» Graeme & Tim Q&A In...
(from C&G #100 April 2004)
One of the undisputed highlights of the C&G has been the opportunity on several occasions for readers to have their questions about "The Goodies" answered by two of the stars of the show. Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden have been tremendously supportive of both the fan club and newsletter since our early days and have been incredibly generous in willingly answering all of the nosey questions that we've fired at them during this time, to our eternal thanks and appreciation.
As a special treat for our 100th edition, here are some more great responses from both Graeme and Tim:
HOW WERE THE GOODIES BOOKS WRITTEN? DID THE THREE OF YOU SIT AROUND TOGETHER AND WRITE OR SPLIT UP AND WRITE THE BITS RELEVANT TO YOUR CHARACTER?
GRAEME: We sat around together as little as possible, then went and wrote our bits on our own, then put them all together. Couldn't you tell?
TIM: We sat around together and thought of ideas and then went away and wrote our bits, not necessarily to do with our character. If someone wanted to do a parody of something then they did it. The problem was then trying to find a storyline to join up all the bits. The ideas, as you will see were not story led. The mistake we made with the last one, ‘The Making of the Goodies Disaster Movie’ was that we stuck to a story more rigidly. We should have known better, people dip in and out of this sort of book and if you didn’t read it chronologically then it doesn’t make a lot of sense
IS THERE ANY CHANCE OF BILL ODDIE RETURNING TO "I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE", AT LEAST AS A GUEST?
GRAEME: I still feel that would be cruel.
TIM: Not really. Bill quit years ago as he found it too stressful. This is all the more amazing as he’s the least stressed of the three of us in most areas.
IF THE DECISION HAD BEEN MADE TO FIND A PERMANENT REPLACEMENT FOR WILLIE RUSHTON IN ISIHAC, WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR CHOICE?
GRAEME: None of us could make a choice - which is why a permanent replacement has never been found.
TIM: A difficult, though good, question. At the time I wouldn’t have had a clue (please excuse the unintended pun) though Stephen Fry would have been a good choice. If I had to choose someone for all the shows it would probably be Sandi Toksvig. She and I work well and easily together and it’s good to have a female. I nearly wrote female member – thank goodness I didn’t. Actually the best partner of all would be Graeme, but he’s already been spoken for.
I READ RECENTLY THAT BILL IS TO APPEAR IN A MOVIE, GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. DO YOU HAVE ANY INTENTIONS TO DO MORE MOVIE WORK, EITHER WRITING OR PERFORMING?
GRAEME: I'm available...
TIM: No plans, but open to offers – especially huge, financial offers.
DO YOU INTEND TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY ANY TIME?
GRAEME: I think this is as close as I'll get.
AND WILL IT BE CALLED 'A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIM' AS HUMPH JOKED IN A RECENT ISIHAC EPISODE?
TIM: I liked the joke, in fact I’d used it myself in another round. I’ve often thought of writing such a book, but I know I won’t as anything remotely interesting would be liable to libel.
WHICH DO YOU THINK WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT GOODIES EPISODE TO MAKE?
GRAEME: Possibly the very first one, because at every stage we had to convince everybody - including ourselves - that it was going to work!
TIM: The ones with most visual effects were always difficult, something like The Movies for example. But the worst part was always the weather, trying to look hot on a cold day was extremely difficult. Trying to capture Rolf Harris in the Bush w with a temperature of -2 Celsius for example
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHO WROTE WHAT IN BUNFIGHT AT THE OK TEAROOMS, EARTHANASIA AND RADIO GOODIES, OR A FEW OF YOUR FAVOURITE EPISODES?
GRAEME: I think - and my memory is very hazy here, that it was:
Bunfight: part 1 Graeme, part 2 Bill
Earthanasia: part 1 Graeme, part 2 Bill
Radio: part 1 Bill, part 2 Graeme
Or it may have been Grant and Naylor...!
TIM: I know I wrote the best bits, but apart from that, no. Graeme and Bill, as they keep telling me, wrote a great deal more than me. They also point out that you can spot the bits that I didn’t write as they usually consisted of scenes where I got badly hurt.
IS THERE A POSSIBILITY OF A NEW GOODIES EPISODE, NOT NECESSARILY FOR UK
TELEVISION (AS TIM HAS SAID EARLIER THAT HE FEELS REPEATS ARE NECESSARY
BEFORE HE WOULD WANT TO MAKE ONE), BUT PERHAPS FOR AUSTRALIAN TV, OR MAYBE A SPECIAL EPISODE RELEASED STRAIGHT ONTO A FORTHCOMING DVD?
GRAEME: It would be fun to play the old characters again - maybe in a cameo for something. I don't see a whole episode though.
TIM: No. It wouldn’t be financially viable. Although the DVD has sold well, it’s not sold well enough for an original episode. The medical bills alone, just to keep us going, would be prohibitive.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST GUEST IN ISIHAC?
GRAEME: They're all great - that's why we have them on. My favourite was Dame Judi Dench, who came on as guest in a round called 'Celebrity What's My Line?' We had to guess her job. We got it in the end.
TIM: They’re all great. What a little creep I am. But see above for a good starter.
DO YOU INTEND TO START A PERSONAL WEBSITE, E.G GRAEMEGARDEN.COM, TIMBROOKETAYLOR.COM?
GRAEME: I don't know how. Actually, I don't know why.
TIM: Yes. But I’ve been saying that for a long time
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT BILL BEING AWARDED AN OBE?
GRAEME: I was delighted. I'm still laughing.
TIM: Next question please.
How could he accept? I mean how could he?
Who wants a silly O.B.E anyway? (sob, sob)
Now a C.B.E, like my father, that’s a different question.
