Mr Flibble Talks To... Howard Goodall's Flibble Works
He's the man responsible for some of the catchiest TV theme tunes ever, and now the movies are beckoning. Mr Flibble whips out his organ and displays it for Red Dwarf's musical maestro.
2 February, 2001
Howard Goodall
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

Tell me about Tongue Tied and the Rimmer Munchkin song...

That's my personal favourite, the Arnold Rimmer song, because that's actually me singing. Chris, whom I adore, cannot be described as a great singer, and was quite happy to have the burden taken from his shoulders. He and I are not so very different in speech or background that it wouldn't have seemed right. I loved doing that Rimmer Song - I wish it had been a bit longer, myself. I think that whole episode, with the ending in the theme park, is brilliant, and probably my favourite of them.

The series had become much more about character, and the best comedy is character comedy. His character becoming what it was, was hilarious. His approach to that, and how he played that, was superb; and how the others reacted to it.

It's true of all the characters - when they take an aspect and exaggerate it, like Duane Dibbley, that's a wonderful moment. The character takes a left-turning and does its own thing, and I think it's at its very strongest when it does that. Even when it's very action-packed; when Rimmer is being Ace, a hero, what's funny is his pretentiousness about his situation - not so much the actual action. A crocodile falling on someone's head is okay as a gag, but much funnier is his riding on the back of a crocodile pretending he's a smug hero.

I think Tongue Tied was a sort of response to the fact that Danny and Craig were so into music, why not try to do something to use those talents.

Did those songs arrive as lyrics?

They both did, yeah. With Tongue Tied it had been mentioned early on that they wanted to do a song, and in fact their original lyric for the song was much longer. Originally I'd imagined it very much like the song Chain Reaction, slower and slightly chunkier. Building up and building up and getting more ridiculous as it goes on, in the way that Chain Reaction does, keeps changing key.

But Danny and Craig who - then as now - were slightly more in touch with cutting edge dance music, thought that was a bit staid and reactionary. They said, 'Can we do it in a slightly funkier way?' I was very happy for them to do that!

Danny released the full lengthy song, his own version, a few years ago...

Yeah - I like his version, I thought his version was great. The funny thing was - I remember being at Grant Naylor, nine months after Danny had come to see me and said, 'I want to do a cover version, have you got the music score for it?' So I looked them up and photocopied them. A few months go by, and I say to Rob, 'As a matter of interest, what happened to Danny's cover version on Tongue Tied?' And he said, 'I think you'll find it's number 19 in the charts.' (Laughs) I went down to HMV and bought a copy!