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* THE GOODIES FAN CLUB CLARION AND GLOBE *
* THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF 'THE GOODIES RULE - OK!' *
SPECIAL EDITION WORLD'S FUNNIEST ISLAND 12th November 2009
THE LADS AND LASSES OF THE C&G
- Brett Allender <email@example.com>
- Lisa Manekofsky
FEATURE ARTICLE WRITERS:
Andrew Hansen & John Williams
- Alison Bean, Ben Tumney, John Jackson, Isabell Olevall, Linda, Kel_13, John Williams, Sarah Elliman, Steve Gerlach, VanessaCricklewood
1. SPOTTED!!! - The latest Goodies sightings from World's Funniest Island.
(a) Publicity & Interviews
(b) Media Reviews
(c) Fan Reviews
2. FEATURE ARTICLE #1: Missing Footage From 'The Commonwealth Games'
3. FEATURE ARTICLE #2: An Interview With Andrew Hansen
More exciting than getting your wig-spotters badge! We've been lucky enough to have Spotted!!! the Goodies live in Australia in this past month, so here's all of the news from the World's Funniest Island in Sydney where Tim and Graeme appeared on October 17&18, plus an extra performance at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta on October 15:
(A) W.F.I. PUBLICITY & INTERVIEWS
The program can be downloaded from the website or you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.
* Just a reminder about Ben Tumney's info that Tim is to appear on ABC Sydney radio on October 16th.
(Lisa Manekofsky – 13th Oct)
(Brett Allender 13th Oct)
* There is also a video clip at: http://player.video.news.com.au/news/#dNlFwsSihiQzmX0o3rAlLSZQo3K7_T_t in the wake of the recent PC furore over the blackface Jackson 5 sendup on the "Hey Hey It's Saturday" reunion show. The heading is: "Hey Hey it's good. Two of The Goodies from the hit British TV series say audiences need a broad mind for comedy and the Hey Hey skit wasn't racist." The video features Tim and Graeme commenting on the 'black-face' kerfuffle from the Jackson-Jive act on Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion show, and why The Goodies did black-face in the Eckythump episode.
The link on the main news.com.au site page shows a picture from "Kung Fu Kapers" of Graeme as a black-faced boxer saying "hello" behind Bill's back just before Bill thumps him with a black pudding!
(from information by Brett Allender & John Jackson – 13th Oct)
* The producers of the World's Funniest Island festival (www.worldsfunniestisland.com ) have kindly passed along the following links to recent articles which have mentioned The Goodies.
(Lisa Manekofsky – 14th Oct)
* Just a reminder that in approximately 35 minutes you can listen to Thank God It's Friday on ABC Sydney on http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/radio/howto.htm?section=online , or catch it on itunes later. I didn't catch the appearance of Tim & Graeme the other day, but apparently they talked among other things about I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (the host Richard Glover talked a little while ago about the double entendres - he seemed to have a hard time believing Graeme, who said that 'it's all in your mind!'). I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue was described earlier on the show that's on right now as 'a radio show which almost no-one has heard' (from an Aussie perspective, of course, but I nearly choked on my breakfast).
(Isabell Olevall – 16th Oct)
* For anyone who missed Tim and Graeme on Triple J, here is the link to that interview: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/media/s2712501.htm
(Linda – 16th Oct)
Under the photo you should see a little blue button with "TGIF 161009" next to it; the text is a link. Click it to play the show from the webpage. You can also right click the link and select "save target as" to download a copy of the show.
Tim & Graeme's appearance on 702 ABC from Oct 14th doesn't appear to be available from the station's website so, in the meantime, I've put a copy at http://www.sendspace.com/file/2etu1u .
A particularly exciting piece of news from the interview is that censored Goodies footage has been recovered from the government archive! This includes the "sex test" scene from "The Commonwealth Games", which is being shown during the Goodies shows at the World's Funniest Island this weekend (it was also shown at Parramatta show last night).
(Lisa Manekofsky – 16th Oct)
(Alison Bean – 20th Oct)
* Thanks to Kel_13 for posting this info in the forums.
