-8-0 AND THEN FOLLOWING THIS UP WITH 2 NOT OUT WHEN BATTING AT #11 TO TIE THE MATCH... I HAVE TO KNOW, WAS THIS *THE* T.BROOKE-TAYLOR OR SOMEONE ELSE?!
I'm glad you brought this up. And delighted to know that it made Wisden. Yes it was me. I still tell the story of fielding in front of a 17,000 crowd (the ground was full) and a ball coming towards me. I murmured a little prayer, 'Please God, just this once, let me catch the ball in front of so many people'. I did, only to hear the whole crowd let out a huge groan. I had caught the great Denis Compton, on his first appearance at Lords for many, many years, when he was on 49! As he went by I said 'I'm so sorry Denis'. To which he replied, 'Don't worry son, I was knackered'. I got to know Denis quite well later and he appeared as a guest on my 'This Is Your Life' where the great man made out that I was great loss to Test cricket. In fact I was a very average player, but he was a generous man and wanted to make me feel good.
I OFTEN AMUSE MYSELF (PLEASE CONFIRM THAT I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE OUT THERE DOING THIS!!) WITH WHAT NATIONAL SCANDALS THE GOODIES WOULD CHOOSE TO MIMIC IF YOU WERE STILL WRITING SCRIPTS TODAY? (I CAN SEE THE THREE OF YOU DRESSED UP AS MAD COWS AFTER THE SCARE...)
Mad cows certainly. I could see us defining 'mad', for example as a cow that liked watching Nicholas Parsons and playing Max Bygraves records. And being the head of BBC 2 and not re-playing the Goodies.
WHAT FAMOUS PERSONAGES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO LAUGH OFF NOWADAYS? (YOU COULD STILL GET MILEAGE OUT OF CILLA, ROLF AND NICHOLAS PARSONS, THOUGH TONY BLACKBURN AND BARBARA WOODHOUSE WOULD NEED REPLACING)
Anne Robinson. Jeffrey Archer, Oasis, Anne Widdecome, Chris Tarrant, the Teletubbies, Boy Bands. I need to think further on this.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF SOMETHING NEW FROM THE GOODIES?
Strangely enough there's quite a bit of talk of us doing a radio show together. There's quite a bit of interest. I really think we need some UK terrestrial repeats first. Yes I'm still optimistic.
WAS THERE EVER ANY FRICTION BETWEEN TIMBOLINA AND DAME EDNA EVERAGE?
Dame Edna who?
I actually went to see Dame Edna quite a few years ago and found that I'd been put in the front row. I changed my seat. I'm not completely stupid. I am, in fact, a great fan of the dame.
Timita would have put up a good fight, if required.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER, APART FROM THE GOODIES?
That's difficult, because somethings become highlights in retrospect - the two radio shows I'm Sorry I'll read That Again and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue being cases in point.
I was very proud of following Peter Cook on the Braden Beat many years ago, in a thirteen week run in a solo spot. Wrote and performed.The first series of You Must Be the Husband is one of the best things I have ever done. Not so, sadly, the second.
Dying the death with Marty at the Royal Command Show. And writing and acting with Orson Welles.
I'm also very pleased with the radio programme I wrote and presented last year. 'Tim's Links'.
I've just heard an audio tape of Graeme and myself in Broaden Your Mind. Our writing and performing as 'Teddy and Freddie was actually better than I remembered..
Other than that it's quite big things I've 'got away with'
I always forget - 'Hello Cheeky' the radio series were something to be proud of.
IN 'I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE', THERE IS A ROUND CALLED 'PICK UP SONG', (WHERE EACH PANELLIST HAS TO TRY TO STAY IN TIME WITH A SONG WHILE THE VOLUME IS TURNED DOWN, AND THEN UP AGAIN AFTER A SUITABLE PERIOD). THE ONLY SONGS THAT I'VE HEARD YOU STAY IN TIME WITH ARE 'THE LONELY GOATHERD' (THE YODELLING CLASSIC FROM THE SOUND OF MUSIC) AND ' LONG HAIRED LOVER FROM LIVERPOOL' BY JIMMY OSMOND - BOTH SUNG IN A RATHER STARTLING FALSETTO. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENT TO MAKE ON THIS? AND HOW DOES GRAEME ALWAYS MANAGE TO STAY IN TIME? DOES HE CHEAT OR HAS HE GOT RHYTHM?
No he doesn't. And, if he does, he's just lucky.
Seriously, he does have a very good sense of time. I've noticed that recently I've had quite a good success rate. I have to admit through sheer luck though, as I've tended to do the 'modern' music (i.e. anything since 1932).
