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Graeme Garden
You'll Have Had Your Tea - Graeme Garden.jpg
Graeme Garden in 2006, during a recording of You'll Have Had Your Tea
Birth name David Graeme Garden
Born 18 February 1943 (1943-02-18) (age 66)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Medium Stand-up, radio, stage, television
Nationality British (Scottish)
Years active 1964–present
Notable works and roles I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (1967-1973)
Twice a Fortnight (1967)
Broaden Your Mind (1968-1969)
The Goodies
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (1972-)

David Graeme Garden (born 18 February 1943) is a Scottish author, actor, comedian, artist and television presenter, who first became known as a member of The Goodies.


Early life and beginnings in comedy

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Garden was educated at Repton School, and studied medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he joined the prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Club (of which he became President in 1964), and performed with the 1964 Footlights revue, Stuff What Dreams Are Made Of at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Garden qualified in medicine at King's College London, but has never practised.[1] Asked how he justified making jokes rather than saving lives, he answered, "I don't think I would have done it as well. It's an interesting question – whether you've contributed more to the vast store of human enjoyment by doing comedy or by being a doctor, but the answer for me is that I don't think I would have been as successful or as happy being a doctor."[1]

Garden and Bill Oddie co-wrote many episodes of the television comedy series Doctor in the House, including most of the first season episodes of the series and all of the second season episodes. Later, Garden also wrote for Surgical Spirit (1994). Graeme Garden has also presented three series of the BBC's health magazine Bodymatters.

Garden was co-writer and performer in the classic BBC radio comedy show, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (ISIRTA) (1965–1970, and 1973). Garden was studying medicine during the early seasons of I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, and this commitment made it difficult for him to be a member of the cast during the third season because of a midwifery medical course in Plymouth. However, he kept on sending scripts for the radio show by mail — and rejoined the cast of ISIRTA upon his return to his medical studies in London. On several occasions his medical qualifications are lampooned; in the 25th Anniversary Show, David Hatch asks him if he's still a writer. Garden: "Here's something I wrote this morning". Hatch: "It's a prescription". "Yes," says Garden, "but it's a funny one...".

On television Graeme Garden was co-writer and performer in the comedy series Twice a Fortnight with Bill Oddie, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Jonathan Lynn.

Later, he was co-writer and performer in the comedy series Broaden Your Mind with Tim Brooke-Taylor (Bill Oddie joined the series for the second season).

1970s and The Goodies

Graeme Garden dressed as a Beefeater in "Tower of London", the first episode of The Goodies.

Garden, along with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, became a co-writer and performer in the comedy series The Goodies (1970–1982). Later, he was the voice of the title character of "Bananaman", as well as "General Blight" and "Maurice of the Heavy Mob" in the children's animated television comedy series called Bananaman (1983), which also featured his fellow Goodies, Tim and Bill, and which parodied comic book super-heroes.

Graeme appeared, with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, in the Amnesty International show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick) (during which they sang their hit song "Funky Gibbon"). The trio also appeared on "Top of the Pops" with the song.

In 1982 Garden and Oddie wrote, but did not perform in, a 6-part science fiction sitcom called Astronauts for Central and ITV. The show was set in an international space station in the near future.

"I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue"

Graeme Garden is a permanent panellist on the long-running BBC Radio improvisation show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (ISIHAC) in a cast which includes Tim Brooke-Taylor. He also stars in and co-writes You'll Have Had Your Tea, a direct spin-off of ISIHAC, and has contributed to several books from the series including guides to the game Mornington Crescent.

Stage appearances

Garden has a successful stage career, and has acted in several National Theatre productions, as well as London's West End. He has also acted in several BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series, and television drama including Peak Practice and Holby City. He appeared in Bang-Bang-a-Boom!, a spin off audio drama based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who by Big Finish Productions. Garden appeared with Tim Brooke-Taylor in the theatre production The Unvarnished Truth.

Garden recently wrote a play called The Pocket Orchestra which ran in London from the 26th of April 2006 till the 20th of May 2006.

Other roles

Garden appeared in the political sitcom, Yes Minister in the role of Commander Forrest of the Special Branch in the episode The Death List, as well as appearing as a Television Presenter in the Doctor in the House episode, Doctor on the Box.