As part of the promotional blitz for this weekend's World's Funniest Island festival (http://worldsfunniestisland.com ), Tim and Graeme were interviewed by Angela Bishop on Australia's Ten News.
(Lisa Manekofsky – 16th Oct)
* Just letting you know that Tim & Graeme were in Sydney this week for the Worlds Funniest Island festival. I stumbled upon this interview they did with Australian comedian Sean Lynch ("Lynchy" from the comedy TV series "The Shambles with Sos, Valvo & Lynchy") - they said in their blog ( at www.myspace.com/sosvalvolynchy and www.theshambles.com.au )
(Sarah Elliman – 20th Oct)
* Thanks to John Williams for the following info:
"As you know Tim & Graeme were interviewed on Triple J Radio, the TV version of Triple J will be running interview footage & clips from the Goodies in an upcoming Triple J TV episode (it could be the next episode, though I can't confirm that just yet)
(Lisa Manekofsky – 20th Oct)
* An update, thanks once again to John Williams.
The show will be repeated at 11:15 Friday night (thanks to Steve Gerlach for this information)
(Lisa Manekofsky – 23rd Oct)
(Lisa Manekofsky – 27th Oct)
(Lisa Manekofsky – 27th Oct)
(B) W.F.I MEDIA REVIEWS
Young crowd goes 'yum, yum' over veteran Goodies
October 18, 2009
It's not quite the Lost Island of Munga, but for the Goodies a gig on Cockatoo Island is just fine.
Graeme Garden, 66, and Tim Brooke-Taylor, 69, two-thirds of the trio behind the 1970s hit television series, delighted fans yesterday at the World's Funniest Island, a 24-hour comedy fest that is part of the month-long Crave Sydney festival.
Brooke-Taylor said it was "fascinating" to be performing in the surrounds of the former prison.
"I wish I could take the audio tour," he joked.
He said he was surprised by the large crowds of young people who had gathered to watch him and Garden appear on stage with The Chaser's Andrew Hansen.
"It's completely different from England, where you have to be over 40 to remember our show," Brooke-Taylor said.
Brooke-Taylor said the veteran comics were surprised by the international storm caused by the Jackson Jive sketch on this month's Hey, Hey, It's Saturday reunion special.
"I think it's difficult to be dogmatic about these things," he said.
During their performance, the Goodies played clips from the TV show and donned cowboy hats for a rendition of Good Ol' Country Music by the third Goodie, Bill Oddie, who was unable to make the trip to Australia.
(Lisa Manekofsky – 19th Oct)
(C) A GOODY WEEKEND ON THE WORLD'S FUNNIEST ISLAND – FAN REVIEWS
I had the most amazing few days. I am still finding it hard to come back down to earth!! I saw all 5 shows they did; the one at Parramatta and the four at World's Funniest Island, and they were all basically the same. The start was the same each time: the MC would say... "Pull your A-strings over your belly buttons ... feed your robot babies ... and hang on tight to your black puddings ..." Then they showed the opening to The Goodies episodes on the giant screen and he would say "The Goodies are in the building … let's give them a giant kitten sized welcome" ... and then the boys would come out. For all 4 shows on Cockatoo Island us GROKers (Bennythump, Bondgirl, CScamp and I) were in the front row as the others kindly always saved Tony and I a seat.
First they talked about pre Goodies - that is when they showed the old clip of the Four Yorkshiremen, including Tim, John Cleese and Marty Feldman, from At Last - The 1948 Show. It was funny - and Timbo was sooo young!! Then while they talked about The Goodies they showed the missing rude bits from the Commonwealth Games which had been censored by the ABC back in the early 1970s and not seen publicly since. In it, the old boys are supposed to file into the bedroom one at a time for a "sex test", but it showed them all staggering out and collapsing, after which the sexy young girl whispers to the man in charge that all the old fogeys failed. He said "What didn't any of them try..? I mean didn't they even..?", then the girl whispers in his ear, but you don't hear what she says. He then says "No, that doesn't count..." and then when he goes on to say The Goodies can have the job, but they have to pass the sex test, she whispers in his ear and he says "What, all 3 of them??" and looks her up and down. "This morning?! Hmm I didn't even get a cup of tea!!" Now I saw that clip 5 times, but each time it was funny!!
