Bill slumps in his beanbag and reads a magazine (while having a crafty suck of his lemon sherbet!) while Tim buzzes around feverishly trying to clean up the mess in the office in case a client comes in. A bossy Tim has a crack at Bill about his slobbish appearance ("Ooh you are a grubby grotty little scruffpot!") and "disgusting" shoes (only for an offended Bill to reply "Those are my feet!") and he attempts to polish Bill's feet with black nugget, which makes Bill stroppy in turn. Tim is rather depressed, as the Goodies haven't had a job in two months, and he admits that he could do with a good laugh. A series of hysterical cackles appear to herald the arrival of a client ("Either that or a hyena!" according to Bill) and a strange-looking lady (wearing a black dress and pointed, fruit-filled hat, and carrying a stuffed black cat and snakeskin handbag) enters the Goodies' office. She firstly gives Tim and Bill their much-needed good laugh after Bill suggests that she might be a loony (with both Tim and Bill guffawing uncontrollably while she shrieks with laughter until Bill eventually remarks "She is a loony. Get her out!"); then she tells them her sad life story.
She is a witch named Hazel who was given no choice but to follow her family tradition, but has always wanted to be a zookeeper instead. Unfortunately her obsession with "little furry animals" has ruined her business, as she is only able to conjure up the mystical voices of cows, sheep and three-toed sloths instead of those of the dearly-departed relatives of her clients. Tim offers to help Hazel solve her problem, but Bill finds the whole idea balmy and suggests that she should seek the help of other witches instead. Hazel tells him that witches no longer help each other, as they have turned black (with Bill cheekily remarking "Turned black? That's because they've been in the coven for too long!") and sold their illustrated stories to the Sunday papers; something that Hazel can't do because "nobody wants pictures of little furry animals dancing naked around the campfire" in any case!
Hazel wants help to contact "the other side" just as Graeme enters the room after being out and about selling 'orrible 'airy spiders (with a loud exclamation of "Cor, I'm knackered!") Hazel feels that Graeme has "the power" and threatens to put a curse on the Goodies if they refuse to help her before she offers to pay them for their assistance (with the wad of banknotes attached to a rubber band that springs back into her handbag as Tim tries to collect them from her – "Ha ha, you haven't earned it yet!"). The Goodies desperately need the money, so they play along and set up a séance where Graeme pretends to be possessed and Bill hides under the table in a bid to fool Hazel. After an initial barber's shop quartet-style "Hellooo!" to get the séance underway, Graeme owns up to being "the messenger" but then refuses to go into a trance for Hazel until Bill bops him on the head with a mallet. Tim tells Bill to go and put Tiddles the cat out for the night (even though the Goodies don't have a cat!) which is Bill's cue to hide under the table, but Graeme tells Bill to "Push off!", which gives the game away and ruins the séance.
They soon find however that Graeme is genuinely hypnotised and Hazel's attempts to summon the spirits of famous historical figures such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Attilla the Hun only produces a series of animal impressions from Graeme. Bill has a bit more success when he gets Graeme to impersonate the likes of Eamonn Andrews and Walter Gabriel, but when Graeme becomes possessed by Eddie Waring, Bill puts a stop to it by giving him a further blow on the head with the mallet. When Graeme arises from the floor, the others tell him that he has been asleep (to which Graeme quizzically asks "Where are my pyjamas?!") and Hazel wants him to go into partnership with her ("Devil worshipping, orgies, 'Opportunity Knocks' …!"). However Graeme gets carried away with the realization that he has "the power" and refuses to work with either Hazel or the other two Goodies until another blow on the head from the mallet temporarily halts his lust for power. The others escape the spookiness by going to the pictures (to see 'Dracula's Entrails'!), content to leave Graeme to sleep it off and forget about the whole spiritual caper, but he soon creeps up from the floor with a crazed expression on his face and evil on his mind.
Bill and Tim return to find a 'I Do Anything Anytime' sign stuck on the office door and various black magic items, including voodoo needles stuck into Tim's dolly and blood-like stains all over an ouija board on the floor (which causes Bill to shriek in horror because Graeme has wasted a heap of his favourite tomato ketchup!). Tim has a quiet word to the skeleton in 'Graeme's Den' ("Graeme? It's not doing you any good!" before Bill says that it's not Graeme because it's "too fat"!) while Bill innocently suggests that Graeme might just be "having a party." However a witchcraft manual that features 'A Bum In The Coven' and other naked campfire dances tells them that Graeme has sold out to the Sunday papers (which are so full of witchcraft news that there is a tiny little article buried deep inside that "World War 3 has broken out"!), so Tim and Bill head to Clapham Common in a bid to stop him. They initially manage to spoil Graeme's worship session by scaring away his followers (with Graeme also fleeing with a trail of smoke billowing from his strides after a failed magic spell!) and pursue Graeme until he disappears into a wooded area near an ominous sign that proclaims 'Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here'. A smaller sign of 'Virgins Required' sees Tim and Bill dress accordingly (in white gowns and long blonde wigs) in order to enter Graeme's secret hideaway.
