“The Goodies” returns to Australian TV to delight fans with un-PC humour

Contributed article

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most popular programmes on Australian TV was the British comedy show “The Goodies”, which was screened on the ABC in a prime evening timeslot and was considered suitable for children. The iconic comedy trio of Tim, Graeme and Bill delighted Australian audiences with their unique style of clever and highly innovative absurdist humour, often depicted with very topical themes relevant to their time.

“The Goodies” had a slogan: “We do anything anytime”, which was written on their office door; but they could have used “we mock everything, anything and anyone”. “The Goodies” demonstrated how comedy back in their days was something of a free-for-all; with the frequent mocking of even such things as animal cruelty, sexual harassment in the workplace, and suicide.

There were episodes that used “blackface” humour, and one that mocked human cannibalism. Also mocked were the British police, game-hunting aristocrats, obese housewives, wealthy people, the elderly, Asian martial artists, and of course members of the British royal family.

Many times, “The Goodies” (particularly Tim) demonstrated staunch British patriotism, and they had seemingly no qualms about mocking foreigners; with the French openly called “greasy wogs”, the Germans “Krauts”, Gypsies “horse thieves”, and Eskimos from Greenland portrayed as invasive cod poachers. Americans, Scots and the Welsh were also not spared, with the latter portrayed as boring religious and rugby fanatics.

Many celebrities were mocked, and the then iconic Australian entertainer Rolf Harris was savagely mocked.

In one perhaps very interesting episode, a “Clown Virus” is unleashed on the people of Britain as part of an American biological weapons programme.

The ABC at the time did not screen every episode that “The Goodies” made, as some were considered unsuitable. The entire last series (made in 1981) was never shown on the ABC.

The good news is that some bright sparks at the Foxtel TV network have finally done what should have happened years ago: brought back “The Goodies” to its legion of adoring Australian TV fans. No doubt it has brought back a lot of nostalgia to old fans, and created quite a few new ones as well.

Fans can now again appreciate what good humour was, and how funny it could be, before political correctness and the Nanny State reared their ugly heads and helped make a lot more people a lot more sensitive and emotionally fragile.

“The Goodies” can currently be viewed weekdays at multiple timeslots on the Fox Classics channel.

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