Born in Bromley, Kent and educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Goodall has written choral works, classical music and multiple film and television scores.
He met Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis at university and has worked on many of their projects, including Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley and Mr Bean, as well as Rowan's live "One Man Show".
He has also presented many programs on the history of music for Channel 4. One of those programs, "Howard Goodall's Big Bangs", won the Bafta award for a specialised series. He won a Classical BRIT award for "Composer of the Year" in 2009 and, in the same year, he was awarded an Emmy award for his work on "Into The Storm".
Goodall was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music education.
When he first played the Red Dwarf theme he had written to the cast, they thought it was a rough draft with deliberately silly lyrics. He was quite serious and the finished article was virtually identical.
Goodall revealed on one of the DVD commentaries that there were many other verses to the theme which were never heard until he played and sang them for the camera.