A Pathe News presentation from 1961 highlights the exciting young stars of the era, including Cliff Richard, Cilla Black and the Bay City Rollers (a bunch of five tiny babies in nappies laying side-by-side!) and also features an up-and-coming group who perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and have agents and impresarios flocking to see them. 'The Bootles' (featuring the three Goodies and a wooden dummy as George!) sing 'She Loves You', but are soon pelted with a barrage of vegetables by the unimpressed agents. The three young men walk away in despair; ditching their jackets, black mop-top wigs and music sheets (including 'Eleanor Rigby' by Graeme Garden!) as they leave., only for four other Liverpool lads to step forth from the audience, don the jackets and wigs, give the discarded music a try ("What you got there, Ringo?") and soon dazzle hysterical crowds of teenagers as The Beatles.
It is a similar story in 1968 with the Goodies pelted and booed off the stage after just a few chords as the 'Confirmed Batchelors', only for the Batchelors to find fame and fortune shortly afterwards, and again in 1970 when 'The Extremes' (in their flowing wigs and gold sequinned backless dresses, with undies on full display when they all turn around!) bomb out singing 'Baby Love' while the Supremes get all of the glory a little later. In 1974, the Goodies don't even get any further than announcing themselves than "It's the three ..." before getting pelted and booed (and Bill's attempt to sing "Nappy Love" out on the street in 1975 gets a similarly hostile reception) so they soon find themselves down and out on 'Skid Row' with other washed up acts for company. Bill laments to Tim that "We're ahead of our time, mate. We always have been, always will be too" (as he says "Hello John, Eric" to two Gumbies rummaging in a bin!) and notes that a scruffy-looking Segovia "doesn't have a twangy guitar" like Duane Eddy and that violinist Yehudi Menuhin would never make it on 'Music To Midnight' (losing out to "Joe 'Mr Violin' Henderson"); hence their lack of popularity.
Bill also grumbles that "We are living in the age of the easy rip-off. Cheap imitations, meaningless gimmicks"; however he soon changes his tune when Graeme reveals that he has collected the secret ingredients for a successful supergroup, which consists of trademark items from various entertainers and rock stars. In no time at all, the Goodies stage the "concert of the millennium" (according to the Jimmy Savile-style voiceover) at Wembley stadium; but so many extra police have been hired to control the crowd that no-one else can fit inside, so the Goodies perform a psychedelic rendition of 'Wild Thing' to an audience of "uptight and out-of-sight", screaming, crying, hysterical, dope-smoking coppers! It's "Goodies Smash – Move Over Rollers!" as the Goodies are finally a success and fill the entire Top 10 on the pop charts with a string of hit songs (plus some very groovy photos!) and gleefully rake in a fortune to go with their new-found fame. At the same time though, the newspaper headlines trumpet the bad news that Britain is sinking further into crisis as trade figures worsen, the pound falls and people look more and more depressed by the day.
Amid this gathering gloom, the Goodies are to receive their long-awaited OBEs for "services to the British music industry" from the Queen in a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace. Despite the rising water levels from the torrential rain (and from the gushing tears of the miserable suffering dignitaries present!), the cheerful Goodies row out of the palace gates after the presentation of their medals, only to be collared by a submerged Prime Minister (with his pipe sticking out of the water to aid his breathing!) Graeme passes on the bubble-laden message to the others that the Prime Minister has not only nationalised the Goodies (the government is "going to take 90% of our income and the rest goes in tax!"); he has also appointed them as "Pop Group Laureate" with instructions to "cheer this rotten miserable country up."
