The Goodies: Earthanasia (1977)

Other people have their seasonal film-watching rituals; this one is mine. Every Xmas Eve, it’s time to cue up disc 2 of the first Goodies DVD, ready to press play on “Earthanasia” as soon as 11.30pm rolls round. (I wish I could make it 1977 again when I do so, but some things are beyond even me.) This is not only my favourite Goodies episode, it’s one of my favourite episodes of any TV series ever, three men in a room waiting for the world to end on Xmas Eve… this year, of course, it has a certain added flavour what with the “Mayan” apocalypse shenanigans of the last few days (you’ll notice that the other date offered by some for the end of the world, i.e. last Sunday, never delivered either), but it’s screamingly funny every year, of course… As much as I enjoy the eighth series of The Goodies, this conclusion to the seventh would’ve been an astounding way to end the whole program, reduced to its most basic set-up of just Tim, Graeme and Bill together in the office (with a guest voice on the radio and TV); it’s Xmas Eve, and the world’s leaders have decided the world’s in too bad a state to be allowed to go on, so they’re going to blow it up at midnight (it being a bit after half past eleven when the news is announced). This leaves the boys with two problems: how to decide what they’re going to do with the last 25-odd minutes of their lives, and how are they going to cure Tim of his inhibition about his belly button before the world ends. Amazingly, despite confining the episode to its core cast and keeping them in one room, the show never feels like an end-of-season oh-shit-we’re-out-of-money-better-cut-costs exercise in the way that, for example, certain episodes of Doctor Who were, it takes real care with its real-time premise and there are only one or two bits where it slips up (the ABC’s propensity for cutting The Goodies to fit a children’s timeslot it was never meant for kind of ruined that timing). An ideal way, for me at least, to usher in the early hours of Xmas Day.

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