» Q&A Interview 2008
Graeme & Tim (from C&G 151, 152 & 153 – Jun/Jul/ Aug 2008)
IF YOU WERE STILL MAKING "THE GOODIES", WHICH CURRENT TOPICS WOULD YOU WANT TO PARODY? HOW DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HANDLE THE SUBJECT OF OUT-OF-CONTROL PAPARAZZI?
TIM: We'd definitely be dealing with reality shows – Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice etc etc. Probably one of us would be on the show, believing our own publicity, while the other two look on in amazement on the office TV. We did of course do 'Come Dancing'.
We would also have a go at 'Celebrity' and paparazzi would be a big part of that.
GRAEME: Just about anything you see on TV or in the cinema or the newpapers! Hogwarts would never be the same again, and I bet Timita could give Gordon Brown a run for his money.
WHO WAS THE MORE FORMIDABLE FOE - TWINKLE THE GIANT KITTEN OR THE GIANT DOUGAL?
TIM: Twinkle definitely. This is mostly because we could hear the cursing of those having to manoeuvre Dougal around whilst chasing us.
DO YOU WATCH BILL'S NATURE SHOWS?
TIM: Not all of them. He certainly knows his stuff.
GRAEME: Hard to avoid them Not that I try to, of course!
INCREASINGLY BROADCASTERS AND OTHER RIGHTS HOLDERS ARE MAKING TELEVISION SHOWS AVAILABLE ONLINE; THIS INCLUDES BOTH CURRENT AS WELL AS ARCHIVAL SERIES. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE "THE GOODIES" EPISODES OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE ONLINE (WHETHER IT BE FOR AD-SUPPORTED FREE PLAYBACK OR PAID DOWNLOADS)? DO YOU KNOW OF ANY SERVICES THAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERING THIS?
TIM: I certainly don't know of anyone doing this. I'd just love to see them on mainstream TV because there the public can decide whether they stand up or not. Downloads, I suspect, would be for those who already like the show.
WERE THE NICHOLAS PARSONS MASKS A GOODIES CREATION OR WERE THE HORRID THINGS ACTUALLY PART OF NICHOLAS'S REPERTOIRE OR MERCHANDISE AT THE TIME?
TIM: A Goodies creation. Even Nicholas wouldn't…no wait a minute…
WAS TIM'S MEGALOMANIAC, BUT RATHER CAMP, TV DIRECTOR ("CUE THE SONG!") IN "HYPE PRESSURE" A SEND-UP OF ANYONE IN PARTICULAR?
GRAEME: It was based on a TV producer called Mike Mansfield, who had a mane of white hair and liked to include shots of himself in the control gallery during pop shows.
IS THERE ANY CHANCE OF FURTHER GOODIES CDS BEING RELEASED, PARTICULARLY OF THE MUSIC FROM THE EPISODES (SUCH AS "RUN")?
TIM: I wouldn't think so.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE FULL-SIZED GOODIES MOBILE OFFICE PROP WHICH WAS USED IN THE EPISODES "THE NEW OFFICE" AND "THE RACE"? DO YOU KNOW IF IT WAS EVER RECYCLED FOR USE IN OTHER SHOWS?
TIM: Not to my knowledge
GRAEME: It was a dummy house built around a truck, and I guess was dismantled when they needed the truck again. Incidentally the only way to get it to locations was to drive it along the main roads – which caused a few screeches of brakes!
WHAT IS THE CORRECT SPELLING FOR A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE GOODIES - GOODY OR GOODIE?
TIM: I use Goody
GRAEME: Goody I think.
IN WHICH CURRENT SHOWS (TV, RADIO, THEATRE) WOULD YOU LIKE TO APPEAR?
TIM: QI, some soaps (Casualty, Holby City), Doctor Who
GRAEME: Very much looking forward to re-launching I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SO MANY OF YOUR FEMALE FANS THAT LOVE AND ADORE YOU?
TIM: I feel the same way about them. Actually I'm extremely flattered and just hope they don't visit their opticians too soon.
GRAEME: The feeling is mutual. It does us old fellas a power of good!
DID YOU ENJOY BEING THE SUBJECT OF THE "BEANZ MEANZ HEANZ" SPOOF ADS, BEING ON THE RECEIVING END OF ALL THE PHYSICAL BAKED BEANS AND HITTING ACTIONS INVOLVED?
TIM: I enjoyed the character and there's nothing better than a bath in Baked Beans is there? Is there?
WHAT RECOLLECTIONS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT WRITING THE VARIOUS EPISODES OF "DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE" AND "DOCTOR AT LARGE" ALONG WITH BILL IN 1969 TO 1971? DID YOU ENJOY THE WRITING EXPERIENCE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY MEMORABLE ANECDOTES FROM IT? HAVE YOU RECENTLY SEEN ANY EPISODES ON DVD AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THEM SOME 35 YEARS LATER?