Goatherd and Long haired Lover are easy rhythms - that's why I had a success with the Monkees. To be honest I don't mind if anyone's in time as long as it's a laugh. Willie Rushton was the best. He's mumble a bit of the song, then ramble on about what a rotten song it was and invariably get it right.
WHICH SKETCHES DID YOU WRITE FOR 'AT LAST THE 1948 SHOW'?
I honestly cannot remember in detail. I did write the Chartered Accountant and one about a one man army. I also had a hand in co-writing quite number with Marty. We all wrote the Four Yorkshiremen.
ARE YOU A GRANDFATHER?
Not that I know of. But I have one married son and the other is marrying in August. And anyway I'm far too young.
THE TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR INTERVIEW
(from C&G #64 April 2001)
More fabulous answers to your questions from that nice man with the Union Jack waistcoat, shiny shoes and the ability to turn himself into a teapot (or coffee percolator!) at the first sign of trouble:
WHAT FAMOUS LADIES WOULD YOU ASPIRE TO EMULATE, AND HANG AS A POSTER ABOVE YOUR BED? (THE QUEEN IS GETTING A LITTLE WEARYSOME FOR THE PUBLIC AND MARGARET HAS LONG LEFT THE HIGHLIGHTS)
Good question. I suppose Ann Widdecombe could be one and Ann Robinson. What we would really miss is a Mary Whitehouse. Perhaps members could send in their own suggestions - especially international names. I could see myself as Puffy the Vampire Slayer and a lady gardener, Charlie Dimmock, with ever growing breasts.
I HAVE COUSINS IN ENGLAND WHO WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO SEE YOU IN A PRODUCTION OF "WHY ME". WILL YOU BE COMING TO AUSTRALIA WITH IT? ALSO WHICH BBC RADIO STATION AND TIME IS YOUR PROGRAM WITH GRAEME ON?
No plans to come to Australia with a play, tho' this is something I'd very much like to do. My experiences on stage in the late 70's and early eighties in Perth are some of my best.
We're not on air at the moment, but will return in May. C&G will keep you informed. They will probably go out 18.30 on Mondays and noon Sundays (our time), all on BBC Radio 4. I know we've had feedback from America, having heard it on the internet, so I presume that will be possible for the next series.
HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED LIKE GRAEME OR BILL? (HAD A BEARD, FUZZY CHOPS, GLASSES ETC)
Certainly not intentionally. I once had a very unconvincing, 'Shaggy' like beard. But I'd rather forget about that. One of the joys of one of the shows, when we changed characters (2001 And A Bit - Ed), was the feeling of 'so this is what it's like. No thanks'. (We all felt that).
There was one very dramatic moment when Bill shaved off his beard half way through the show (Earthanasia) and word came from the production gallery that they weren't quite sure if they'd got a previous shot of Bill with full beard at the time. Bill had half the beard shaved off at this moment (not a pretty sight) and he had to put on half a false beard to re-shoot the scene. History doesn't remember if this shot was used or not.
WHAT SORT OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE?
Audi 100. Fairly powerful (2.3) and fairly old. But much loved.
IN THE KITTEN KONG EPISODE, AFTER BILL AND YOURSELF JUMP INTO THE QUICK CHANGE CABINET, I NOTICED THAT IT WASN'T THE REAL GRAEME ENTERING. WHO WAS IT?
Blimey. How spooky. I don't remember. I would imagine it was one of the extras
DID YOU OBJECT TO BEING WRITTEN INTO DRAG ROLES BY BILL AND GRAEME IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE EVERY SECOND EPISODE? OR DID YOU LIKE CROSS DRESSING? DID YOU THINK YOU LOOKED MORE BEAUTIFUL AS TIMITA OR MISS CRICKLEWOOD?
Once we realised that the best parts were the villains then it was who gets the female villains. I handbagged my way to them. Timita.
HOW WAS IT THAT (FOR EXAMPLE) BILL GOT BAKED BEANS ON THE HEAD (IN THE GOODIES AND THE BEANSTALK) AND THAT GRAEME GOT A FACEFUL OF SPAGHETTI (IN SCOUTRAGEOUS), WHEN IT WAS NORMALLY YOU THAT HAD TO ENDURE THESE THINGS? DID GRAEME EVER WRITE SCENES WHERE BILL COPPED IT OR VICE VERSA? (SURELY THEY DIDN'T WRITE THEMSELVES INTO THE UNPLEASANT ROLES!)
Although I don't claim to have written the series. I did write some and had considerable control over other bits. These must have been the bits.
