40 Years of the Goodies

by Harry on November 8, 2010

I always liked the Goodies more than the Pythons. Sillier, far less intellectual, funnier, and almost never stumped by the lack a punchline. My children have seen all the episodes available on DVD at least 7 times, the girls know several episodes by heart, and yet they still fall about laughing whenever they watch them. Here’s the obligatory 30-minutes celebration. Well worth a listen. And, much to my relief, this coincides with the release of several new episodes including the one with the giant Dougal which should arrive in time for the 9 year old’s slumber party on Friday.



zamfir 11.08.10 at 5:04 pm

Amazon says for 18 years and older.


Harry 11.08.10 at 5:21 pm

Nudity. Very mild. Cross-dressing? Even my 14 year old doesn’t get to watch R movies, they all get to watch the Goodies, if its any assurance. (I’ve just prohibited the 9 year old from watching 30 Rock, which would never get an R or an 18, but is far filthier than anything on the Goodies. Still the 14 year old gets to watch it). The early episodes were shown after the watershed and were PRAISED by Mary Whitehouse for their cleanliness (much to the irritation of the boys). Later episodes were shown pre-watershed. There could, conceivably, be something rateable as 18 in the extras (which are so extensive that I haven’t watched them all, and the kids don’t care).


BKN 11.08.10 at 5:39 pm

Always liked them more? Really? Not just being provocative? I liked, in the sense of got belly laughs from, the Goodies more than Python…when I was 10 in the mid-seventies. And I like sharing the Goodies with my 10 y.o. today. But even as a kid in the 70s I had the sense that there was more substance, more erudition, more daring in the Pythons. The Goodies were/are a good gateway drug to a particular kind of humour, but eventually one discovers the real deal, for which there is no substitute.


Harry 11.08.10 at 7:37 pm

Yes. I like the Pythons too, mark you, a lot. There’s a joyfulness to The Goodies that just isn’t there in the Pythons. A kind of goonishness, if you like, although they swear that BTF was their great influence rather than the goons.

Watch the episodes from the first 3 or 4 series (there aren’t many out). They are doing something quite unusual. Apparently Spielberg was a fan and toyed with making a movie of them but, like the Doors approach to Kevin Coyne, it didn’t really go anywhere…


JSM 11.08.10 at 7:41 pm

“Apparently Spielberg was a fan and toyed with making a movie of them ”


Citation please!


Shatterface 11.08.10 at 8:14 pm

There’s an absolutely brilliant book on the Super Chaps Three by Andrew Pixlie available through the Network site. 600 pages long and big enough to swat an elephant.



Shatterface 11.08.10 at 8:18 pm

The ratings issue might be something to do with the South Africa episode which is obviously meant to satirise apartheid but will more likely make modern audiences cringe.


Shatterface 11.08.10 at 8:21 pm

Oh, and for Dougal fans there’s the awesome Dougal and the Blue Cat which came out this month. One of the most hypnotic films ever made.


Hidari 11.08.10 at 9:02 pm

‘The Goodies were/are a good gateway drug to a particular kind of humour’.

I think this statement makes more sense if rewritten ‘The Goodies were/are a good humour gateway to a particular kind of drug.’


BKN 11.08.10 at 9:10 pm


As would the “Ecky-thump” episode–or is it still okay to stereotype Welshmen as gratuitously violent?


Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 11.08.10 at 9:53 pm

“The ratings issue might be something to do with the South Africa episode which is obviously meant to satirise apartheid but will more likely make modern audiences cringe.”

Well, they did still have the Black & White Minstrels show on the BBC then…


Phil 11.08.10 at 9:59 pm



weaver 11.09.10 at 1:50 am

As part of widespread desperate attempts to find filler for new digital stations, the ABC is repeating the chaps here in Oz. Consequently I have been able to be reminded that while very good when good, when the Goodies were bad they were quite awful. Speaking of making audiences cringe, Graeme and Tim’s turns as cartoon Jewish impresarios, and then as a pair of flaming queens, in the ep where Bill goes on the Top of the Pops (complete with a bizarre cameo by John Peel) have to be seen to be believed. As does the bizarre cameo by John Peel.

Luckily the good bits are worth sitting through the bad – last week they played the “New Office” episode (apparently in the new DVD) which culminates in the “Rites of Spring” sequence (as I believe the aficionados call it), that lovely bit of surreal slapstick where the three do battle with earth-moving vehicles that have started behaving like dinosaurs, and Graeme plays matador against an angry forklift. They also got better in the later seasons – better and stranger. I see the Truth in Advertisng show is on the new DVD – that makes it for me a must-have. Well, for that and the giant Dougal.

They’re playing ’em pre-watershed, not that that’s what we call it over here.


Would the Welsh be more offended at being stereotyped as violent, or at being mistaken for Lancastrians?


Francis Xavier Holden 11.09.10 at 3:34 am

When my kids were little Oz tv had the Goodies on followed by The Kenny Everett Video show just after they came home from school. I’m proud to say these two shows probably had more impact on them than anything I , or school, taught them.


