Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The Goodies opening Waikato
The Goodies have a very simple history:

They were brilliant.

Anything else that I may have to say about them can only subtract from that.

When I was a kid, I loved their TV show. Despite all the visual comedy, I audio-taped it. When I was a teenager, and supposed to rebel against the things I’d loved as a child, reruns of The Goodies on ITV were still easily the best show of the week. And yes, I was still audio-taping them.

In my twenties I would get hold of old shows on VHS and still find them fantastic.

Now I’m 35 and, courtesy of Herschel's DVDs, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks watching 16 episodes again on DVD. (+ 1 they repeated last Christmas)

Graeme, Bill, Tim and Twinkle
One episode - Kitten Kong (about a 100ft kitten terrorising London) - I’ve seen so many, many times now, that I expected to find it a bit old hat. Instead, I sat literally crying with laughter at it. My face was soaking. It was so funny it was beautiful.

Bun Fight At The OK Tearooms (about a power struggle over a clotted cream mine) is perfection itself.

Goodies And The Beanstalk (about… guess) was enthralling, more so on this viewing as I realised parts of it had been filmed just around the corner from my house!

They made about 70 of these shows, before the BBC decided to constructively axe it at the height of its popularity. And by height I don’t mean it had peaked. The Goodies was still soaring higher.

So much so that the Goodies themselves were immediately offered a 3-year deal to continue their masterpieces on ITV. Alas, only 7 shows later, despite their contract to the contrary, the show was rudely ripped off the airwaves again, by the same guy who would later move to the BBC and try to stop anyone ever seeing Doctor Who again – Michael Grade.

The Goodies creep past Michael Grade's office
Despite its topicality, The Goodies has aged extremely well. Sure, in some of the early ones they’re trying to fill some time in the studio, but as soon as they stopped including a guest-star, they’ve tightened every script up to the funniest gag or plot-twist that they could come up with. It's no longer studio with film-inserts - it's whatever the heck their script says it is.

A few gags miss, but not many. The scene in Punky Business when Bill beats himself up in a tuxedo whilst crooning the whole of I’m In Love For The Very First Time really isn’t remotely funny, but it is utterly fascinating to watch. The Goodies had the self-assurance to go off on their own tangent regardless of whether anyone else would ‘get’ it. No-one's even allowed to do that now. Everything's got to be relevant.

I could go on and on about their great episodes, but I should temper it by mentioning one of their rare duds - Goodies Almost Live - which was just a series of musical numbers with no story. Can’t knock them for that though – what a fantastic average. It really was almost always brilliant.

In fact if there is a negative side to their legacy, it would have to be all the interviews they give today claiming how 'adult' these shows were. Sorry guys, but these DVDs prove you wrong.

We children of the 70s were more intelligent than you realised.

Needed, needed...
Buy the DVDs:
The Goodies … At Last
The Goodies … At Last A Second Helping
Boxed-set of both


5 comment(s):

At 9:29 am, Anonymous Sosia said...

Of course anyone who grew up in the 70s will say The Goodies was a kids show.

Mind you, watching it now as an adult I'm not so sure ...

At 2:02 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Hi Sosia.

My point is not that The Goodies was a kids' show, but that it was really a family one. Sure it sometimes contained material about racism, corrupt policemen and violence on telly, but so did the 5:40pm News each night straight after regular children's programming finished. As kids we watched that, and we also watched The Goodies.

Goodies And The Beanstalk was the only episode made specifically for a children's audience, and as such was always broadcast at about 4:30pm in with the rest of kid's telly... and it contained a scene featuring two naked women, with butts on-camera, at a nudist camp! Yet this joke was, if you'll excuse the pun, cheeky without being crude. And as such, in my opinion, it was perfectly suitable for family viewing.


At 11:30 am, Anonymous Sosia said...

I'm not convinced it was a family show either (nor were the BBC who would show it at 9pm), but it was more in my mind that anything I would watch as a kid was a kids show.

Anyway, can I do a little plug for the Goodies Fan Club at

At 5:52 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Hi Sosia.

Well I'm certainly outnumbered in my opinion, arguing as I am against you, the BBC and The Goodies themselves! :) LWT of course went to the other extreme and showed their series before 6pm, and I'm pretty sure the last BBC series got a Sunday afternoon repeat.

The Goodies certainly marketed themselves to kids as a part of their audience, appearing on several children's shows like Crackerjack, Swap Shop and Disney Time.

It does bug me that shows are often boxed as either purely for kids or adults. When I was 20 it wound me up that I was the only person I knew watching Fraggle Rock. Just because it was on in a children's slot, people I knew thought it could therefore only be for kids. They judged it by the timeslot rather than by whether it was a good intelligent show. Growing up should enable one to enjoy more stuff, not less.

There were programmes that I watched as a kid(pre-teen), which I perceived at the time as not being kids' programmes. Dramas, and things that disturbed me, like Sapphire And Steel and Armchair Thriller. But I also recognised that there were shows made with everyone in mind, and The Goodies fitted into this, despite its bewildering timeslot forcing me to miss it alot.

One of my favourite records as a kid was Benny Hill's Ernie - The Fastest Milkman In The West. I heard that again the other day, and was fairly shocked at what I had played over and over again as a kid. The Goodies contains no such revelation. While there may be a few instances (I haven't rewatched all 70-odd shows), generally speaking it still is good clean fun. It's hardly comparable with all the crude naked women in the Monty Python animations.

You're welcome to advertise the site, except that the link doesn't seem to work?

Best wishes,

At 5:56 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Correction - now it does work! Everyone click here:



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