A Collection of Goodies (Special Tax Edition)
24 September 1972
One of the few Goodies episodes I didn’t see when growing up. Although snippets found their way into the opening credits of future series (to the fleeting amusement but great mystification of many of us), the collection was never screened holus bolus on Australian free-to-air television. Which goes to show that our national love of the Goodies was not untempered by a measure of discernment…
…because this ‘special’ is, I dare say, anything but. It is a mash-up compilation of segments filmed for Engelbert with the Young Generation. Amidst the minimal linking footage, we are presented with the Goodies:
- firkydoodling about in a gymnasium (to the instrumental section of ‘Far Away’ from ‘Commonwealth Games’)
- playing various sports with a plum pudding (to ‘Catch Me If You Can’ from ‘Tower of London’)
- performing as the musical act Pan’s Grannies
- taking care of five babies, as per an outdoor pet grooming service (to ‘What Do I Have To Do To Make You Love Me?’ from ‘Give Police a Chance’)
- putting on an inept cabaret outside what they take to be a West End theatre, but which turns out to be the unemployment office
Each of these instalments has its moments. (Graeme, for instance, taking layer after layer off the vaulting horse until it is little more than shin height… whereupon he trips over it. Or Tim’s Chuck Berry duckwalk pratfall.) The problem is, each consists of only a single element of The Goodies—namely, filmed hijinks to musical accompaniment—which in the usual course of an episode might take up a quarter of the running time. And that’s all there is. It is overload. Saturation. It is baking a cake using only sugar and egg, with occasional cutaways to Tim, Graeme and Bill reading a recipe for something grander.
I’ve always preferred regular Goodies episodes to the specials, and I think ‘A Collection of Goodies’ demonstrates, through absence, the importance of structure in the lads’ more usual comic undertakings. While the catch-all ‘Anything Anytime’ looking for work conceit was flimsy at best, it nevertheless provided some direction. Yes, Graeme’s half of the writing was more wordy and set-based, and Bill’s was more free-flowing and involved more ‘getting up, falling down’. Yes, the plots veered wildly off-course from their starting premise. But the disparity was a known quantity. The escalations and variations emphasised some absurdity and milked it for effect.
The specials, on the other hand, veer rather too much towards self-indulgence (the Pan’s Grannies segment presaging the episode-long wet dream of ‘The Goodies — Almost Live’ in Series 6). The framing device involves Tim’s filling in a ‘Tax Evasion Form’, claiming tax rebates for (extremely) quasi-legitimate expenses. Unfortunately, the humour on show here seems of equally dubious provenance!
Oh well. The lads did put on a bumper second series. Let them have their little bonus! Onwards to Series 3…
Jacob Edwards, 24 September 2022
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