» DVD Review
THE GOODIES - THE COMPLETE LWT SERIES
by Brett Allender
(from C&G 146 January 2008)
"The Goodies - The Complete LWT Series" is the third Goodies DVD release by Network Video following "The Goodies - At Last" in 2003 and "The Goodies - A Tasty Second Helping" in 2005, with the first two releases also available in a single unit titled "The Goodies - The Tasty Box"
"The Goodies - The Complete LWT Series" is a 2 DVD set which was released in the UK on 26th March 2007, however it has not been released in Australia as yet. One bit of good news though is that the set is encoded both Region 2 and Region 4 PAL, making it compatible for Australian DVD players and it is readily available from online DVD retailers. With Santa very kindly delivering me a copy of it for Christmas (a much nicer present than receiving Tim's sweaty socks anyway!) I thought that I should at least write a review of it to highlight what the newest addition to the Goodies DVD collection has to offer for fans considering ordering a copy of it from afar.
DISC 1 The Complete LWT Series (7 episodes)
The following episode descriptions are from my Goodies Episode Guide:
Snow White 2
The Goodies are kicked out of the Seven Dwarves for being too tall and are lost and unemployed until they attempt to enter the castle controlled by the princesses.
Due to dire financial conditions, Bill is fired and replaced with a baby robot; however Tim and Graeme need help with raising the robot and hire a strange bearded Swedish nanny to look after it.
Bill the soccer hooligan is in fine form as Tim becomes Chief of Police in a bid to stamp out such boorish conduct, with football then becoming so boring that its fans flock to the ballet instead.
The Goodies set off to the Canadian Rockies in search of the mythical Arthur C Clarke, but find all sorts of other weird creatures including the legendary Bigfoot.
Change Of Life
The Goodies are preparing to close their business due to old age until the threat of the robot taking over forces them to undertake the Standard Test to see if they are still capable of being Goodies.
A supposedly relaxing holiday in the seaside village of Dunsquabblin turns very stressful when the Goodies are trapped inside for seventeen days due to heavy rain and snow.
Graeme's pet shop has a special new line - people dressed up as animals, but they also suffer from being dumped so Tim sets up a protection society, while Graeme cruelly puts the strays to work.
Change Of Life and Holidays also have the optional special feature of commentary tracks by Bill, Graeme and Tim.
Disc 2 Special Features
The Goodies Music Performance Archive:
Clips of The Goodies performing Funky Gibbon, Black Pudding Bertha, Nappy Love, Wild Thing and Make A Daft Noise For Christmas on various music shows
Four TV interviews with various Goodies spanning from 1978 to 1994
Still photos gallery
PDF Script Archive
Doctor In The House: Doctor On The Box (Graeme)
From The Top: Growing Up … And Out (Bill)
Tim judges a Turkey Competition
Programme notes – The Goodies. The Complete LWT Series
A 28 page full-colour booklet on the making of the series, by Andrew Pixley
Unlike the first two DVD releases which were essentially compilations of the "best Goodies episodes" hand-picked from the various BBC series, this release comprises of an entire series of The Goodies; the one which they made with London Weekend Television in 1981/1982 which proved to be the final series of The Goodies ever made.
This is of particular interest to Australian fans because these episodes were never shown on the ABC throughout their repeated screenings of The Goodies from the 1970s until the early 1990s, although apparently Channel 7 screened the LWT episodes to their metropolitan audiences a few times in their runs of The Goodies during the 1980s.
Up until now only 4 of these episodes (Football Crazy, Robot, Bigfoot and Change Of Life) have been available publicly on a long-ago and hard-to-obtain video release, so it's great to be able to to have all of these "hidden" episodes released in a single set.
The only drawback with a full series release is that you have to take the good (such as Robot and Football Crazy) with the bad (Holidays and to a lesser extent, Animals) and the ugly, but enjoyable (Snow White 2), however for the serious Goodies fan (if there's such a thing!) it's something long overdue given that most other TV shows are released by series nowadays. Now if only we could have the 8 BBC series of The Goodies released in this format as well …
As with their first two Goodies DVDs, Network has again done a great job in making the episodes look and sound so much better than any copies that fans have previously been able to view on video. The sound quality on Tim's turkey segment is rather low and muffled, but all of the Goodies material comes through loud and clear.