GRAEME: We had a look recently and were interviewed for a show about the Dr series. Bill and I discovered we couldn’t remember much about them at all! However the shows themselves stood up better than expected.
THERE'S SOME CONFUSION ABOUT THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE "DECK OF CARDS" SKETCH. THE "TW3" SCRIPT CREDITS "ODDIE/BROOKE-TAYLOR/FROST" (THANKS TO ANDREW PIXLEY FOR THAT PIECE OF INFO). ON THE PARLOPHONE SINGLE, IN WHICH THE SKETCH IS PERFORMED BY DAVID FROST, THE WRITERS ARE LISTED AS TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR & CHRIS STEWART-CLARKE. WHEN THE SKETCH WAS USED IN "I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN" YOU ARE THE SOLE CREDITED WRITER. HOWEVER AT LEAST TWICE DAVID FROST HAS CITED BILL AS THE WRITER (IN BILL'S "THIS IS YOUR LIFE" AND IN A RECENT INTERVIEW). CAN YOU CLEAR UP THE CONFUSION?
TIM: It was written for a college ball cabaret in which Bill, I and Christ Stuart-Clarke were involved. It was written by Chris and myself as far as I remember, but I'm sure Bill had an input and he had a direct line to David Frost.
YOU & BILL HAD A LONG WRITING PARTNERSHIP (WHOSE PRODUCTS INCLUDE "ISIRTA", "THE GOODIES", "DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE", ETC). GIVEN YOUR DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES, HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOU HAD SUCH COMPATIBLE WRITING STYLES? IF THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE, WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN COLLABORATING WITH BILL ON ANOTHER WRITING PROJECT?
I don’t think Bill is into comedy writing these days – he’s too busy doing his wildlife books and telly. I don’t think he’d want me to collaborate on a book about sparrows.
YOU'VE MENTIONED IN INTERVIEWS THAT WHEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO A TV SERIES IN 1968 YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A FRIEND TO DO IT WITH AND IT WAS ERIC IDLE WHO SUGGESTED GRAEME (THE SHOW BECAME "BROADEN YOUR MIND"). I WAS CURIOUS WHY GRAEME WASN'T SOMEONE YOU THOUGHT OF SOONER, SINCE BY THAT TIME YOU'D BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR SEVERAL YEARS ON "I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN".
TIM: I'd never really worked with Graeme properly before. We never really did anything together at Cambridge and, after that, he was training to be a doctor.
IS THERE ANY PRESSURE/LEVERAGE/ECKY-THUMP THAT YOU CAN PUT ON THE TV NETWORKS TO GET THE COMPLETE SERIES OF "THE GOODIES" RELEASED ON DVD?
TIM: I don't think that we can do anymore. The BBC are reluctant and Network, though doing a great job, don't have much help from the BBC.
YOU'VE SPENT THE PAST FEW YEARS FIRST TOURING AS THE GOODIES AND THEN AS PART OF THE CAST OF THE "I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE" STAGE TOUR. SINCE THIS Q&A IS FOR A GOODIES NEWSLETTER I WON'T PUT YOU ON THE SPOT AND ASK YOU WHICH YOU PREFER, BUT WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY CONSIDER TO BE THE PROS & CONS OF EACH TOUR?
TIM: The Goodies shows were fun in a 'let's look and see what it was all about' sort of way.
We did some performing, but not that much and we were having to sell the show.
It was different in Australia because the audience were properly 'educated' and much more fun
'Clue' was better in another way. We were creating new stuff all the time and our audience, this time were 'educated'.
GRAEME: Goodies for Australian audiences, Clue for the UK. Great fun doing both!
WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST QUESTION YOU'VE BEEN ASKED OR REQUEST THAT'S BEEN MADE OF YOU AS A GOODY?
TIM: "Would you please sign this breast Tim and this Brooke. My friend would like hyphen and Taylor".
GRAEME: 'Aren't you Tim Brooke-Taylor?'
My reply: 'No, he is,' pointing at Tim who was standing beside me.
WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE SAMANTHA NOW ON "I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE", BUT WHEN DID SHE GET HER FIRST EXPOSURE ON THE SHOW?
TIM: In Clue we like to keep abreast of modern fashions and in Samantha we were doubly lucky quite a few years ago.
GRAEME: That question could be taken two ways. As could Samantha.
GRAEME, ON THE FORUMS WE ADMIRE ALL ASPECTS OF YOU, AS YOU KNOW, ONE BEING YOUR "EYEWEAR". ONE POINT THAT CAME UP A LITTLE WHILE AGO WAS THIS - DO YOU EVER WEAR CONTACT LENSES THESE DAYS?
