Friday 7 July 2017


From 1982: A fairly rare (at least in the UK) piece of TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY merchandise: The storybook adaptation of the feature-length pilot episode.

I really liked this show back when it aired on BBC ONE and I still think it is one of the better shows to emerge out of the Universal Action Factory of the 1980s.  A great premise (not really just an Indiana Jones knock-off... although the network was trying to push it in that direction), good cast and characters and - of course - the Goose.  Plus one of the all-time great theme tunes.

Despite the exotic locale, only this pilot episode included any principle photography shot somewhere tropical: Hawaii.  The rest of the series used the Universal backlot, carefully disguised with clever camera angles.  Occasional off-lot filming took the cast to locations like the Queen Mary.  

The really surprising thing is that the show latest only a single season before it was axed.  It had the look and feel of a long-runner. It aired on primetime BBC ONE here which - I think - always magnifies our perceptions of success because an imported show always seemed like a much bigger deal.  Look at the UK vs. US success of the POTA weekly series a decade earlier.  Or the relative high profiles of MANIMAL, AUTOMAN and STREETHAWK over here.  Although no-one other than me seems to remember the weekly series version of FREEBIE AND THE BEAN.  Sigh.

Merchandise related to the show is limited.  There is an excellent UK DVD release which is well worth getting and finally allowed me to dump my long-held bootleg copies.  It's worth getting not least for the very good new documentary, although the relationship between Stephen Collins and Faye ('V') Grant has - ahem - taken a turn for the worse since it was made.  Revelations about Collins may also mean this show is even less likely to get any TV exposure in future.

There was also supposed to be a UK annual but - to be honest - I have never seena copy 'in the wild' so i can't be 100% sure it was ever published.  But I will keep looking.  UK comics rights went to TV COMIC, which is always hard to find.


  1. There definetly was an annual, published by Grandreams like the old Hulk annuals I think. I picked mine up for half price in the January sales the year after it came out. Long gone now I'm afraid but I remember reading it to death at the time!

  2. Slow, a quick search on eBay confirms there's a TotGM annual floating about and selling for around £8.

  3. Wasn't there an ad in the m-uk comics that showed a different cover for that annual ? Maybe a ' dummy ' version.

    There is also a poster mag listed on ebay uk.


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