They showed various Goodies scenes including from The End when Grayboots tries to eat poor old Gilbert, the lighthouse episode when Bill freaks out because everything is round, the clip from Change Of Life of the Goodies versus the robot for who makes the best Goodies, the puppet government clip from Goodies Rule OK and then they finished off with the clip at the end of Saturday Night Grease where they are being chased by the cops. They chatted about different guest stars such as Jon Pertwee and the newsreaders and about a show that Graeme did with Orson Welles. Graeme asked if anyone had ever seen it, everyone yelled out "No" and he said "Good 'cos it was terrible!"
Graeme also talked about the ABC and the cuts they did to various Goodies episodes ... and they nearly all involved the word 'knackered". He and Tim then read out various short excerpts of scripts that involved the word 'knackered' ... (of course everyone was laughing.. that word seems very mild compared to the words today!) They went on to say that The Goodies was shown at 9.30 pm in England, so it was mostly grown ups that watched it, whereas here it was 6pm – a lot earlier time slot. Tim said that when he came to Australia in the 70s he went on The Norman Gunston Show (legend!!) and he was talking to Norman and said how the ABC had made all these cuts because really The Goodies was more for adults ... and Norman Gunston turned to the camera and said "He hates kids!!" Tim then went on to say - to us at the WFI – that "he got that right!" ... and of course we all laughed again
They also did a round of Uxbridge English Dictionary from ISIHAC with new definitions like Pompous - an English cat on holiday in Australia, Misprint - to run like crazy in the wrong direction, Routine - an adolescent kangaroo, Systematic – an electric nun and Goulash - a Hungarian meal that comes back to haunt you. The first show at Parramatta had a funny clip from ISITRA and also one of different snippets of the songs that the Goodies had on the charts, but they didn't show either of them on the island as those shows only went for about an hour.
In each of the shows they also did a little skit where the two boys were a pair of absent minded old professors (Teddy & Freddy) who were supposed to be taking about Egyptology, but of course they don't! Tim says they were going to do a talk on Egyptology. Graeme: "I don't know anything about Egyptology.... why did you suggest that?" Tim: "Blind stupidity!! I know I'll tell a funny joke." He then puts a clown nose on (in some shows it kept falling off!!) Graeme: "Why are you putting on that nose??" Tim: "So everyone knows I am the funny one and you are the straight one." At that moment Graeme hunches over and TBT says "Mind you, you don't look very straight at the moment." Graeme: "Well that's the best I can do in these trousers!" Tim "What is the difference between an egg, a piece of carpet and a crumpet?" Graeme: "That doesn't sound very funny to me." Tim: "Well just listen, it is very funny. You can beat an egg …" Graeme: "I can't, you know!" TBT: "Well just for the sake of the joke, pretend you can." Tim: "You can beat an egg, you can beat a carpet, but you can't beat a bit of crumpet!" He then just cracks up laughing. Graeme pulls a face (deadpan): "Well that's the stupidest joke I ever heard, it's not even funny! Hey did you hear about the nun, and six goats on a desert island?!" Tim: "No ... tell me." Graeme: "Yes it was in today's paper … extraordinary stuff!" Tim: "Oh what a shame, we are out of time ... next week join us again for a talk on a nun, and 6 goats on a desert island ... and their place in Egyptology!" As they walk off, Tim says "Oh I know, you can lay an egg …" and everyone just cracked up!
After Saturday's first show, all of us GROKers raced up for a hug and a photo. After the second show that day I didn't go up but after both shows on Sunday we all went up for a cuddle. I got cheeky and even pecked them on the cheek! When Tim signed my Goodies File Book at Parramatta he wrote thanks for travelling thousands of miles to see us! At the island I got them both to sign my t-shirt... with a permanent marker of course! They were absolute gentlemen.
