Christmas Goodies

Trio head BBC's festive line-up

The Goodies have reunited for a BBC Christmas special.

Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor – who are currently touring Australia together – will be joined by Bill Oddie for the two-hour BBC Two showcase.

The programme, which is part of a festive line-up steeped in nostalgia, has the trio reminiscing about their Seventies shows.

The return of the Goodies marks a U-turn for the corporation, which has previously refused to screen reruns of the show for fear it has aged badly.

A BBC spokesman said the new programme ‘blends documentary, archive, sitcom and audience participation’ as the trio break into their old office to explore their rise to fame.

Elsewhere in the Christmas schedules, The Two Ronnies return in the last of their compilations, with new links recorded shortly before Ronnie Barker's death last month.

BBC Two ventures into vintage comedy with two major documentaries about Tony Hancock, and his writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

The Hancock documentary retells the story of the tragic clown, whose private life was increasingly tormented by alcoholism and depression before he took his own life at the age of 44.

It has been made with the co-operation of Hancock's family and is described as an ‘intimate documentary that reveals a rounded and sympathetic portrait of this extraordinarily complex man and challenges some of the best-known myths about the comic genius’.

The Arena film on Galton And Simpson is billed as  the first full-length profile of two of the writers behind Hancock's Half Hour, Frankie Howerd and Steptoe and Son.

Other comedy programmes in the BBC One schedule include:

  • Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer returning for an As Times Goes By special
  • A French & Saunders Christmas special featuring spoofs of Boy George, George Michael, Jackie Stallone and Brigitte Neilson.
  • Scottish comics Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill starring in a festive edition of their old folks’ comedy Still Game
  • Graham Norton presenting a one-off celebrity version of The Generation Game
  • A seasonal special from Only Fools And Horses spin-off Green Green Grass, in  which social-climbers Boycie and Marlene are snowed in on their farmhouse.
  • A My Family Christmas special, a prelude to the sixth series coming early next year.

On BBC Two, there is a Christmas show from Catherine Tate;  and the screening of Three Men In A Boat, in which comics Griff Rhys-Jones, Rory McGrath and Dara O'Briain recreate the Thames journey of Jerome K Jerome’s Victorian comic novel.

And on BBC Three, Johnny Vegas stars in a Christmas special of dope-dealing comedy Ideal

BBC director of television Jana Bennett said: ‘Christmas is one of the biggest times of the year for shared viewing. With this in mind we have put together a line-up that we believe everyone can enjoy together.’

 

Published: 22 Nov 2005

Today's comedy-on demand picks

SLAPSTICK'S BIG NIGHT IN

Robin Ince hosts this VERY star-studded event to bolster the Bristol festival which celebrates all manner of vintage comedy. The calibre of guests who dropped in shows how much it's loved, including Sir Michael Palin, Rob Brydon, Stephen Merchant, Jo Brand, David Mitchell, Harry Hill, Jack Dee, Lucy Porter, Lee Mack, Graeme Garden, Stephen Fry, Jess Robinson, Tony Hawks, Richard Herring and Frankie Boyle.

Click for more suggestions
... including the Laughter Lounge virtual comedy festival and the return of Frank Skinner's poetry podcast.

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