The Goodies achieve this mission with the exhortation of "Come along everybody, let's Bounce for Britain" (with everyone from babies to the Prime Minister – still in his flippers - and his cabinet colleagues soon bouncing along to this infectious tune); however the whole country rapidly goes bonkers over bouncing (including the host of the 'Nationwide Crisis Edition', despite him being tied to his chair in desperation!) and productivity grinds to a rapid halt. Bouncing is described as "the most serious problem since the Black Death" and after the Prime Minister yells "I give up!" and bounces off a building into the sea at the Labour Party Conference, the whole nation is forced to go to the polls. Election Night Special (hosted by the real Terry Wogan in a 'Come Dancing' fashion) highlights that the appeal of the Goodies-led Bouncing Party has started to wane, as older folk support the Waltzers and a few voters even fancy the extremist strutting Max Walling Party and the McKenzie Square Dancing Party (which uses an election pendulum as the perfect tool for a "Swing to the left. Swing to the right" dancing campaign pitch)
Eventually with Bouncing Party supporters finding it "very hard to make a cross (on the ballot paper) while you're bouncing", there is a landslide victory to the Standing Party; whose politicians (including new PM Mr John "I'm No Dummy" Smith) look suspiciously like plastic mannequins in pinstriped suits and bowler hats and are carried by minions into 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. A town crier soon reads out a lengthy parliamentary edict in a bleak windswept street which bans all "bouncing, waltzing, funky chickening" and decrees that "it will be an offence for any subject of this land to enjoy himself in any way whatsoever" (then announcing "And now for a look at the weather!" after his long-winded diatribe has finally concluded) Bill yells "Cobblers!" in response and the Goodies start to dance around a chap who merrily plays an accordion in the street; however their fun is soon stamped out with the arrival of the dreaded Mirth Inspectors; hooded, black-garbed, baton-wielding thugs on horseback who clobber puppeteers, burst kids balloons, burn all items of entertainment (including basketballs, comics, films, books and musical instruments) and harass anyone who is having a good time on their killjoy crusade to 'Keep Britain Gloomy'.
However an uprising takes place in nearby Sherwood Forest, as the Robin Hood-like Goodies ride around on their trandem and set about to entertain the public with various circus and magic acts. The Goodies' success in defying the government leads to headlines of "It's Prohibition - Fun Laws Tightened" (where 80% of the population are now considered to be lawbreakers), but "The Unmentionables" are not to be denied though. After the Goodies cause merry havoc with the St.Valentine's Day custard pie massacre, they seek refuge in an underground "joke-easy" and plot how to overthrow the Standing Party government. The Goodies hit upon the idea to "build up an organization of once-famous entertainers", including Jimmy Savile, Harry Secombe and Cliff Richard (with Graeme's mutter of "They say that Eric and Ernie are in town" causing Tim's hat to fly off high into the air in excitement!) and they hit the streets to gradually round up as many of the banned entertainers as possible (though they at least have the eminently good sense and taste to leave the real Tony Blackburn languishing behind in the street!)
Following "an overwhelming vote of no confidence", the government is toppled (as wooden dummies tumble over like ninepins) and the Entertainers Party is poised to take power, except for one major hitch. Because they have spent so long in hiding, all of the old stars have forgotten how to do their acts, and they are utterly useless (despite some expert reminders of what they should in fact sound like from Graeme's brilliant mimicry!) As an interim measure, Bill comes up with the idea of a "puppet government", with Sooty as the new Prime Minister and Sweep as the Home Secretary. However Sooty prefers to "play the xylophone" on Nationwide rather than discuss serious political issues with the presenter and a rowdy nursery room-style scrap breaks out among the puppets during the parliamentary sitting, which forces the Goodies (who are watching a TV set imbedded in a tree in Sherwood Forest) to venture to the PM's country mansion Chequers to sort things out.
After the Goodies avoid security (a Punch and Judy show atop a barn door) they storm the Cabinet room, where Tim lectures the puppets for behaving badly ("We're here to ask you to stop it. You know it makes sense!"), only to come under attack from all directions by enraged puppet politicians. The Goodies escape through a window and flee into the spacious gardens, but Pinky and Perky set off an alarm ("Not so fast!") and they are soon bailed up by giant puppets of Andy Pandy and his friends. Tim pulls out his conveniently-carried makeup kit, and he, Bill and an embarrassed-looking Graeme paint themselves up and dance along with the puppets until Graeme can't resist the temptation to give a suspicious Andy Pandy a punch where it hurts! Tim rests on a rubbish bin and is dragged inside by a huge green monster (a hybrid of Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and the Cookie Monster), after which there are chomping noises and a huge burp, only for Tim to emerge with a chunk of green fur in his mouth!