‘Sir Tim’ has a ring to it.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL PLANS FOR I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN'S 40TH
GRAEME: Not yet. When is it?
TIM: Not that I know of.
DO YOU KNOW IF THERE ARE ANY PLANS TO RELEASE FURTHER EPISODES OF "I'M
SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN" ON CD/CASSETTE? THE LAST COLLECTION (ISIRTA 4) CAME OUT ABOUT SEVEN YEARS AGO.
GRAEME: I don't know, and they don't tell us. I was surprised there were 4.
TIM: I don’t anything about that either. Sorry.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BBC7? WERE YOU (TIM) AWARE THAT AT ONE POINT LAST YEAR YOU HAD THREE SHOWS ON THAT STATION EVERY WEEK ("I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE", "HELLO CHEEKY", AND "I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN"). HAVE THEY ASKED YOU TO HOST ANY SHOWS FOR THEM?
GRAEME: Now it's settling down I think it's excellent. It's a shame it's only on digital, as it's perfect in-car listening, and like most people I don't have a digital radio in my car. They haven't asked me to host anything. I'm probably too grand.
TIM: When I remember to listen to BBC7 it’s great. I’ve come across ‘I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again’ shows that I don’t even remember doing and, to my embarrassment, I’ve found myself laughing out loud.
IN MANY SERIES 5 EPISODES OF "THE GOODIES" THE CHALKBOARD IN THE OFFICE HAS NOTES ABOUT "FUNKY GIBBON" CLIMBING THE POP CHARTS (SUCH AS "IT'S GIBBON TIME" AND THE RECORD'S CHART POSITION). I BELIEVE THAT IN ONE EPISODE IT ACTUALLY SAYS "BUY FUNKY GIBBON". DID YOU GET IN ANY TROUBLE FOR VIOLATING THE BBC'S RULES AGAINST ADVERTISING?
GRAEME: No. [Currently available on CD 'The Best of the Goodies' PIESD243]
TIM: Sssh! They might hear you. No we had no trouble, but then the powers that be probably hadn’t even noticed. It was the one series where we were able to be topical as we were recording on the Friday before transmission on the following Monday.
IS THERE A CHANCE OF A TELEVISION VERSION OF HAMISH AND DOUGAL?
GRAEME: Barry Cryer and I feel that it wouldn't work on TV - or not in the same way that it does on the wireless. It does depend on listeners' imaginations to conjure up the wonders of the Glen. Illustrating the ideas would in some way take away the madness and the fun. However, a Hamish and Dougal book is in development...
CAN YOU DESCRIBE ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE WRITING STYLES OF TIM, BILL AND YOURSELF?
GRAEME: I don't know that Tim and Bill write very much these days, but I'm still writing a lot, so I guess the answer is it takes me longer.
I'VE HEARD THAT YOU WROTE SOME MATERIAL WITH RED DWARF WRITERS DOUG NAYLOR AND ROB GRANT, BUT I'VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FIND MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT THIS. IS IT TRUE, AND IF SO WHAT DID YOU WRITE WITH THEM?
GRAEME: Not that I'm aware of.
I WAS WATCHING THE 'ALTERNATIVE ROOTS' EPISODE THE OTHER DAY, WHERE YOUR
ANCESTORS ARE SHOWN TO BE FROM SCOTLAND. ARE YOU REALLY OF SCOTTISH
BACKGROUND OR WAS THIS JUST YOUR (OR TIM OR BILL'S) DECISION FOR YOUR
CHARACTER IN THE EPISODE?
GRAEME: Yes, I was born in Aberdeen, and lived in Macduff till I was 4. My maternal ancestors were the McHardy's, legendary giants who won all the Braemar Games in the 19th century - many of them going away to Canada and New Zealand to be policemen. One McHardy was known as 'The Infant', as he only grew to be 6 ft tall.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO AUSTRALIA?
GRAEME: Not yet, but I certainly want to.
WHAT STYLE BANJO DO YOU PLAY? WHAT MUSIC INSPIRED YOU TO WANT TO LEARN THE BANJO?
GRAEME: I always thought Bluegrass music was very jolly, but it's tricky to play, so I never really got far with the 5-string banjo. My sons are much more musical than me, on keyboards, guitar, yes even banjo. In fact my eldest son John is a professional, and is currently keyboard player in The Scissor Sisters, touring Europe.
RECENTLY "I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE" HAS HAD A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SHOW AND HAS SPUN OFF THE "HAMISH AND DOUGAL" SERIES. HAVE THERE BEEN MORE
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCH EFFORTS DUE TO CLUE HAVING WON MAJOR AWARDS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?
GRAEME: What with those spin-offs plus all the tapes and CDs, I think we don't want to saturate the media, do we?
I WAS WONDERING IF YOU HAD BEEN OFFERED A PART IN GRAHAM CHAPMAN'S YELLOWBEARD, AS MANY OF HIS CAMBRIDGE BUDDIES/EARLY WORKMATES APPEARED IN THE FILM AND I WAS SURPRISED THAT YOU WEREN'T THERE.
TIM: No I wasn’t offered a part. Not for any negative reason. Not being ‘box office’ for America would have been a good enough reason. I saw a play the other day ‘A Very Naughty Boy’ – a life of Graham Chapman’. It was truly excellent, though I did enjoy telling the writer and actors, afterwards, what they’d got wrong. And I did get a mention. Actually I found the piece funny, accurate and moving. I think a fly must have flown into my eye at the end.
IS THERE ANY MORE NEWS ON THE POSSIBLE RADIO VERSION OF THE GOODIES YOU MENTIONED IN THE LAST C & G Q AND A?
TIM: Yes it’s going ahead. Graeme has already recorded a piece with Phil Jupitus and I’m doing the same next week. It’s going to be in two parts and that’s all I know.