It’s Classic Clip Friday: The Goodies – Bunfight At The O.K. Tea Rooms

Ah, The Goodies. A 1970s-style mix of surrealism, slapstick and satire, courtesy of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

I have very fond, but limited, memories of The Goodies TV show. Fond, cos they were great. Limited because I was too young to see their early shows, so I only remember, hazily, the last couple of series.

Of course, I’ve seen a few more episodes over the years, thanks to the occasional repeat and a few video and DVD releases but of the 74 episodes of The Goodies made between 1970 and 1982, only a handful tend to get repeated (very rarely at that) and even fewer are available to buy. We really need a proper season-by-season DVD release.

The Goodies was often criticised as being a kids’ show and while it’s true that the daftness and slapstick appeal to kids in a way that, say, Monty Python never could – and the general lack of overt crudity made it more likely that parents would let their kids watch it – the truth is that this facade of innocence and immaturity often masked a sophisticated style of humour that was definitely aimed at grown-ups.

Yes, some episodes never rose above the level of pure, surreal silliness – though even then, there was often an intellectual idea at the heart of it – but many of them also injected some biting social and/or political satire. Subjects tackled, for example, included the likes of apartheid, nuclear armageddon and animal rights.

And despite the general lack of high-profile appreciation for the show these days, the surreal, anarchic influence of The Goodies is clear in alternative comedy in general and in several TV shows that followed, such as Absolutely and, especially, The Young Ones.

The Goodies also frequently parodied popular TV shows and movies, which is where this week’s classic clip comes in.

It’s from the Bunfight At The O.K. Tea Rooms episode. The story so far: our three heroes go digging for gold in Cornwall but fail to find any. However, they strike it lucky in a different way when they hit a seam of clotted cream. Greedy Graeme registers the cream mine in his own name, cheating Tim and Bill out of their shares – but they get their own back when they strike jam and scones in another mine. Jealous Graeme suggests that they play poker, at the local saloon tea room, winner takes all:


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