Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Goodies... At Last A Second Helping (1977) Film Review
Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie - aka The Goodies - were the friendlier, cuddlier version of the Monty Python team, with whom they were often compared. Despite common roots in the Oxbridge comedy mafia of the Sixties, their mixture of surreal silliness and slapstick made them more accessible than John Cleese and Co's wildly experimental satire.
Although inspired by legendary radio show The Goons and initial collaborators on I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, The Goodies were more eager than Python to explore the potential of mimed comedy. A 16mm film segment, packed full of visual gags that hearkened back to Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, distinguished almost every episode of their TV show. The Goodies themselves were readily identifiable - Bill the scruffy socialist, Tim the flag-waving patriot and Graeme the mad scientist. Every week, one of them would go entertainingly mad and have to be reined in by the other two.
It was these qualities, along with a strong line in poking fun at current pop culture that made them one of the top comedy teams of the decade, twice winning The Golden Rose of Montreux. So it's surprising that the BBC has been somewhat miserly in putting the lads onto DVD. Was the frustration of the fans reflected in the title of their previous volume - The Goodies... At Last?
A Second Helping provides eight more episodes of escalating insanity. Built around the slim premise of a team that will do "anything, anytime", this selection sees The Goodies establish a pirate postal service (Radio Goodies), become film producers (Movies) and go mining for clotted cream and strawberry jam in Cornwall (Bunfight At OK Tea Rooms). Aficionados will be interested by the inclusion of a recently restored show about feuding ballroom dancers (Come Dancing) and two atypical episodes - one overtly political, entitled South Africa, in which apartheid is replaced by "apart height" and Bill leads an army of jockeys in a revolution, and The End, an entirely studio-bound show.
As followers of Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue can tell you, Garden and Brooke-Taylor are still very funny men, as is the confrontational ornithologist Oddie who also provided much of the show's distinctive music. As a result, many of the jokes, especially the visual gags, stand the test of time. Comedy, like milk and Donatella Versace, does not generally age well, but this DVD proves The Goodies have been criminally ignored for too long.
Thirds, anyone?Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2005