I hope that gives people an idea about the shows. There were people filming it so I reckon they might bring out a World's Funniest Island DVD down the track.
2. Ben Tumney
What a fantastic weekend! Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor performed a brand new Goodies live show at the World's Funniest Island comedy festival at Cockatoo Island in Sydney and as usual, they were brilliant. Bill Oddie was unable to make the trip (get well soon, Bill!). I was lucky enough to see the show four times, having bought a two day pass. I sat in the front row for each show, along with other Goodies loonies; Jane, Karen, Tom (recently appointed professional 'Goodies loony' photographer, very reasonable rates), Vanessa, Liv and just on Saturday, Catherine.
Before the first show, Graeme and Tim came out to do a sound test. We took photos of them and they took photos of us. The show itself was more laid back than the 2005 show and was hosted by Andrew Hansen (wearing a Bananaman t-shirt!), which gave it a chat/ 'audience with' style. Graeme and Tim answered questions from Andrew and chatted about what went on before, during and after The Goodies, telling stories, performing and showing clips.
Particular highlights included Tim's ongoing mission to let the world know he co-wrote the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, and it was not a Monty Python sketch. Read that carefully everyone (just doing what I can to help the cause, Tim). Another excellent part was the Teddy and Freddy sketch from Broaden Your Mind as performed live by Graeme and Tim, with their unbelievable 'old man' makeup. Tim told a joke; 'What's the difference between an egg, a carpet and a bit of crumpet' Tim: 'You can beat an egg' Graeme: 'I can't you know. …never could...' Tim: '…..you can beat a carpet, but you can't beat a bit of crumpet.'
Another highlight was the incredibly rude and naughty part of the Commonwealth Games episode which was finally shown for the first time since the 70s. It was so extraordinarily rude, I may never drink tea again. Actually, it was fairly tame (but very funny!) by today's standards and it's quite puzzling why the ABC were so scared of showing it! Maybe they were coffee drinkers. The I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue segment was another highlight, even the skid mark definition. Undeterred by it, Tim and Graeme pressed on. Also, the excellent rendition of Good Ole Country Music at the end, as sung by Graeme, with backing from silly cowboy hats wearing Tim and Andrew underneath them. Hope Tim enjoyed the hens night.
Each show was a bit different, but particularly the second one in which the screen showing the clips decided to take an extra large swig of Snooze and turn off. Tim, Graeme and Andrew filled in perfectly, with extra anecdotes and jokes. After each show, Graeme and Tim very nicely talked to fans, signed autographs and posed for photographs. I had four photos with them in total over the weekend. Thanks very much to Graeme and Tim for coming back and doing four excellent shows, for making The Goodies itself (thanks to Bill as well for that one), and for the meeting and greeting. It was great to see you again.
(Lisa Manekofsky – 19th Oct)
(Isabell Olevall – 20th Oct)
2. FEATURE ARTICLE #1
MISSING FOOTAGE FROM 'THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES'
In October 2009 Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden made a brief visit to Australia (squeezed between professional commitments in England, including their nineteen city "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" Stage Tour and recordings for BBC Radio 4). The purpose of their visit was to present a new show, "The Goodies: Before, During and After", hosted by The Chaser's Andrew Hansen. A ninety minute "extended cut" version premiered at The Riverside Theatres, Parramatta on October 15th; this was followed by four one hour performances as part of the World's Funniest Island comedy festival on Cockatoo Island, Sydney, on October 17th-18th.
A highlight of the shows was the first Australian viewing, and indeed the first viewing at all in decades, of previously lost footage from The Goodies "Commonwealth Games" (aka "Sporting Goodies") episode (as described in Matthew Sharp's "The Goodies - Censored!" at http://home.mira.net/~kirseval/cut-s2.htm#ep2-2 ). Following is ABC Archivist John William's story of how he recovered the footage.
A little over three years ago (2006), I was working on a series of ten short programs for the ABC as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of ABC TV.