GRAEME: No – my eyesight has never been that bad. The specs in most of the Goodies shows didn’t have lenses in them. I lost my real glasses when my canoe capsized filming the Pirate Post Office, so I just used frames from then on. I need specs to read now though…
HOW HARD WAS IT FOR YOU TO KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE IN "SATURDAY NIGHT GREASE" WHEN YOU WERE DRESSED AS A WOMAN IN FRILLY PINK CLOTHING AND HAD TIM TRAVOLTA GAZING INTO YOUR EYES MISTAKING YOU FOR LIVVY AND ASKING YOU TO "SPEAK TO ME IN AUSSIE, YOU CHEEKY LITTLE JUMBUCK!". I KNOW THAT I WOULD HAVE TOTALLY CRACKED UP WITH LAUGHTER MYSELF!
GRAEME: Actually the costume and shoes were too painful for laughing.
DID YOU HAVE ANY INPUT INTO THE 1974 GOODIES ANNUAL? WERE YOU AWARE OF THE BOOK PRIOR TO ITS PUBLICATION?
TIM: No we had no input. We must have known it was going to happen. We were so embarrassed by it that we set to work on our own.
GRAEME: We were aware but didn’t have much control over the content. We made sure we did after that!
A "MORNINGTON CRESCENT" QUESTION: WHEN STUCK ON THE JUBILEE LINE AND UNABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DIAGONALS, BEARING IN MIND THAT MY MOTHER INSISTS ON PLAYING WITH THE UNPOPULAR 1982 REVISIONS, AND DOESN'T RECOGNISE NORTH GREENWICH AS MY HOME STATION, HOW CAN I POSSIBLY STOP HER INVOKING HARTRAMF'S VARIATIONS AND HEADING STRAIGHT TO MORNINGTON CRESCENT? I AM STUCK WITH NORTH GREENWICH SINCE AN UNFORTUNATE (AND UNAUTHORIZED!) STRADDLING INCIDENT IN 2001. ANY ADVICE AT ALL WOULD HELP!
GRAEME: I agree.
TIM: I think you should change your mother. But, seriously, the most important thing is for you to get out of nip and straddle. But not your mother.
YOU BLOKES DID A FEW EPISODES SENDING UP ROLF HARRIS. HAVE YOU IN FACT EVER MET ROLF? I'VE HEARD THAT NONE OF YOU HAVE EVER MET HIM OR VICE VERSA.
TIM: Rolf lives quite near me and we meet quite often. We did all meet him together on one occasion. He was very nice to us – I wish we had been the same to him.
GRAEME: We’ve all met him, and even worked with him.
I KNOW THAT TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR AND BILL ODDIE WENT TO THE SAME UNIVERSITY, WERE GOOD FRIENDS AND PERFORMED COMEDY TOGETHER, BUT WHEN AND HOW DID YOU COME TO TEAM UP WITH THEM?
GRAEME: I was at Cambridge with them, but a year behind them as I am so much younger. We were all in the Footlights Club – Tim was President and I was Pres the year after him.
WHEN YOU HAD SCRIPT MEETINGS FOR "THE GOODIES" EPISODES WOULD YOU DISCUSS THE SORT OF MUSIC NEEDED FOR EACH EPISODE, OR WAS THE CHOICE OF MUSIC SOLELY BILL'S ASSIGNMENT?
TIM: This was Bill’s department and what a fine job he did too.
GRAEME: Bill made all the musical decisions.
HAVING WATCHED THE FEATURE ON THE RESTORATION OF THE ORIGINAL EPISODES' FOOTAGE, I WONDERED IF THIS WAS THE REASON FOR THE SO-FAR UNRELEASED EPISODES; IE DO THEY NEED SUBSTANTIAL TIME/COST TO RESTORE THEM BEFORE THEY COULD BE RELEASED OR ARE THERE OTHER REASONS (MUSIC LICENSING ETC) FOR THEM REMAINING UN-ISSUED? WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF FURTHER BATCHES OF 8 DOUBLE DVDS, A BOX SET OF ALL THE BBC EPISODES, A PART-WORKS DVD/MAGAZINE SERIES OR A SERIES-BY-SERIES RELEASE?
GRAEME: We chose the shows that were good, favourites, and made a balanced selection. Network may be negotiating with the BBC soon to license material for another DVD release.
WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE SUPPLIER OF THE BLACK PUDDINGS FOR THE GREAT PUDDING REBELLION IN "KUNG FU KAPERS", OR WHAT MADE ANYONE PICK THE NAME PECKINPAH'S BLACK PUDDING?
GRAEME: Sam P was notorious at the time for his blood-spattered movies – and black puddings are basically made of blood.
I'M NOT SURE HOW TO PHRASE IT, BUT WHAT HAS GRAEME BEEN UP TO WITH HIS DRAWING/PAINTING/ARTSYFARTSIES OF LATE?