I'VE OFTEN HEARD THAT BILL WOULD WRITE ONE HALF OF AN EPISODE AND GRAEME THE OTHER, AND THEN (WITH YOUR ASSISTANCE) THEY'D JOIN THEM TOGETHER. IF THIS IS TRUE, IS THERE ANY WAY OF TELLING WHO WROTE WHICH HALF, I.E. ARE THERE ANY OBVIOUS CLUES OR PARTICULAR STYLES TO LOOK OUT FOR? SUCH AS, IF THERE IS A FART JOKE IN ONE HALF, IS THAT A GIVE-AWAY THAT BILL WROTE IT?
I could always tell the difference. Well I knew their typewriters. One give-away would be the stage direction 'Bill sings'. Graeme and I would never have written that.
If I was to generalise I'd say that Bill we better visually and Graeme verbally. But even as I write that I'd say it wasn't true. You must remember that we'd agreed vaguely on the outline before the two halves were written.
The only bits that I can point out as being definitely by me are the links in 'A Collection of Goodies'. The other two weren't available to write them.
THERE IS AN ENTRY IN 'THE COMPLETE GOODIES' ON PETER COOK, WHICH STATES YOU WERE THE GOODIE BEST ASSOCIATED WITH HIM, MAINLY THROUGH YOUR SHARED LOVE OF GOLF. DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD PETER COOK ANECDOTES?
Not really, though I'll think about this. He used to ring me up, admittedly a bit pissed or whatever and be, to me, incredibly funny, but not really quotable.
THE BROTHEL-VISITING SCENE IN 'A LIAR'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY' (BY GRAHAM CHAPMAN) REVEALED A HITHERTO UNEXPECTED SIDE TO YOU, IN SPITE OF THE LACK OF ACTION. DID YOU GET ANY FEEDBACK WHEN THIS WAS PUBLISHED AND STARTLED READERS HAD TO DEAL WITH A NEW IMAGE OF YOU? I BELIEVE YOU ALSO READ THIS SECTION OF GRAHAM'S BOOK AT HIS MEMORIAL SERVICE, IS THIS TRUE?
F*** me it's true. Although we weren't successful in Hong Kong. It's a completely true story though.
I wanted to say f*** first at Graham's memorial service - he would have liked it. But that bastard, overpaid, 'academic' Cleese, got in first. I was second and Michael Palin was third.
I HEARD THAT THE SCRIPT FOR THE PROPOSED GOODIES MOVIE WAS TO EXPLAIN HOW THE GOODIES MET. HOW, IN THE MOVIE SCRIPT, DID THEY MEET?
Graeme is a vet, 'Dr G Garden' and we see him with a family tortoise. He taps it and passes on the bad news.
'I'm afraid he's failing fast, but I can assure you that he won't feel a thing.
Plunger type detonator and an enormous explosion far behind him on the hillside makes it an ex tortoise.
Bill is a children's entertainer 'Silly Billy'. His puppet is Raymond Rat. But Silly Billy is made up as a frightening clown. The children begin screaming 'We want the rat.' Bill cuffs a little girl with the hand enclosed in the rat. When the mother comes into complain he punches her with the same glove.
Tim is presenting his Spring Collection at 'Maison Timbeau'. He then sets off for an office building and pulls back overgrowth to see sign 'Reactionary House'.
6th Royal society for the prevention of cruelty to huntsmen. Empire League of Spankers
5th Retired Colonels anon.
4th Friends of the spat. The nice shiny shoe club.
3rd The British Union of Tie wearers
2nd The keep sport out of cricket campaign.
1st The British Olympic Committee.
Tim goes to Olympic floor to deliver British team uniforms that he is supplying. All very old men with lapels e.g. 'Athens 1896' and panning to skeleton Sparta 341 BC.
There's no money and athletes are begging on the streets. Tim acts as fund raiser and writes to goodies 'Dear Goody'
Huge turn out and big turn on with Land of Hope and Glory, Tim raises the room to fever pitch, nuns etc singing until 'What we really need is your money'...and everybody scarpers..revealing Bill with fingers in his ear. Graeme pops up with one of the Olympic peace doves 'Shall I finish him off...he's not well'.
Tim turns to his new partners with a hopeful glint in his eye.
Music: Goodies Theme
Cut to a door. On it a sign. "The Goody"...Tim's hand comes into shot and alters it to "The Goodies"
And the rest as they say is history. Well to Jane Root anyway
THE TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR INTERVIEW
(from C&G #65 May 2001)
More fabulous replies from Tim to those questions that you've always wanted to ask about "The Goodies", but never had a genuine Goodie to ask them to ...
I RECENTLY READ ABOUT AN ACCOUNTANCY FIRM IN BUXTON WHO WERE CHANGING THEIR NAME. THEY ARE (OR WERE, I CAN'T REMEMBER) CALLED BROOKE-TAYLOR'S. IS THERE ANY CONNECTION?