Tim is concerned that his hair is a mess, which prompts Bill to hiss: "For heavens sake, at this very moment Graeme's probably selling his soul to the devil, we're probably the only two people that can help him, and all you're worried about is your blasted hair!" Tim apologises, but Bill changes tune and grabs at his own hair; asking "Have you got a comb?", and though Graeme considers the two of them to be "a bit ropey', he invites them to watch him performs some awful black magic tricks with the help of his assistant, Miss Betty (as Bill grumbles "I've seen Sooty do better!"). Graeme prepares to summon up the Devil and requires two volunteers from the audience (the two willing virgins!) as sacrifices to appease him. Tim and Bill tremble as Graeme announces the arrival of the "Lord of Darkness, leader of lost souls, all powerful one!", to which Bill shrieks "No, not him!" and Graeme's assistant opens a curtain to reveal a stage with a talk show setting of comfy-looking chairs and a table with microphones on it. As Graeme roars "See he approaches!" a Satan-like image looms at the back of stage spouting a characteristic greeting of “Hello, good evening and welcome.” to the theme music of David Frost's TV show. Tim and Bill scream in terror before Witch Hazel appears just in time to intervene (as she explodes the stage set and successfully sends Frost packing with an apologetic squeak from him of "Sorry about that. Got to go now. Back in a trice. Byeee!")
Graeme complains that Hazel has "ruptured (his) pentacle" and willingly takes on the challenge to pit his evil against her good magic. Hazel promptly defeats Graeme (by clobbering him with a mallet yet again) and casts a spell to remove the evil spirits from him. However the replacement spirit is that of a gibbon and the dinner-suited Graeme swings across the room and escapes out the window to create havoc, as Tim and Bill (still dressed as virgins!) chase him all over the countryside before they are finally able to trap him in a cage and cart him back to the office. After a whole week of failed attempts, Witch Hazel finally comes across the right spell to bring Graeme back to normal, then starts to tear up her book of magic spells in relief with a promise to never cast another spell again. However Tim starts to cluck like a chicken and Bill races around the room yapping like a dog (and cocking his leg on various furniture items!), which forces Hazel and Graeme to frantically scramble to retrieve the shredded pages.
* Bill: (reading Tim's horoscope in a magazine) "Let's see. Virgo. Work prospects. You will meet a small fat man with a beard who will be no help at all!"
* Witch Hazel: (introducing herself) "Some call me Hecate, some the Queen of Necromancy and some..."
Bill (cheekily): "Call you a loony!"
* Hazel: "What I need is to re-establish contact with the living dead. I need to be put in touch with those lost souls on the other side."
Tim: "Say no more." (picks up phone) "Thames Television please?!"
* Hazel (conducting the séance): "Is there anybody there? One knock for no, two knocks for yes." (two knocks from under table) "Who's there?"
Bill (hiding under table): "Wendy"
Hazel: "Wendy who?"
Bill: "Wendy red red robin comes bob bob bobbin' along!"
Hazel (laughs): "Robin?! Oh well, at least it's not another furry little animal!"
* Tim: "So tomorrow night when the owls do hoot and the moon is full, we must journey to the abode of the living dead"
Bill (disgusted): "Aw, we're not going to Bognor again, are we?!"
* Graeme (suspiciously): "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Are you sure you're virgins?"
Tim & Bill: "Yes, sir."
Graeme: (looking at Bill) "But she's got a beard!"
Tim: "That's why she's a virgin!"
Graeme: "Fair enough!"
* Graeme taking on various identities while possessed with "the power", including Eamonn Andrews ("And tonight Witch Hazel, this is your life!"), Walter Gabriel ("Ello me old beauty!") and Eddie Waring ("Well, Hull Kingston Rovers had a good game ..."); with Bill's command of "Take Tony Blackburn" having Tim pleading with him to "Please ... take Tony Blackburn!" before Graeme can get a word out!
* The worship ritual on Clapham Common with Graeme's followers dancing around the campfire in their undies to 'Knees Up Mother Brown' ("oh, oh what a rotten song, what a rotten singer too-oo!") watched by owls, 'orrible 'airy spiders and newspaper photographers. Also the followers dropping to their knees in reverence as Grand Master Graeme appears in his brightly-lined cape, pointy warlock hat and Goodies t-shirt and prepares to ritually sacrifice a frozen chook!
* Graeme summoning up the "Lord of Darkness, leader of lost souls, all powerful one!" (David Frost!) before Witch Hazel sends Frosty packing just in the nick of time - "got to go now ... byeee!"
* The mighty chase scene with Bill and Tim dressed as virgins pursuing Graeme the gibbon, including Graeme's athletic scaling of a light pole and reverse side of a ladder, Graeme seamlessly climbing over a moving car, then onto another car and a bus going in different directions, the 'organ grinder' sequence with Graeme dancing on the bonnet of a car as its owner tries to start it with the crankshaft, all three Goodies popping in and out of the windows of a tall building, Tim slipping on a chain of banana peels while in pursuit of Graeme, before they finally manage to trap Graeme in a cage.
Stuff That Gibbon
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Great episode with stacks of funny scenes and quotes, a top guest performance by Patricia Hayes, more of Graeme's wicked impersonations and an entertaining chase scene to the tune of 'Stuff That Gibbon'
BLACK PUDDING RATING