» Graeme & TIM Q&A In...
(from C&G #129 August 2006)
Even better than being declared "Officially Amazing"! Amid their preparations for "The Goodies Still Rule OK" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor have generously taken some time out to reply to the following questions from GROK fan club members:
WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE AN IDEAL ROLE FOR YOU TO PLAY NOW? (COMEDY, DRAMA, SOAPIE, CARTOON VOICEOVER ETC)
GRAEME: I enjoyed playing Mr Loftwood the surgeon in Holby City, but he seems to have been retired now. I hope to play Mr Bibby again before long in the next series of Bromwell High. In Edinburgh we're doing our show in the same building as Harry Shearer, who plays Principal Skinner in the Simpsons. I'm hoping we can meet to discuss our experiences in education. An ideal role? One that involves working with old chums, sitting down, being amusing, and not having to learn lines or wear make-up or costumes. Hmm, sounds like I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Either that or the comedy version of King Lear. Or a silly role in a nice location – Pirates of the Caribbean perhaps.
TIM: Ideally a character in a comedy/adventure series – something like New Tricks. Also a very bad tempered patient in a hospital series.
HOW DO YOU, AND HOW DID YOU, HANDLE ALL OF THE ATTENTION YOU HAVE RECEIVED FROM YOUR FEMALE FANS OVER THE YEARS?
GRAEME: Ha! If only! Actually we seem to get more attention now than in the old days. When we appeared on Top of the Pops we didn't have any screaming groupies, and after the shows we had to make do with going out for a meal with Pan's People. (True) Now we get some very nice ladies who come round for autographs at the stage door, but their minds are pure and chaste, as are ours.
TIM: With gratitude. I think the female fans have been kinder now than ever – maybe the word 'kinder' is a bit of a give away. The fans in Oz who said 'can I have a hug please' always made my day. Thanks.
WHY, WHEN THE GOODIES WAS DEVELOPED, DID YOU DECIDE TO USE YOUR REAL NAME INSTEAD OF CREATING A CHARACTER NAME AND DID YOU FEEL, AT THE TIME, THAT YOU MAY BE TYPECAST BY DOING SO?
GRAEME: I can't remember. I suppose we couldn't think of any names that were funnier than our own. I don't think we worried about being typecast. We were of course, but the other side of that coin is that being known for the Goodies has opened so many other doors for us along the way.
TIM: I honestly can't remember why we decided to do that. I don't regret it. There's always a danger of being typecast anyway. Occasionally I realised that some producers didn’t think I was an actor because I was using my own name. 'Oh you can act' they sometimes said. No, come to think of it, I regret it.
DO YOU SMOKE CIGARETTES, OR HAVE YOU SMOKED IN THE PAST?
GRAEME: I did, but haven't smoked for a few years now.
TIM: I was a sixty a day man. I gave up on the plane back from a skiing holiday many years ago. My next job was in Perth W.Australia. My character smoked, the other cast members and the director all smoked. I was 12,000 miles (how far is Perth) from anyone who knew I'd given up. To my amazement I didn't give in. I still miss the occasional puff (as in smoke) even now.
IF YOU WERE TO LOG ONTO THE GOODIESRULEOK WEBSITE, WHAT USERNAME WOULD YOU BE INCLINED TO USE?
GRAEME: You mean so that I could lurk secretly? Perish the thought! I'd probably use Graeme_Garden, cos nobody would believe it was really me.
DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT THE GOODIES HUMOUR IS SO ENDURING AND THAT THE ONLY THINGS THAT HAVE REALLY DATED IS THE SETS (ALTHOUGH EVEN THAT IS COMING BACK INTO VOGUE NOW)?
GRAEME: The sets? If you think that's all that's dated…! I think the humour is pretty basic and universal, and to that extent timeless. The sets, costumes and facial hair are now quaint period pieces, and funny in their own right.
TIM: I think the answer is yes. There are some things by definition that have dated, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how many haven't. One or two politically incorrect bits are there, but funnily enough I think they'd be alright now.
ANY PLANS TO LEAVE BEHIND THE COLD, WET AND DREARY ENGLISH WEATHER AND MIGRATE TO AUSTRALIA - I HEAR QUEENSLAND (THE SUNSHINE STATE) IS PARTICULARLY WELCOMING?
