22b. The Goodies Travelling Instant 5 Minute Christmas

The Goodies Travelling Instant 5 Minute Christmas

25 December 1972

Sandwiched between ‘A Collection of Goodies (Special Tax Edition)’ and Series 3 lies a typically madcap if mostly overlooked little Christmas special. Unlike Series 7’s ‘Earthanasia’, the lads’ ‘5-Minute Christmas’ doesn’t play out in real time (it’s actually 7½ minutes), but there’s nevertheless something endearingly chaotic about squeezing Christmas into a bite-sized broadcast slot—in this case, a contribution to ‘Christmas Night with the Stars’[1], as hosted by the Two Ronnies.

Superficially, the Instant Christmas special is not a lot different from those segments that comprise ‘A Collection of Goodies’. The humour, however, is more on point, and the frenetic execution lends a fizzing energy. Where ‘Tax Edition’ sagged under its own weight, ‘5 Minute Christmas’ is a joyous burst of tomfoolery, rattling along to a raspberried-up version of the instrumental section from ‘Far Away’ (from ‘Commonwealth Games’).

The plot conceit has the lads staging a travelling Christmas performance for a Dickensian street urchin[2], during which they:

  • sing some highly compressed carols while executing snap costume changes
  • attempt to extricate Bill qua Santa from a chimney
  • contend with some pesky Christmas fairies (Tim sprays them with insect repellent!)
  • stage a ramshackle pantomime (which at just over 1 minute doesn’t outstay its welcome… which is more than can be said for Series 9’s ‘Snow White 2’!)
  • and present the urchin with an outrageous invoice… whereupon he is Christmas wished into a millionaire, and the lads are left homeless on the street

Bill, of course, makes intermittent attempts to have his way with the showgirl (played by Denise Distel), and we’re given the usual doses of irreverent physical humour. When it’s time to go to sleep, the urchin is literally thrown into bed… and then knocked unconscious with a giant mallet!

Director Jim Franklin is on top of his game throughout, showing the Super Chaps’ talents and pulling off just about every trick in their non-verbal arsenal. One wonders if being part of a line-up of guests brought out the lads’ competitive instincts?

In any case, they delivered!

Jacob Edwards, 25 December 2022


Text: 50 years ago today, the Goodies contributed a 7-minute pre-filmed segment to ‘Christmas Night with the Stars’ (hosted by the Two Ronnies). Today, I revisit this ‘Travelling Instant 5 Minute Christmas’. #Goodies50

Picture: A sign proclaiming ‘Goodies Travelling Instant 5 Minute Christmas’.
Text: In the Goodies’ rendition of traditional Christmas carols, one of the shepherds looks suspiciously Cornish. Naturally, the lads have a sheep prop on hand. #Goodies50

Picture: Tim dressed as a shepherd leads a sheep on wheels.
Text: The giant bell that drops onto Tim is, of course, an entirely different bell from the one he pulled down three months earlier in the ‘Special Tax Edition’ gymnasium! #Goodies50

Picture: Tim with bells... is squished by a giant golden bell. Tim pulls on a rope... and is squished by an entirely different giant bell.
Text: Classic Goodies reality gag: the showgirl (Denise Distel) holds up a sign announcing AFTER CHRISTMAS DINNER, flips it to reveal the message THE QUEEN’S SPEECH, then flips it *again* to make a magic trick out of the punch line HOORAY ! (Tim, of course, is the queen.) #Goodies50

Picture: A showgirl brandishing a two-sided sign which turns out to have three sides. Graeme holding a TV frame through which can be seen Tim wearing the Queen’s crown.
Text: Happy 50th anniversary to ‘Goodies Travelling Instant 5 Minute Christmas’, a small but delightful Christmas gift from 1973! #Goodies50 #SuperChapsThree

That’s 22 (and a bit) episodes down in my Goodies retrospective: https://www.jacobedwards.id.au/22b-the-goodies-travelling-instant-5-minute-christmas/

Next up (really this time): Series 3!

Picture: Graeme as a king, pointing at a star (attached by wire to his head!) and about to be yanked off-stage with a shepherd’s crook. Tim with a Christmas fairy hovering above his head; Bill about to swat him.

[1] Cilla Black was one of the guests, so no wonder the Goodies filmed their contribution in advance…!

[2] Paul Ellison, who played the urchin, found himself launched to bit-part stardom, appearing deep down in the credits of both Great Expectations (1974) and Nicholas Nickleby (1977).

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