I was searching for some promo material when, by chance, I stumbled upon some b&w clips from various programs circa 1960s in a film can marked 'miscellaneous'. One of the clips from this reel was an item taken from 'At Last The 1948 Show' which aired in Australia (on the ABC) in 1968. As fate might have it, I had just received a DVD copy of the surviving episodes of 'At Last The 1948 Show' as a present, and this clip was not part of that package.
The clip featuring the Goodie's own Tim Brooke-Taylor, alongside Graham Chapman & John Cleese, was confirmed by the BFI to indeed be missing material! Almost a year later, I managed to secure another missing clip from 'At Last The 1948 Show', this time from an ABC employee goof tape (& again Tim Brooke-Taylor featured in this clip).
Belatedly, I thought to inform the Goodies Rule OK website, given the Goodies connection to these wonderful bits of footage. Lisa Manekofsky replied to my email & mentioned that there was a segment cut from the only extant copy of 'Commonwealth Games' and it was rumoured to exist and might have been retained at the ABC (thank you Lisa!)
This got me thinking, I knew that the ABC had returned the only surviving copy of 'Commonwealth Games' after a library stock-take (a similar stock take ended up yielding the only surviving episode from the Doctor Who story 'Celestial Toymaker'), & I had read the Matthew K. Sharpe article related to the cut.
I am an archives/television researcher at the ABC, part of my day involves tracing some very obscure material, so I thought that I would take up the challenge. I know that material cut from non-locally made programs from the 1970s & 1980s was often deposited with the Commonwealth Censorship Board. As the National Archives Of Australia had retained some former Censorship Board's material, I hoped that the 'Commonwealth Games' material might have been deposited there. After searching the NAA's online records database thoroughly, I ran a check with the NAA for all censored material related to the Goodies. I also double checked the You Tube posting of the episode and saw the massive (over 40 seconds worth) cut.
Whilst the NAA was processing my request, I spoke to Andrew Hansen about his upcoming gig with Tim & Graeme & I mentioned the search for the missing 'rude bits' from 'Commonwealth Games'. Being a huge fan of the Goodies, he was excited about the prospect of the missing clips turning up!
Eventually, I managed to get access to the NAA's Villawood repository & to have a look at the viewing copy of a censorship reel (that had its fair share of what we would term low level coarse language & nudity), finally a slate with 'Sporting Goodies' was on the screen. I crossed my fingers!
Incredibly, every element cut from 'Commonwealth Games' was there. These clips feature the UK Minister For Sport's secretary gesturing to a line of elderly, bowler-hatted politicians to enter a bedroom (for the sex test), the Minister For Sport (played by Reginald Marsh) hearing the whispered details as to the performance of both the politicians & the Goodies during the sex test...an indignant Minister Of Sport then complains that he didn't even get a "cup of tea!" [from his secretary].
I was blown away that these clips had survived and were in such fabulous condition.
The next step was to let the Goodies themselves know that the material had been found (via Andrew), and best of all the public could see this material for the first time in decades, most likely for the first time in Australia.
Much thanks again to Lisa for mentioning the cut to me, Melanie Grogan at the NAA for putting up with my pestering, plus Andrew Hansen & John Pinder for their enthusiasm about this find.
It was a great thrill to finally meet the brilliant Tim & Graeme on Cockatoo Island to chat about this "subversive footage"!
The good news from John Williams continues. He reports that he has recovered a short clip from Tim & Graeme's pre-Goodies series "Broaden Your Mind". John tells us, "The show was broadcast in Australia between 1971-1973 on ABC Television (this includes a repeat broadcast). The piece that I found was on an ABC staff goof reel from 1972 (these reels were usually shown to staff during the end of the production year as a kind of humourous 'year-in-review' gag reel & clips from many varied sources were used to create goof reels). Thankfully this reel was donated to the ABC last year & has been transferred to digital tape for posterity.
In a voice-over Graeme asks the question, "do you know where wasps go in the winter-time?". Tim looks at the camera, then scratches himself, whilst jumping up from his chair in pain, trying to get at some wasps under his clothing - cue graphic featuring question marks & music sting."