I cannot believe there is an accountancy firm with the name of Brooke-Taylor. There is a legal firm which is/was called Bennett, Brooke-Taylor and Wright. My father was the original Brooke-Taylor and my brother Martin has just retired from the firm. As there is no longer a Bennett, a Brooke-Taylor or a Wright, it seems reasonable if they are changing their name.
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT WON THE GOLDEN ROSE OF MONTREUX COMEDY AWARD THE YEAR THE YEAR THAT KITTEN KONG WON THE SILVER?
I certainly can. It was me. Actually it was a Marty Feldman show and I had written about a fifth of it. I used to have a photo of me smugly holding the gold and the silver. I was in the Marty show that got a silver a few years before when he was definitely robbed. It was reckoned that the 1972 win was consolation as nobody seemed to think it was better than us (Obviously a few judges did though) The Marty show was a compilation show which was basically made for America. The piece I wrote featured Marty and Spike Milligan. The narrator was Orson Welles.
YOU WERE QUOTED IN THE LATE 70S AS SAYING (RE:THE GOODIES) "WE CAN'T GET IN SOME FILTHY BITS BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH A LARGE AUDIENCE OF KIDS. IT'S A TERRIBLE STRAIN BEING GOOD ALL THE TIME." CAN YOU REMEMBER ANY SPECIFIC FILTHY BITS THAT HAD TO BE REMOVED?
The classic instance, and this can hardly be called naughty now, was when I said 'bloody'. The whole point was that Graeme and Bill were astonished that I had used such a 'naughty' word. I was made to re-dub it afterwards to 'ruddy'. It's ironical when you think of how much was censored for Australia
HAS THE BRITISH PRESS EVER RUN ANY STORIES ABOUT YOU FAILING TO LIVE UP TO YOUR GOODIE IMAGE, SUCH AS "SO CALLED 'GOODY' TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHED TIRED AND EMOTIONAL OUTSIDE STRINGFELLOWS WEARING HIS UNDIES ON HIS HEAD" OR SIMILAR? IF SO WE WOULD ALL BE INTERESTED TO HEAR THE DETAILS!
In the Sun here (for non-UK readers the Sun is the downmarket tabloid of ill repute), it actually had the headline 'Not so goody'. It wasn't so Baddy, I'd been caught speeding. For the rest I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.
WILL THERE BE A "HUMPH TURNS 80" SPECIAL EPISODE OF 'I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE' IN MAY THIS YEAR WHEN THE CHAIRMAN REACHES THIS MILESTONE? AND HAS THE AGEING PROCESS IMPROVED HIS TEMPER?
There are about to be two radio programmes. One on Radio 2 which is basically on the music and one on Radio 4 for the rest, with a special emphasis on I'm Sorry. We've all been interviewed already. It goes out, I think, on May 19th. May his temper never improve.
OVER THE SEASONS OF THE GOODIES, YOU HAD TO FILM A LOT OF BIZARRE THINGS. WHEN YOU WOULD GO HOME EACH EVENING AND YOUR WIFE ASKED HOW YOUR DAY WAS, DID YOU SAY THINGS LIKE: "I'VE BEEN WRESTLING A MANIC SHEEP IN A ROMAN ARENA/SPENT THE DAY DOWN A CREAM MINE/SPENT HOURS IN THE THAMES BEING MENACED BY A GIANT COD/GOT ALL FROCKED UP AS TIMITA"? OR WAS IT "OH, JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE..."???
I don't think I'd have ever gone into detail, just 'I'm knackered'. And Christine would say 'Nothing new there then - anyway I've got a headache'; or words to that effect. I just remember being exhausted all of the time. Not just filming, but also dubbing, editing travelling and re-writing.
DID YOUR SONS EVER APPEAR ON THE SHOW?
I remember Christine acting as an extra with a pram. One of the boys was in the pram and the other was toddling alongside. All shot on Hampstead Heath. Filmically of course.
TONY BLACKBURN WAS ONE OF THE GOODIES FAVOURITE TARGETS DURING THE SHOW, BUT HE ENDED UP GUEST STARRING NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE (GOODIES RULE-OK AND SCATTY SAFARI). SO DID THAT MEAN THAT HE WAS AN INCREDIBLY GOOD SPORT (CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM IN SCATTY SAFARI, HE MUST LITERALLY HAVE BEEN!) OR WAS HE JUST INCREDIBLY STUPID?
To give him his due, he was smart enough to know that any publicity was good publicity. We were amazed when he agreed to appear, considering the scripts, but good on him for doing it.