IT’S a sobering thought for comedy fans of a certain age, but The Goodies is 50 years old this year.

The comedy trio who brought the world Ecky Thump, Kitten Kong and countless surreal sketches spent a decade entertaining millions in those dark days of power cuts, punk and three TV channels.

One of the driving forces behind the comedy trio was of course Bill Oddie, the keen twitcher who has spent the past few decades propping up shows such as Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Bill Oddie Goes Wild.

He’s now at an age when he could be taking things easier,

but when the offer of teaming up with a few other national treasures for a barge-related show was offered, Bill said yes.

Jennie Bond also steps aboard. As BBC royal correspondent, she reported on events such as the Windsor Castle fire of 1992, the break-up of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson and the deaths of the Queen mother and Princess Margaret. After leaving the Beeb in 2003, Jennie survived no end of creepy crawlies in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The aptly named Pete Waterman has also signed up for a spot of messing around on the river. One of Coventry’s most successful exports has of course made a few quid with a string of some of the best loved tunes of all time – and an impressive 22 number one singles. Okay, he may not have fared too well in 2009’s Celebrity MasterChef, getting knocked out in the first round.

Together with Good Morning host and Loose Women panellist Anne Diamond, the quartet meet up on the Leeds and Liverpool canal for a journey along the longest single canal in the UK.

After getting to grips with their barges, they visit the model village at Saltaire, and discover how a mill that was one the largest textile factory in the world has been reinvented as an art gallery and high-tech production line.

Glasgow Times:

They breakfast at an old stables at the top of the infamous Bingley Five Rise series of locks, then head on to Skipton, and a castle saved from ruin by a local noblewoman. Their journey ends this week at an abandoned lime kiln reclaimed by bats.

There’s also an answer to the question: are there such songs

as canal shanties? (And if there are, will Pete suddenly get the urge to record them with a hi-NRG backing track?)