Tim Brooke-Taylor dies of COVID-19 at 79

Tilly Williams discusses the legacy of television comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor, best known as one of The Goodies.

Tilly Williams
12th April 2020
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE recently passed away from coronavirus at 79 after a career on screen spanning over six decades.

The comedian was best known for his contributions to comedy trio The Goodies alongside Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. He also starred in and co-wrote sketches with John Cleese and Michael Palin, notably taking part in the pilot of How To Irritate People in 1968 as well as the on going radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

His humour brought smiles to generations, shaping the childhoods of many and becoming a symbol of 70s television history. The Goodies, while being somewhat dated and controversial to today’s audiences, entertained a whole nation, featuring abstract concepts from giant cats to martial arts with black puddings as well as a remaking of MacBeth with a wonder dog. Brooke-Taylor played a rather conservative parody of someone of his class and educational background, going by his own name. Every episode is filled with originality and creativity which inspired future shows such as The Mighty Boosch, The League of Gentlemen and Little Britain. The show's reception was unmatched, a letter being sent to the trio thanking them for making their husband's last moments so pleasant after he reportedly died of laughter during the episode called ‘Kung Fu Kapers’, as well as a woman going into labour while watching the show and refusing to go to hospital until it had finished.

Former co-star Graeme Garden said he was “terribly saddened by the loss of a dear colleague and close friend of over 50 years".

"He was a funny, sociable, generous man who was a delight to work with. Audiences found him not only hilarious but also adorable. His loss at this dreadful time is particularly hard to bear, and my thoughts are with Christine, Ben, Edward and their families."

His co-host on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue Jack Dee said "It has come as devastating news to hear that Tim has succumbed to this dreadful virus - especially when we all thought he was recovering. Tim was a delightful man and never anything but great company. It has always been one of the great joys of my career to work with someone who was part of the comedy landscape of my childhood."

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