Posts Tagged ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’

Tribute Next Monday to Tim Brooke-Taylor on Radio 4

April 29, 2020

This one’s for fans of the Goodies and the radio show, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, ‘the antidote to panel games.’ According to next week’s Radio Times for 2-8 May 2020, Radio 4 are broadcasting a tribute to the late comic actor, Tim Brooke-Taylor, on Monday 4th May at 6.30 pm. The blurb for it in the Radio Times by Simon O’Hagan on page 118 runs

47 Years Without a Clue – A Tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor

This is going to be so wonderful but so sad – a tribute to the deeply lovable comedy giant Tim Brooke-Taylor, who died last month with Coronavirus at the age of 79. Fellow Goodie Graeme Garden presents, with the emphasis on TBT’s immense contribution to the other great show they teamed up on, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. “The Tim I knew was fuelled by nervous energy,” longtime Clue producer Jon Naismith tells me. “It was this underlying state of mild panic that not only made him enormously relatable to audiences, it led to some of the funniest moments.

Video Tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor

April 17, 2020

The news broke yesterday that the great comedian and actor, Tim Brooke-Taylor, had passed away at the age of 79. He’d had a long career in radio and television, appearing in such shows as At Last, the 1948 Show, the Goodies and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the ‘antidote to panel games’ on Radio 4.

I found this short video tribute to him on Mooch TV’s channel on YouTube. It includes a clip from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971, in which he argues with a computer about trying to find three of the golden tickets, short clips from his appearance on chat shows, including The One Show, and of course the Goodies. This includes an outtake, in which he and Bill Oddie battle vainly against a record player and its disc that are resolutely refusing to behave. The video uses as its musical accompaniment to these clips a segment from I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. One of the games the panel are regularly required to perform is singing one song to the tune of another. In this instance, it’s Tim very capably singing The Smith’s ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ to ‘Tiptoe through the Tulips’.  It ends with a clip of Michael Aspel being crushed by a giant paw from the Goodies episode ‘Kitten Kong’.

I was a great fan of the Goodies as a young child in the 1970s. It’s sheer, exuberant silliness appealed to my very juvenile sense of humour, and I still have fond memories of it as an adult. The show is out on DVD, and although there was a special looking back at the series a few years ago, it has never been repeated.

I know it was a children’s show, as the Pythons themselves laughingly point out in one early episode of the show, but I far prefer it to John Cleese and co. I might be projecting here, as I discovered Python in the 1980s when my depression and anxiety was becoming more severe, but there was something bleak, cynical and angry in Python which I didn’t like. Some of the Goodies‘ episodes were bleak too, such as one in which they find that the area about their home has been redeveloped so they are bricked in, and have to spend the rest of their lives in alone with each other. But mostly it was just sheer, brilliant fun, like the episode ‘Ecky-Thump’, in which Bill Oddie becomes a master of the ancient Northern martial art. The masters of this wear oversize flat caps and braces and use black puddings as nunchakas. It was so funny that one viewer literally died laughing of a heart attack while watching it.

Brooke-Taylor appeared in many other shows after the Goodies was finally cancelled, but it is for the Goodies he will be best remembered. Britain has lost one of its great comic talents.

R.I.P. big man.

 

Cecil Parkinson Dead at 84

January 26, 2016

Scarfe Parkinson

Gerald Scarfe’s bilious view of Parkinson: All matinee idol looks and smarmed down hair.

Mike yesterday also reported yesterday the death of the Tory politician, Cecil Parkinson, at the age of 84: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/25/former-tory-minister-cecil-parkinson-dies-aged-84/. Parkinson was a member of Thatcher’s cabinet and was being groomed to be her successor, when the news broke of his affair with Sara Keays, by whom he had a daughter, Flora. Mike states that this was his first exposure to political sleaze. Mike’s disgusted by Parkinson’s treatment of his lovechild, who has Asperger’s and learning difficulties. Parkinson has supported the child financially, but never met her, to the girl’s distress. Mike states that its because of this callous treatment of his handicapped daughter, that he has nothing good to say about the former politico.

Mike’s right, and the more you know about it, the more disgusted you are with Parkinson’s behaviour. Parkinson was in Private Eye on and off for years in the 1990s because of his treatment of his former lover and their daughter. He was extremely reluctant to pay Keays sufficient maintenance to support them both, and, from what I recall, imposed some kind of weird gagging order on her. I’m afraid it’s so long since I looked at the articles, that I can’t remember the details, but the Eye reported that this had the effect of making Keays unable to claim some of the welfare benefits or financial relief she needed. At one point I think she and her daughter were facing losing their home.

This was the grim reality facing Keays later on. At the time the scandal was regarded as a huge joke. Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the antidote to panel games, had this little song about the affair:

John Selwyn Gummer is a name warm and dear,
Isn’t it a pity,
Cecil Parkinson wasn’t a trifle queer.

This caddish behaviour didn’t stop Parkinson from staging something of comeback. He appeared on Have I Got News For You a decade or so ago on television. Ian Hislop said that he charmed all of them. This is surprising, given the way the magazine uncovered and described his lover’s ill-treatment. As for his general demeanour, I don’t think many women shared this opinion of him. My mother and her friends agreed that he looked the kind of man they would not like to be caught behind the back of the filing cabinets with.

Clearly, he was not a man who valued marital fidelity, and his persecution and neglect of Keays seems mean-spirited and spiteful, at the very least. He probably wasn’t the worst, but he certainly did personify to an extent the personal sleaze and corruption of the Tory front bench.