Written by and starring Graham Garden, Bill Oddie, Tim Brook-Taylor
Monty Python introduced British comedy to US audiences. It was a big success for PBS stations and they started looking for other shows from the UK to fill empty time on weekends. And one of these shows was The Goodies.
The show was a meld of sitcom and sketch comedy. The Goodies (Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, and Graham Garden) did odd jobs. Some very odd. Each episode would have a general plot, but they didn’t stick to it, filling the time with any joke they could fit it.
It was primarily slapstick and broad comedy, with sight gags all over the place. Graham and Tim tended to lead the group, will Bill usually was the one who was the brunt of the slapstick. Silent bits and undercranking were the norm.
Of course, the most famous episode was in 1975, where the show “Kung Fu Capers” led to a man dying laughing. Literally. Alex Mitchell died of heart failure while watching the show, after laughing continuously throughout. His widow didn’t blame the group (he seems to have had an undiagnosed heart condition), and thanked them for making his last minutes so happy.
The show ran for nine series of between 6 and 14 episodes. One of my favorites – “Kitten Kong,” where a giant kitten terrorizes London – has been lost, though it sounds like it may have been recreated.
But despite the success in the UK, only a couple of seasons made it across the pond. It’s worthy of rediscovery.