GRAEME: Not a lot. My youngest son Tom is the professional artist in the family now. See www.tomgarden.co.uk. He’s recently been doing designs for a computer-game company called Fuzzyeyes based in Brisbane – though Tom is living in Sweden!
YOUR SON JOHN IS A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN, TOURING NOW WITH THE SCISSOR SISTERS, AND WRITING A BROADWAY SCORE. AS A PARENT, CAN YOU WATCH HIS GIGS ... OR IS IT TOO NERVE-WRACKING?
GRAEME: Course I watch his gigs. Terrific fun!
DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO DO SOME VERSION OF "THE GOODIES" TODAY (SUCH AS AN ANIMATION OR CARTOON)? WOULD IT BE OF INTEREST TO YOU TO DO SO?
TIM: I think it would be fun to do, but I honestly don’t think it is likely. Our only hope for anything is for the BBC to repeat the shows and then…
DO YOU KNOW IF THE GOODIES FONT WAS DESIGNED FOR THE SHOW OR WAS IT A PRE-EXISTING DESIGN?
TIM: I think it was designed for the show, but I couldn’t be certain
THROUGHOUT "THE GOODIES" TELEVISION SERIES IT COULD BE SAID THE CHARACTERS ADVERTISE (OR BRAND) THEIR BUSINESS THROUGH THE USE OF THINGS LIKE THE GOODIES T-SHIRTS, "I'M A GOODY" PATCHES AND THE BIG "G" ON THE OFFICE DOOR. WAS THIS YOUR IDEA OR A PRODUCT OF THE BBC DESIGN DEPARTMENT? IF IT WAS YOUR IDEA, WAS IT ALSO AN ATTEMPT TO INCREASE RECOGNITION FOR THE TV SHOW ITSELF (AT LEAST IN THE EARLY SERIES)?
TIM: We were commercially naïve and certainly didn’t produce these designs for sale. We were just trying to find an identity. The designs were ours, enhanced by the production team.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHO WOULD TAKE WHICH SEAT ON THE TRANDEM?
TIM: Well obviously the most intelligent and athletic one needed to be at the front to steer. Bill was on the back because there were, originally, no pedals for him to get caught up in.
TYPICALLY THE THREE GOODIES ARE LISTED ALPHABETICALLY BY LAST NAME (TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR, GRAEME GARDEN & BILL ODDIE). HOWEVER, THE LICENSING INFO ON THE GOODIES TOUR MERCHANDISE SAYS "REPRODUCED WITH THE PERMISSION OF GRAEME GARDEN, TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR AND BILL ODDIE". IS THERE A REASON FOR THE NAMES BEING IN THAT ORDER IN THIS CASE?
TIM: I hope not. But Graeme can be quite canny.
MARY IS TALLER THAN SUE WHO IS TALLER THAN BOB. ALAN IS TALLER THAN BOB. MARY AND SUE ARE SHORTER THAN ALAN. BETTY IS SHORTER THAN BOB. WHO IS THE TALLEST? AND WHAT IS THE NAME OF MARY'S COUSIN?
TIM: Rolf and Skippy
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GOODIES SONG AND, IF SO, WHAT IS IT?
TIM: Cactus in My Y-Fronts is my favourite to sing and I’ve always enjoyed Cricklewood. I think Wild Thing is our best performance
DID YOU COME TO THE USA TO DO ANY PUBLICITY FOR "THE GOODIES" MID-1970S RUN ON PBS? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE TRIP?
TIM: Sadly we didn’t. We were asked to make a series in the States, but baulked when the contract offered was open ended on their parts.
DO YOU KNOW WHO DESIGNED THE TRANDEM DRAWING ON THE ORIGINAL GOODIES T-SHIRTS (THE ONE THAT HAS BEEN REPRODUCED BY THE FAN CLUB)?
TIM: I’m afraid not
WHAT CRAZY IMAGES GO THROUGH YOUR MINDS WHEN YOU THINK BACK TO YOUR DAYS RECORDING "THE GOODIES" TV SHOW?
TIM: Trying not to giggle, getting hurt when falling over for the umpteenth time and trying to persuade oneself that, yes that is a real giant kitten.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ABLE TO CONVINCE THE OTHER TWO TO GO GOLFING WITH YOU?
TIM: Are you crazy? Bill probably could have been quite good but I reckon he wouldn’t have managed a round without stalking off to see a birdie or two.
IN THE US AT LEAST, WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO DESCRIBE "THE GOODIES" TO SOMEONE THEY'LL OFTEN SAY "IT'S A CROSS BETWEEN MONTY PYTHON AND THE MONKEES". ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THAT AS A SHORTHAND EXPLANATION? WOULD YOU SUGGEST SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
TIM: Actually I think that’s quite good description – the best of both obviously.