He was a regular team captain on the political satire game show If I Ruled the World. Brooke-Taylor appeared as a guest in one episode, and during the game "I Couldn't Disagree More" he proposed that it was high time The Goodies episodes were repeated. Garden was obliged by the rules of the game to refute this statement, and replied, "I couldn't disagree more... it was time to repeat them ten, fifteen years ago." This was followed by uproarious applause from the studio audience. (The BBC's long-time refusal to re-broadcast episodes of The Goodies has been very unpopular with the viewing public.)

Garden wrote for and appeared with Barry Cryer and Alison Steadman in the 1989 BBC radio comedy sketch show The Long Hot Satsuma. In 2001 and 2002, Garden wrote for and appeared in the BBC radio comedy sketch show The Right Time, along with Eleanor Bron, Paula Wilcox, Clive Swift, Roger Blake, and Neil Innes. He was also script editor for The Hudson and Pepperdine Show.

In 2004, Garden and Brooke-Taylor were co-presenters of Channel 4's daytime game show Beat the Nation, in which they indulged in usual game show "banter", but took the quiz itself seriously. It was notable for its use of a "laugh track" instead of a studio audience, unusual for a quiz show.

Graeme Garden also writes and directs for the corporate video company Video Arts, famous for its training films starring John Cleese.

Garden is chair of the spoof radio game show Beat The Kids. He has also appeared on the UK version of the television series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which has a similar format. He was a co-writer of the BBC Radio 4 comedy Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off.

Recent appearances

Garden has hosted the quiz game Tell the Truth and presented a series of history programmes, A Sense of the Past for Yorkshire Television.[2]

Graeme Garden's voice was featured in the irreverent animated comedy series about a horrifically bad London comprehensive high school, Bromwell High beginning in 2006.

In June 2006, Garden became a panellist on the new BBC Radio 4 comedy quiz show, The Unbelievable Truth (which he co-devised), starring, among others, Jeremy Hardy and Andy Hamilton.

In August 2006, Garden and Brooke-Taylor joined up to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe in a show which looked back with some nostalgia to their work with the Goodies and in light entertainment.

He also appeared on the comedy quiz show QI in November 2006.

In 2003, Garden wrote the Radio 4 series About a Dog, based on an original idea by Debbie Barham, with a second series in 2007.

Garden has appeared in two of Big Finish's Doctor Who audio dramas, both times playing a parodic character. In Bang-Bang-a-Boom! he plays Professor Fassbinder, a parody of Victor Bergman in Space: 1999. In Max Warp he plays TV presenter Geoffrey Vantage, parodying Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson (this episode broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on the 26 October 2008).

Personal life and family

Graeme Garden is married to Emma and they have a son, Tom.

Garden also has a daughter, Sally, and a son, John, from his previous marriage to Mary Elizabeth Wheatley Grice.[3][4] His son John Garden is the keyboardist for the music group Scissor Sisters, and shares songwriting credit on their 2006 album.[5]. His daughter Sally is an Assistant Headteacher.

Graeme Garden lives in Oxfordshire with his family; his leisure interests include painting and playing the banjo. He played the banjo in the Goodies episodes, "Gender Education" and "Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms".


An incomplete list includes:

  • The Best Medicine: Graeme Garden's Book of Medical Humour compiled and illustrated by Graeme Garden, published by Robson Books Ltd., London (1984), ISBN 0-86501-295-9
  • The Skylighters
  • The Seventh Man
  • Graeme Garden's Compendium of Very Silly Games
  • Stolvold's Mornington Crescent Almanac

Co-written with the other members of The Goodies:

  • The Goodies File
  • The Goodies Book of Criminal Records
  • The Making of The Goodies Disaster Movie


Sources consulted
  1. ^ a b Winkler, Michael (2005). ""Still Goodies . . . but oldies"". Entertainment: TV & Radio. The pp. (March 5, 2005). Archived from the original on 2007-10-21.  
  2. ^ The Best Medicine: Graeme Garden's Book of Medical Humour, compiled and illustrated by Graeme Garden, published by Robson Books Ltd., London (1984), ISBN 0-86501-295-9
  3. ^ "Who's Who on Television" — Independent Television Books, London, England (1985). ISBN 0-907965-31-6
  4. ^ "Who's Who on Television" — Independent Television Books, London, England (1988). ISBN 0-907965-40-0
  5. ^ "Relative Values: Graeme Garden and his son, John". London: The Sunday Times. March 4, 2007.  

Footlights presidency

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Tim Brooke-Taylor
Footlights President
Succeeded by
Eric Idle

External links



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