It's a wonderful bonus for fans that Tim, Graeme and Bill have again made the effort to sit down together and reminisce while watching the episodes of Change Of Life and Holidays. The Change Of Life commentary track makes for fascinating listening, especially as the episode itself deals with the Goodies sending up some of their own finest moments like the giant kitten, Ecky Thump, patriotic speeches etc. The Holidays track also has some amusing recollections, but with the most interesting bits being an explanation of why they left the BBC to go to LWT and Bill threatening to reveal the rules of ISIHAC's Mornington Crescent, this seems a fair reflection on the tedium of the Holidays episode itself. Perhaps a commentary track on either Robot or Football Crazy would have been of more interest.
Network have continued the brilliant standard that they set in the first two DVD releases for special features with a selection guaranteed to please any fan of The Goodies.
In the Goodies music archive, there are thoroughly enjoyable performances of Funky Gibbon and Black Pudding Bertha on "Shangalang" (although Graeme's microphone doesn't work for the first half of Funky Gibbon) and Nappy Love, Wild Thing and Make A Daft Noise For Christmas on "Look Alive", all from their peak music year of 1975.
The interview archive features Tim and Graeme interviewed at the Cambridge Theatre while The Goodies still ruled the comedy scene in 1978, plus three other post-Goodies interviews with one or more of the Goodies from 1983, 1993 and 1994
There is a two minute-long stills gallery of excellent photos taken from all of the LWT episodes, plus an archive of PDF scripts of the episodes, plus a solo appearance from each Goodie. Graeme has a cameo role in "Doctor In The House: Doctor On The Box", which he and Bill co-wrote from 1970, Bill excels in an over-the-top performance in From The Top, a children's show about a drama school from 1986, while Tim in full patriotic Union Jack waistcoat mode is pictured judging a Turkey Competition of all things in 1981.
Perhaps the best special feature though is the wonderfully informative Programme Notes accompanying the discs which have been written by GROK's very own Andrew Pixley. As with the programme guide in "The Goodies - A Tasty Second Helping" (and "The Goodies - The Tasty Box") Network has combined Andrew's typically well-researched and superbly written work with colour photos from the episodes and the end result is a nicely-presented and eminently readable booklet containing all sorts of fascinating information about the making of the LWT series that you'd never find in any other publication – great reading for any Goodies fan.
Again maintaining their earlier standards, Network have done a top job in making the DVDs as user-friendly as possible. All of the episodes are on Disc 1 and the special features are on Disc 2, so it's quick and easy to find what you're looking for. I particularly like the setup of the commentary tracks where the episode is selected from the main menu and it then gives you the option of viewing it with or without the commentary track rather than the version of the episode with the commentary being buried away among the special features somewhere.
Officially Amazing! An essential addition to every Goodies fan's DVD collection, especially as these are among the "lost" episodes that most Australian (and indeed worldwide) fans of the show have never got to see. In fact many Goodies fans may not even be aware that these LWT shows exist, in which case you've got a real treat to look forward to. Worth it just for Robot and Football Crazy alone, but the rest of the episodes and special features hold plenty of interest too.
Episode Choice - IIII Officially Amazing
Episode Restoration - III 1/2 Amazingly Goodie
Commentary Tracks - III Goodie Goodie Yum Yum
Special Features – IIII 1/2 Super Amazing
Menus/Technical Stuff - IIII Officially Amazing
OVERALL - IIII Officially Amazing
"The Goodies - The Complete LWT Series" is available from various online stockists, but both Amazon and Sendit have it on special as part of their January sales.
Price: £6.48 & eligible for Free UK delivery on orders over £15 with Super Saver Delivery.
Sendit.com sale on "The Complete LWT Series" DVD
On sale for £7.39 (plus free shipping in the UK and Ireland).