Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor are united again!

Network is delighted to announce the first ever DVD release of the acclaimed comedy trio’s complete output for ITV between 1981 and 1982 following their deflection to ITV.

One of the most loved comedy shows of the seventies and early eighties, The Goodies made household names of its cast, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, in a show highly rated for its visual humour and surreal take on life.

FemaleFirst were able to have a chat with the terrific trio of comics about their weird and wonderful world. Find out what they had to say below…..How are you all doing today?

Tim – Yeah we’re all doing well, thanks.Bill – I’m not doing as well as Tim and Graeme (Laughs) I’m ok, I’m fine.

Tim – Say something nice to Bill (Laughs)

I believe you’re doing a Goodies Still Rule OK Tour?

Tim – Yeah starting in the middle of March. There will be 23 performances around the country.

Graeme – Bill will be there in several forms including video, digitally enhanced….

Bill – I’ve got to tell you knowing the condition that I’m in these days, you’re better off without me. They’re better off without me and the audience is better off without me. I promise you that whatever counterfeit form of appearance I make on that show it will be an improvement on the real thing. It’s true I tell you.

Tim – He’s not really here at all either (Laughs)

Bill – I’ve lost the power of speech. I can whistle, I can moo I can call like a stag. But no longer can I speak. I’m good at watching wildlife because I can’t move anymore.

Graeme – When we did this show in Australia a couple of years ago Bill was with us so basically we’ve now got various forms of what Bill did live. But when in doubt….

Bill – I shall be there in spirit, especially when they’re doing badly. (Laughs) Are you tied up because of your nature programmes then Bill?

Bill – Yeah – I’ve got a lot of projects, which are quite taking up literally every week of this year and most of next year the way things are going. Do you have a particular favourite episode from the Goodies – perhaps one from the DVD?

Graeme – The ones on the new DVD are particularly terrific.

Tim – The DVD is a very specific series that we did on LWT. It’s one of the last shows that we did. In many ways a lot of the shows actually look back and have highlights of all the stuff we did, so it’s actually quite good fun for us to see it.

Bill – It’s the best performed, I mean I guess this is an odd thing to say at this long distance but I think at that stage, it’s our last performance in a sense if you see what I mean as the Goodies. As performers we’d actually arrived at an acting stage, for want of a better word. We were better than we had been in most of the BBC seasons.

Would you consider doing a one-off TV special in the near future then?

Graeme – We would quite like to have them repeated first and then we’d think about it. But if you haven’t had them repeated there’s a whole part of the population that don’t really know the Goodies. It would be lovely to have them repeated and then the demand for us to appear would be fantastic.

Who would you say influenced you all in your early years?

Tim – A lot of the influences we had were comedians like Buster Keaton and cartoons like Tom and Jerry. Warner Brothers like Bugs Bunny. Also a lot of radio humour – there’s quite a lot of verbal humour in it, character stuff that we enjoyed. There was a mixture of a lot of different styles but I suppose the thing that sticks out is the visual stuff. But quite a lot of the verbal stuff is the bits that are our favourites.

Bill – I guess what we did was on quite a big scale like that and I know for a fact that Nick Park and the people at Aardman are considerable Goodies fans. I think that the Wallace and Gromit full-length movies and the chicken movies and things – I think it’s pretty obvious actually if you look at them and compare them to the Goodies chase sequence, you can see the influence there. But he’s been very sensible - he didn’t use real people (Laughs) Nobody was hurt in the making….just a few bruised fingers melding the plaster scene I dare say but that’s it.

Tim – You mean they’re not real?

Bill (Laughs) Oh dear, I’m sorry. I’m afraid Tim has got very upset because he always thought they were real.

Graeme - That’s the thing with Peter Lord apparently; he was saying that some of the characters like Morph and Gromit do have stunt doubles. So if something gets mangled then it’s a stunt double because they don’t want to mess up a good one.

Tim – That’s what we should have done indeed.

Did anything dangerous really happen to you whilst filming the shows then?

Tim – There was one time when we were all sitting on the bike, strung up in the air about ten off the ground by wires and the wires broke as we were sitting astride the bike. We all crashed down to the floor.

Graeme – Tim really hurt himself and the BBC were very upset about the bike being hurt. (Laughs)

Bill – It was very nasty because it really was strong metal wires and it almost nearly cut Tim’s hand off.

Tim – Yeah I could have done, it was very nasty. But there were lots of times when you were fearful because it was in the days when they didn’t worry about health and such. There was a time that I remember with a great tomato soup can and I remember thinking it could break arms, it could break legs. I kept saying Just Go and Do It – stupidly we did.

Bill – That really has brought back a memory actually, not so much specifically but of that whole thing where once people start discussing it you start to get nervous. So for heaven sake – just be like a parachute jumper. Because if you have an hour to talk about it by the end of that hour you aren’t going to do it. But if they just shove you out you probably would.

Tim – Also the problem is if you’re not there yourself and talking about it.