Andrew Pixley has identified this clip as the opening filmed gag from "Broaden Your Mind" show 1/4 (11 November 1968), which is in fact a piece missing from the existing soundtrack.
John is in touch with the BBC and the BFI so that they may recover the footage. He is hopeful it may appear in one of the BFI's future "Missing Believe Wiped" events.
3. FEATURE ARTICLE #2
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW HANSEN
Andrew Hansen, who hosted "The Goodies: Before, During and After" show at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta and the World's Funniest Island comedy festival on Cockatoo Island, Sydney last month kindly agreed to do an interview especially for The Goodies Rule - OK! Fan Club.
1. How did you come to be involved in The Goodies shows at the World's Funniest Island festival and the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta?
Cosmic good fortune. The first I'd heard about the show was when John Pinder, the man behind the Riverside Theatres and one of the brains behind the Island festival, approached the Chaser and asked whether one of us would be at all interested in doing a live show with The Goodies. Interested?! What did he reckon, of course we were interested! As the Chaser person keenest on 'The Goodies', I raised my trembling hand and asked for more details.
John explained that he'd hatched the idea of putting on a gigantic weekend comedy festival in Sydney and he'd scored Tim and Graeme as a headline act. Plus, just before the festival they'd be doing a performance of this same show at the Riverside Theatres. (Later it was decided that the Riverside performance was to be 90 minutes and the four Island performances were to be 60 minutes each, so they ended up being fairly different from each other.) As for what the show would be, Tim and Graeme had come up with the idea of doing a retrospective Q&A where they'd play some video clips and chat about their work and throw in some madness besides. It'd only be very loosely scripted so each performance would differ slightly. And it was to be entitled 'The Goodies: Before, During and After' – which neatly explained things, didn't it. They'd decided to have an 'interviewer' figure on stage with them to give it that conversational feel. Apparently, rather than a straight host-type person, they'd preferred a comedian to do it, someone who'd 'get it' and have a bit of timing and whatnot. On top of that, they'd asked for an Australian! I suppose it was a gesture of international goodwill or something. Or perhaps to save an airfare.
It was John who had kindly recommended that Tim and Graeme use one of us from the Chaser. Our TV show 'The Chaser's War On Everything' was being broadcast in the UK at that time on BBC4, in a much-shortened edition put together especially for BBC (we'd removed all the local Australian material). Which was lucky for my chances at scoring the gig because John could say, 'Oh you know them, they're on BBC4'. Not that many people actually do see BBC4, I gather you need your own personal satellite or something to even watch it, but it's better than nothing! On top of that I sent Tim and Graeme some DVDs of my work as a sort of audition, plus it's easy to find Chaser sketches on YouTube so I sent them a few links. I waited quite nervously for a response… I'd grown up on 'The Goodies' as a kid, and now the Goodies themselves were judging my own feeble attempts at the same game, gnnn! To my immense relief they got in touch and gave me the OK. We then exchanged emails discussing how the show would work and what would be in it, and finally met up for rehearsals two days before opening night. All in all, I'm very much indebted to Tim and Graeme for taking such a leap of faith by entrusting me with the job.
2. What was your first reaction to being asked to work with Tim & Graeme?
An equal mixture of excitement (because I really wanted to do it) and blind terror (in case I royally screwed it up). There was also a sense of being fiercely judged by people, as I knew it was one of those jobs that no one's good enough for in the public's eyes – I imagine each new James Bond feels the same. The Goodies have a legendary status, so I was bound to have people saying, 'Why's *that guy* doing it?' And indeed, when it was first announced I'd be hosting the thing, some people wrote in and made it abundantly clear they thought I wasn't anywhere near up to the task – to be honest I could only agree with them, but I still wasn't going to turn down the offer! One kind gentleman said, 'You're not fit to carry their bags.' (Again, true, but my contract didn't require me to carry their bags so it wasn't an issue.) Anyway, the vast majority of feedback was very positive and on top of that Tim and Graeme made me feel very comfortable and welcome.
