The Goodies: Season 7, Episode 1

Alternative Roots (1 Nov. 1977)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy
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Tim, Graeme, and Bill study their ancestry and come up with theories as to how their families first met.


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Episode cast overview:
Tim Brooke-Taylor ...
Tim Brooke-Taylor / County Cutie
Graeme Garden ...
Graeme Garden / Celtic Kilty
Bill Oddie ...
Bill Oddie / Kinda Kinky
Bryan Pringle ...
The Tourmaster
Charlie Stewart
Stuart Fell
Max Faulkner
The Fred Tomlinson Singers
John Melainey
Kenneth Warwick


Tim finds an old family crest, which he interprets as meaning he comes from a long line of lords. However Bill realizes it's turned the wrong way round and that it actually shows that Tim's ancestors were sheep rustlers, much to his chagrin. Meanwhile, Graeme has discovered his Scottish roots and starts spinning wild tales of his ancestors, which leads Bill to start off about his ancestors in rural England. Soon the whole thing turns into a ludicrous story about how three of their ancestors first met and got into show business. Written by E. E. Buchanan

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Release Date:

1 November 1977 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Amusing "Roots" parody and crushing anti-racist statement
10 June 2009 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

"Alternative Roots" must be one of the most important and daring Goodies episodes. Together with "South Africa", it is one of the two shows about racism. It is a parody of not one but two other shows: "Roots" and "The Black&White Minstrel Show". The parody of "Roots", certainly made since "Roots" was such a big success, is funny in some ways, has some not so fun under-the-belt jokes, and all in all the first half is only mildly amusing.

But halfway, the show turns another way, gets funnier, and eventually into another side of racism. The Goodies (or rather their ancestors) are forced onto a tourist bus version of a slave ship, and are forced (by a Hitler look-alike) to act in "The Black&White Minstrel Show", the strange show where all men were black-face, and, according to Graeme, spoke in a silly way. The concept seems quite a bit racist, and that is what the Goodies work on. After some very strong statements about the show (which was indeed soon canceled!) the show ends with some pretty good slapstick.

Before learning about "The Black&White Minstrel Show" I found this episode strange, I didn't know what they were mocking, why it was supposed to be funny. After finding some "minstrel material" on YouTube, this show stands out as one that is both good, daring and important, and the step from "Roots" to minstrels is now logical and reasonable to me.

It is extremely hard to rate, since this must be one of the most dated episodes. To be aired today, it would have to be introduced with extra information, especially about "The Black&White Minstrel Show". But then it would work.

Some memorable moments:

  • Land of hope and glooory... - Ob! - I beg you a pardon? - Ob! It's

all in here: "How to rap minstrel". It's not "land of", it is "land ob"!

  • Why can't it be "The White&White Minstrel Show"? - That would be

racial prejudice!

  • A brand new historic costume series, "I, rastas".

  • Right, give those boys a series!

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