Bill – Yes, absolutely. He could break his leg – well he’s not a footballer is he (Laughs)

Austin Power’s Mike Myers has also said in the past that he is a great admirer of your work. What are your feelings about that?

Bill – That doesn’t surprise me either really because the characters are on that sort of broad level, yeah, as the Austin Powers.

Tim – Of course he was living here then. But I do like his stuff definitely. It’s good imaginative stuff.

Tim, I believe you got to work with one of the Hollywood Greats, the legendary actor Orson Welles. Can you splurge all the unknown juicy details about that experience – were you a fan of his at the time?

Tim – I did indeed. Funnily enough Graeme and I did a series called Broaden Your Mind and we were watching the first programme in the second series in Graeme’s flat and suddenly the phone went at the end and Graeme said “yes, yes yes” and put the phone down and said Orson Welles wants to work with us. I laughed and said, “Yeah, the Pope’s going to ring in a second. We then actually appeared in a film called Twelve Plus One, which had great people in it including Orson and the director. They didn’t really get on, so cos I’d just done something with him, we went and rewrote his part completely and I found myself in two weeks directing the great man. Just - he was a great man but God he was very difficult to work with. A brilliant guy but the sad thing about the film was Sharon Tate was the lead star and she was murdered before the whole thing was even edited. She was a lovely woman.

You also did the Funky Gibbon on Top of the Pops. How do you feel about getting to do that in hindsight – especially now that beloved show is no longer with us anymore?

Tim – It was wonderful to do. The problem is that every now and again they dig up one of our performances – and it’s the worst one we’ve ever done and we do look appalling. The Top of the Pop’s stuff that we did I’m very proud of. Bill wrote most of the songs and some of them were very good.

Bill – Thank You!

Tim- So it was great for us, not being pop singers, although Bill was to a certain extent to actually be on Top of the Pops and I think most people want to do things like that.

Bill – Yeah – the great thing was that we weren’t taking it too seriously. It really was a sideline thing and in fact it stemmed from a friend of mine who I used to play charity football with who was a record producer saying, “Oh, you ought to make a record” and we did that almost as a joke. We were like “Ok, let’s see what happens” but he was right. It’s happened before, one or two comedy groups with a hit or two, but frankly we probably had more than anybody else ever did in that area. Benny Hill had one or two.

Graeme – All at once we were top of the best selling books and we were top of the charts and television. It was just a very lucky time. I think that’s one of the best things - that we were actually in a position to think, “ This is very unreal, let’s enjoy it.” I know I did. It was a bit like having a runner in the Grand National, each week you kept thinking, I wonder if it’s going to go up to number one, oh it’s up to four this week, and seeing what happens without putting all your money on it.

How alike would you say you are to the characters you played?

Tim – I never liked my character. He was a horrible right wing Royalist twat (Laughs) but the one thing we both had in common was that were both cowards. I think it’s a terrible thing to be a coward because you don’t want to get killed. But Bill is very like his character and Graeme is strangely like his, but Tim is much nicer than his (Laughs)

Graeme – your son (John Garden) is a band member with the Scissor Sisters. You must be so proud of him, with all the acclaim they’ve been getting with their work?

Graeme – Yeah it’s terrific and I loved watching them at the Brits the other day. He’s over in the States at the moment. I’m not too sure where he is – Chicago I think. But he’s having a great time at the moment and of course that’s wonderful.

You all did voices in the top cartoon Banana-man in the 80s. But if you could have a super hero’s power what would it be and why?

Bill – Oh bloody hell…
Tim – I’ll go for the classic .. x-ray eyes through clothing. No,
Bill – Undoubtedly, I’m going to get serious, I’m bound to, I would want to remove world leaders that I disapprove of and that are going to lead us to a bad place.
Graeme – I would like to improve the quality of world leadership.
Bill – Yeah (Everybody laughs)
Tim - I would like to have the power to bring the Goodies back as repeats on the BBC.
Bill – C’mon. Tim always goes too far.
Graeme – Stick with invisible (Laughs) it’s worked for twenty years.
Bill – That was so bitchy. He’s one of the finest bitches. He’s known as that – he’s in the top ten witty bitches. I’m going to write that down. (Laughs)

Bill, you got to do the Who Do You Think You Are show. Do you regret it now because you said it was a very personal and emotional thing? Shows like this can often open up a can of worms…

Bill - No. But enjoys probably not the right word to describe it. It was a great programme to do and they did it extremely responsibly and certainly with dignity and integrity as it were. Rather more fun is a programme coming up which I’m in called “Play It Again” a BBC2 programme which I think will be on round about the time that Graeme and Tim go on tour. So they’ll miss it. (Laughs) That involves me learning how to play an electric guitar – a rather traumatic, dramatic time over last year I have to say. But with a happy ending I’m also happy to add.

THE GOODIES THE COMPLETE LWT SERIES (12) will be available to buy in a two-disc set on 26th March 2007.