3. Did "The Goodies" television series influence your own work?
Yes. 'The Goodies' was the first comedy show I saw, when I was about 3 or 4 years old. Some kids' heroes are the slick, smooth protagonists of action films, but mine were the ridiculously flawed buffoons of shows like 'The Goodies'. I loved it to bits then and it remains one of my favourites to this day. Without me consciously realising at the time, it planted a lot of comedy seeds in my young spongy brain, an entire language of comedy really – the nature of a gag, the shape of a comedic scene, comic timing, the joys of making an idiot of yourself. Watching it again as a grown-up I took more conscious lessons from it, such as the value of blending satire with silliness, something we've all strived to do in the Chaser. The Chaser is its own thing of course, but if you watch the 'Firth Factor' sketches from 'CNNNN' or the 'What Have We Learned From Current Affairs' segments from 'The Chaser's War On Everything', you might recognise something pretty Goodies-esque in there.
The most Goodies-y sketch we ever did was probably a thing in 'War' Series 3 called 'The Football Truce'. Chris Taylor wrote it, so sue him. It's a World War II newsreel report about soccer players stopping play on Christmas Day in order to kill each other with guns and bayonets.
4. Do you have any favourite Goodies episodes or songs?
It's impossible to choose these things, but for argument's sake let's say my top 5 eps are 'The Movies', 'Lighthouse Keeping Loonies', 'Bunfight at the OK Tea Rooms', 'Orient Express' and 'Change of Life'. Thanks to Wikipedia for the exact titles there.
My favourite song comedically is 'Good Ole Country Music', and not just because I worked on it for the stage show! The placement of the howls is a great example of comedy mathematics – they fall at precisely the right moments for maximum funniness. And my favourite song musically is 'Elizabeth Rules UK'. That's the thing about comedy songs, no one ever cares about the music, they only care whether they find it funny, but sometimes hidden in there is a really great tune if you listen out for it. Bill Oddie sure has an ear for a tasty melody.
5. Have you ever done the Funky Gibbon?
I was in a band called The Fantastic Leslie. Actually, we played a song quite recently on the Australian panel show 'Good News Week'. But we effectively quit years ago. Anyway, our drummer was Tom Gleeson, who you may know now as a comedian (a great fallback career for failed musicians), and he suggested we perform 'Funky Gibbon' at our gigs. We did it many times, and it was indeed much more of a crowd-pleaser than any of our own songs.
6. What was it like working with Tim & Graeme?
Simply fabulous. It was a privilege to watch the ease and assurance with which they planned things and decided what worked and what didn't. At times I felt like I was in some sort of masterclass, like getting private coaching from the best in the business! They went about things with a quiet energy and joy that was encouraging and infectious.
Above all was their creative generosity. I embarked on the thing prepared to take orders and do exactly as I was told, wondering whether perhaps Graeme in real life would be the same as his pirate radio station character. But he and Tim couldn't have been nicer. They were always asking me to donate my humble thoughts and dream up my own questions to ask them on stage. This first came to light when they sent through the first version of the video clip rundown, and I half-seriously mentioned that I wished the lemon meringue pie scene from the lighthouse episode could be included – they said 'Sure!' and put it in the show. I suppose there was a rationale behind having me invent questions, as sometimes my knowledge of 'The Goodies' was actually more comprehensive than their own memories of making it! Due to me watching it repeated so many times on Australian TV. My girlfriend and I also happened to own 'Bananaman' t-shirts which later found their way into some of the performances. In fact, when I first met her she'd been wearing a 'Bananaman' t-shirt! It was part of the reason I spoke to her.
One of the clips in the long show at Riverside was a montage of musical performances the Goodies had done on TV, which was fabulous for those of us who'd never seen 'Shang-a-Lang' for instance. Feeling so welcome as I did, I made the cheeky suggestion of Tim and Graeme doing a live performance of a Goodies song, one of the ones they'd sung lead vocal on, and they decided it'd be fun to belt out 'Good Ole Country Music'. No one had access to a backing track though, at least not in a hurry, so I had the honour of recording one from scratch, using the version from 'The Goodies Almost Live' as a reference. May Bill forgive me!