Francis Xavier Holden 11.09.10 at 3:37 am

And — I managed to buy the original single of “Walk In The Black Forest” at a church fete not long ago.


I’m getting ready to start my own radio station.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden 11.09.10 at 5:57 am

I shake my head and pinch the bridge of my nose at blog posts like this. “I always liked the Goodies more than the Pythons.” What does this invidious comparison accomplish? A few people will check out the thing you like out of a belief that you’re on to some wellspring of indie cred. A large number of people–who quite reasonably remember that the Pythons made them laugh–will decide that you’re a prat. The comment thread will wind up consisting of a lot of posing and counter-posing.

Speaking as a spherical Internet reader of uniform density, I am unspeakably tired of reviews that turn out to be reviews of the competing product’s fans, or assessments of who does and doesn’t have true street credibility–or how brave the reviewer was to, at an early age, prefer valiantly obcure X to popular Y. Surely there’s a better, more honest and more direct, way to simply say “This is good stuff; check it out.”


Brett 11.09.10 at 6:04 am

I must be from the same generation as your kids, FKH — the Goodies/Kenny Everett/Doctor Who plus your various animes or Monkey were what one rushed home for. Watching the Goodies again now (and I agree with weaver on the good being great and the bad being awful; I find it hard to stomach the South Africa episode even viewing it as anti-apartheid satire) I’m struck by (a) the debt they owed to silent comedies (obviously the Buster Keaton homage, but also the long film interludes with no talking, Bill singing and lots of slapstick and props) and (b) how much innuendo there was. I mean when I was 10 I knew Kenny Everett was naughty; but the rude bits in the Goodies just sailed over my head.


Martin Wisse 11.09.10 at 8:43 am

With respect to PNH, I don’t see Harry’s post as a “review of the competing product’s fans” as much as an attempt to compare the Goodies to an other internationally well known, much loved and appreciated comedy series.


Francis Xavier Holden 11.09.10 at 9:12 am

brett – yeah and Monkey Magic was a real hit


Harry 11.09.10 at 2:07 pm

Thanks Patrick, nice to know that you are so much more sophisticated than I am, but really, I never doubted it. I guess that you are aware enough of the intricate inter-relationship between the Goodies and the Pythons to understand why the comparison is relevant right? Or maybe not.


BKN 11.09.10 at 2:47 pm

Sorry, not Welshmen. Mea culpa. Memories fade.

Speaking of fading memories and “the intricate inter-relationship between the Goodies and the Pythons”, wasn’t there a Python sketch in which someone (perhaps an announcer playing on a TV in the background) speaks of “The Goodies and the Holy Grail”? Or perhaps it was in a mock TV listing in one of the Python’s books?


David 11.09.10 at 4:36 pm

“Kids’ programme.”


The Fool 11.09.10 at 8:11 pm

Slapstick bores me.


ejh 11.09.10 at 8:48 pm

Oh, and for Dougal fans there’s the awesome Dougal and the Blue Cat which came out this month. One of the most hypnotic films ever made.

Buxton is my Facebook icon.


Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 11.09.10 at 8:57 pm

“I liked, in the sense of got belly laughs from, the Goodies more than Python.”

Watching reruns of the Pythons makes you realise not everything they did was comic genius. There’s a lot of sketches and linkers that didn’t quite work. When they did, it was awesome and immortal, but there’s still a lot of filler there.

The Goodies were funnier, but because they were more topical in their humor rather than abstract, it hasn’t quite aged or crossed the Atlantic as well. If you haven’t seen Roots and Kung Fu and have some idea what Yorkshire culture is like, the Ecky Thump episode isn’t going to resonate.


weaver 11.10.10 at 1:39 am

the Ecky Thump episode isn’t going to resonate

Perhaps not (incidentally I think you’ll find Roots was referenced in another ep, the one culminating in a send-up, were that possible, of the aforementioned “Black and White Minstrel Show” – oh lord, my mind is just clogged with the flotsam of 70s trivia), but it was, apparently, responsible for at least one fatality (and not, as far as I know, from kids belting each other senseless with black puddings) which is more than you can say for the Dead Parrot sketch.


Brett 11.10.10 at 4:29 am


Yes, possibly because his nature was irrepressible! Sorry for getting your initials wrong.

Sock Puppet:

I don’t think that’s entirely true. As an Australian kid I had no idea about Yorkshire culture and hadn’t seen Kung Fu, but it didn’t stop me from loving the show. It’s like (though not as good as) the Simpsons: kids don’t get half the references being made. But that’s okay, it gives them something to ‘grow into’ as they rewatch it.

On the other hand, yeah, a lot of the topical jokes really do limit the appeal. Or maybe Tony Blackburn jokes were never funny in the first place.


Warbo 11.10.10 at 5:58 am

All Tony Blackburn jokes were funny in the first place.

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