GRAEME: It was certainly welcoming when we were over there – as was the rest of Australia. I would love to return before too long, but at the moment I have no plans to emigrate.
TIM: I'd love to. A few days in Port Douglas last December gave me a taste for it; though I wasn't too impressed with the breathalyser test. I tried to move, with my family, to Perth in the late Seventies. The unions put a stop to that.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR?
GRAEME: Brown. When a pompous lighting cameraman once told me he could light the set any colour I wanted I said 'Brown'. That shut him up.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
GRAEME: Anything good and simple that tastes like what it is.
TIM: Garlic prawns, Pizza, Coquilles St Jacques, Welsh Rarebit
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TV SHOW? (THAT THE BBC ACTUALLY SHOW)
GRAEME: You've got to go a long way to beat The Simpsons. Although BBC2 got rid of it in the end!
TIM: Recently 'The Street'. The Simpsons and anything with Peter Cook in it.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CURRENT ACTOR OR ACTRESS?
GRAEME: Cate Blanchett.
TIM: I've thought hard about this and I honestly don't know. If I come to a conclusion I'll let the editor know.
WHAT IS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW AT THE PICTURES?
GRAEME: King Kong. It was a big monkey movie.
WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ (OR ARE READING)?
GRAEME: 'Human Traces' by Sebastian Faulks.
TIM: "This Thing of Darkness" by Harry Thompson (reading)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF MUSIC?
GRAEME: I really don't have a favourite 'style'. While I was writing "The Pocket Orchestra – the Unlikely Lives of the Great Composers" I was re-acquainted with lots of classical music that I really love, and in every 'style' from baroque to romantic and beyond. In terms of contemporary music, I've got to say Scissor Sisters – if only because they're damn good! I don't listen to much on a regular basis, but over the years I've enjoyed a pretty eclectic mix, Randy Newman, Dr Hook, Cat Stevens, 10cc, Carly Simon, Spike Jones and his City Clickers, the Stones and the Beatles of course, early Elvis… hey, you name it!
TIM: I don't have a favourite – but anything with good lyrics
GOODIES GENTLEMEN PREFER THEIR GOODIES GROUPIE GIRLS TO BE ...BLONDES, BRUNETTES OR REDHEADS?!
GRAEME: Yes they do!
TIM: Yes they do
DO YOU STILL TRY TO KEEP YOUR MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE AS CURRENT AS POSSIBLE, WITHOUT ACTUALLY PRACTICING OF COURSE?
GRAEME: Yes but not enough to make use of it! I did buy a medical text-book recently (Davidson's Principles & Practice of Medicine, ed. Haslett, Chilvers, Boon, Colledge & Hunter) not to remind me of what I'd forgotten, but to see what had been discovered since I studied the subject. A few years back I directed a series of about 50 medical Videos for Patients featuring John Cleese and Dr Rob Buckman.
DID YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED ADDING DIRECTING TO YOUR IMPRESSIVE RESUME?
TIM: I have considered it – but I'm too much of a ham. I'd just wish I was playing every part.
DID YOU MANAGE TO KEEP ANY OF THE FROCKS YOU WORE IN THE GOODIES EPISODES (THE MOVIES / MAE WEST NUMBER COMES TO MIND? IF NOT, HAVE YOU SEEN THEM RECYCLED ON ANY OTHER TV SHOWS TO DATE?
TIM: Sadly not. Actually I'd like to commiserate with females. Their clothes are very, very uncomfortable. Maybe they're better for girls' bits than boys' bits.
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS DO YOU FIND THAT PEOPLE STILL CONFUSE / CONNECT YOU TO THE IMAGE OF THE UNION JACK AND ROYALIST THAT BECAME YOUR PERSONA IN THE GOODIES?
TIM: Not so much now – certainly in the UK where I’m almost better known for 'I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue'
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER THE LADY CONSTANCE VOICE?
TIM: As a student in our Footlights revue we did a send up of Oscar Wilde. I played the Lady Bracknell part and instead of 'a handbag', I had 'A Gooseberry bush'. In the classic film of 'The Importance of being Earnest' the Lady Bracknell part was played by Dame Edith Evans and it was her voice that I copied. At the first night in London Dame Edith was invited to attend – it appears that she was the only person in the theatre who didn’t know who I was impersonating. I got the nicest review possible form the English critic Harold Hobson who said that my impression of Edith Evans was 'blasphemous'