Goodies review: Cockatoo Island

Tim Brooke-Taylor, Cotton Ward, Graeme Garden
Tim Brooke-Taylor, Cotton Ward, Graeme Garden

They’re brilliant! Went to three of the four shows.

What I enjoyed most is their wit and on-the-spot improvisation and changes they made between the shows. There’s so much subtle physical comedy too (especially from Tim) — the glances and postures; the timing of each phrase. So much confidence gained from years committed to comedy. Watching two masters of the art in action who are still great friends.

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden

My favourite Goodie is Graeme and I especially liked the way he used to fall over in the TV show and as a kid, this inspired me to practise on the grass at home in the backyard — it took a bit of courage, as he’d fall straight back and have one knee bent up, which was helpful in partially controlling/breaking the fall. But Tim pointed out in the show today that Graeme used to wear padding on his elbows and back to cushion all his falls! Derr! A belated  “don’t-try-this-at-home” epiphany for me! However, Tim pointed out that for one spectacular fall — in the famous tomato sauce shoot-out in Bunfight at the OK Tearooms — Graeme spun around three times before he executed the fall and ended up accidentally flat on his face!

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden.
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. Tim takes the gender-bending role as usual, wearing a fluffy-frilled pink cowgirl hat.

I enjoyed the show more than their Australian tour in 2005, which was also great, but I think it felt more relaxed and the setting was more intimate. Aussies love The Goodies because it was repeated so often on the ABC. Their last TV show had been recorded in 1981. There are references to the snippets that were censored by the ABC (children’s slot TV) and an ABC archivist had found some juicy snippets that were screened today for the first time. (The British copy has been lost forever.)

Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. Photo: Cotton Ward
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. I took this pic at the final show on Sunday night.

They recalled their history and showed an early pre-Goodies sketch of Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman as Northerners bemoaning life’s hardships, thus pre-dating the famous similar Monty Python sketch. There were gags about ageing and a lot of comments, when viewing clips, of how such scenes couldn’t easily be shot again today due to health and safety regulations. If they were making The Goodies today they’d be covering topics such as the Harry Potter films, Jurassic Park, and news and current events. Anything that cheesed them off.

Tim mentioned that he’d had a bit part in the first Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie and he’d been terrified during the scene that he’d push the wrong button on the computer as there was one that would wipe out the records of the Nestle chocolate factory.

Re: the shows. For the 12pm performance, the sound was patchy and there was loud music wafting in from a performance outside.
The Goodies fixed the problem by using different microphones for the 4.30pm performance and they changed a few of their jokey comments and references and even one or two clips — it was good to see such improvisation.
In the second show, the video clip screenings busted half-way through so they improvised the rest of the show and at the end we saw a couple of clips. That was brilliant and Tim unexpectedly turned the tables on the interviewer, a Chaser bloke, a couple of times with some witty comments.

The show ended with a C&W song written by Bill Oddie and we all joined in.

As an extra treat, for the fourth show the Funky Gibbon clip was shown at the end.

Bill Oddie, the co-writer with Graeme, wasn’t here in person or on videolink — he has a bad bout of depression and Graeme and Tim said they hoped he got better soon.

We bought a copy of the DVD, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue — a radio show featuring, among others, Graeme and Tim, and it’s excellent. They’ve been doing this BBC Radio 4 show for 37 years.

For the record, my favourite Goodie episodes are: Strawberries and Cream, Trapped, Cod, Murder on the Orient Express, Black and White Beauty and String.


2 thoughts on “Goodies review: Cockatoo Island”

  1. how great was this! i had so much fun!

    i noticed the changes between their shows too – it was so good to see them so fresh still.

    I read on The Shambles blog that on of them did an interview with tim and graeme – and then when they did the 2nd performance they added the Willy Wonka references from this interview:

    so glad that they we got to see and hear it!


    1. thanks for that great link. Love the bit about their writing style. And the audience photo.
      We were lucky indeed to see them in person — Tim’s 69 and Graeme’s 66. I hope they’ll feel up to visiting here again someday.


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