The guys were in fact so generous about involving me in things, they even asked whether I'd like to put a Goodies-influenced Chaser clip in there. I was quick to say, 'No no, Australians can see my rubbish any old time. They'll be wanting 100% Goodies.'
A nice example of Tim's showbiz wisdom occurred when figuring out how best to present the recovered clips from the Commonwealth Games episode. (You've probably kept abreast of the exciting news about this in the club – John Williams, an archivist at the ABC, unearthed three clips from that episode that were thought to be lost forever, and they were 'premiered' in this stage show.) The tech wiz at Riverside, Sean Clarke, edited the lost clips back into the existing episode, and when he showed us his work in progress the result was looking a bit rough and glitchy. From several of us there our gut reaction was, 'Well that's on the way but can you smooth it out and make it look seamless?' But Tim said no, don't smooth it out, it's better rough and glitchy because now the audience can see where it's been stitched together and it's actually ideal that way. And he was quite right. For me that was a really instructive display of craft and good instincts. Okay, quite a nerdy anecdote, but there you go.
A real highlight was Tim and Graeme deciding to perform 'Teddy and Freddy' as part of the show. It's a sketch from 'Broaden Your Mind' that was tragically deleted along with the majority of that series. We were chatting in an office at Riverside and all of a sudden I found myself being treated to a rehearsal of this classic comedy two-hander, with all the twists and subverted expectations of any of the great British sketches of that period. I thought, 'This live show's gonna be very special.' As it was.
7. Do you have any funny stories from preparing for and performing in the show with Tim and Graeme?
As you'd imagine, they're witty guys. On the Island, we were performing in an enormous metal shed called the Turbine Hall, a place where they actually used to make turbines in some bygone era. On the way there I said 'turbine' sounded like the sort of word that deserved a definition in the Uxbridge English Dictionary. Without missing a beat, Graeme said, 'Wind-assisted headgear.'
I was amused to discover Tim and Graeme's facility with slapstick props. A producer at Riverside owned a handheld elastic catapult in the shape of a furry monkey, which screamed every time you flung it. And naturally enough, out of everyone backstage, it was Tim and Graeme who could propel it the farthest.
8. We've heard there were some technical (audio/visual) problems at the World's Funniest Island performances; was that particularly nerve wracking for you?
The Turbine Hall was perfect for the audience, unless they wanted to see or hear. Most tricky of all, a security guard decided during one of our performances that he didn't think a certain set of lights should be on, so he flicked a switch – and thereby shut down our projector screen. Oh, and luckily for us, the screen required just 25 minutes to power back up again. So yes, Tim, Graeme and I improvised 25 minutes' worth of conversation on stage until the screen recovered from unconsciousness. On the bright side, that actually meant returning fans heard some brand-new anecdotes, so it wasn't such a bad thing! As for nerves, it could have felt a little windy up there (the ghosts of turbines?) but let's face it, you could talk to Tim and Graeme for hours and they'd keep everyone enchanted.
The thing is, it was the first ever World's Funniest Island and they're doing all they can to fix up all the technical issues for next year's. Plus, it was simply a brilliant festival overall, there was a terrific vibe there with a staggering number of comedy acts you could wander in and out of at your leisure, and Cockatoo Island itself is a unique, striking place. Having spent that time there as an audience member myself in between the Goodies shows, I highly recommend the experience if you're thinking of attending in 2010. I gather the organisers have pencilled in 16-17 October so keep an eye out.
9. What was your impression of the Goodies' audiences?
The goodwill for the Goodies was extraordinary. As it ought to have been I suppose – they bring us all this merriment and sunshine, so the audiences were as warm and receptive as you could ever hope for.
10. Do you have any plans to work with Tim & Graeme in the future?
In theory it'd be nice to take 'Before, During and After' to venues beyond Sydney. No official plans whatsoever, but I'll send you a letter through the pirate post office if anything goes ahead!
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