Graeme finally frees himself from the tangle of strings above Andy Pandy and friends; but he and Tim are then confronted by Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, so they grab swords and engage in a lengthy fencing duel with them. Meanwhile Bill is surrounded by a pack of Wombles and engages in a fierce wrestle with them as Graeme and Tim finally get the upper hand over the Flowerpot Men when they successfully cut the puppet's strings (apart from one hand which continues to joust with Graeme until he pushes its sword into the ground) and then dismantle the pots with a series of lusty blows from their swords. Just as Tim and Graeme finally triumph, they are startled by a loud cry of "Weeeed!!" as Little Weed shoots up out of a nearby pot, but a brutal swish of the sword soon shuts it up. Having finally taken care of the Flowerpot Men and the Wombles, the three Goodies think that they are safe; however a giant Dougal dog from 'The Magic Roundabout' emerges and chases them around the estate grounds until it crashes into a copse of trees which the Goodies are able to dodge and weave through. Dougal flattens Tim from behind and gives Graeme a rather hair-raising, spinning ride on its back (before bucking him off into a pond), then Zebedee (a monster moustachioed spring-mounted jack-in-the-box) bounces after the Goodies and lifts Bill high in the air for a wild up-and-down ride (having nearly claimed Tim's crown jewels as a prize along the way!)
The Goodies flee into a manhole just as a berserk Dougal crashes round and round through the walls of Chequers. Zebedee does a similar demolition job on the roof, (with Sooty and the other scared puppets trapped at the window inside), as rubble crashes down and water spurts out from broken pipes. The Goodies emerge from the wreckage unscathed and tune into the news bulletin (read by Corbet Woodall in Sue Lawley's voice until he has a sip of water and then speaks normally) on their tree TV, only to find that there has been a coup and that the three major party leaders have agreed to form a coalition government. The three politicians (Jeremy Thorpe, Margaret Thatcher and Harold Wilson) are all caricatures of puppets dancing, with the Goodies then pictured standing above the set smirking as they pull on the strings!
* Bill (regarding sitar player Ravi Shankar on Skid Row): "He is a genius. He'll never make it though, nah. Not unless he joins the cast of 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' and puts on a silly voice. (demonstrates with a string of gibberish) Humiliating, isn't it? Very nice." (Bill tosses Ravi a coin, only to receive a similar string of gibberish as a thank-you!)
Nationwide Presenter (to new PM Sooty): "I'm sorry, what was that, Prime Minister? You want to play your xylophone?"
* Tim (smirking): "Now look, I know all of you puppets were only trying to help, but I'm afraid that you got out of hand ...!"
(NOTE: The apparent lack of 'classic quotes' is mostly due to the unique style of the episode, as much of it is narrated with accompanying visual scenes or music clips, and as such, the visuals provide the major bulk of the action and humour. Even the section where Graeme mimics the various entertainers is more amusing for the way he does it rather than for what he actually says.)
* The Goodies' 1961 performance as the Bootles at the Cavern Club (with Graeme as Don, Tim as Saul, Bill (and his huge gorilla-like nose) as Bingo and a wooden dummy as George!) where they are singing an endless chorus of 'She Loves You' (with a shot of the real Paul McCartney looking totally unimpressed in the background) only to be pelted with vegies by the various bored music agents. The Goodies remove their jackets and wigs and slink despondently off stage, only for 'the Beatles' to step forth from the audience (with footage of the real Beatles stepping to the mike and donning jackets), and marvel at the scripts of 'Eleanor Rigby' by Graeme Garden and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' by Tim Brooke Taylor and Bill Oddie ("What is all this?!"). Naturally the Beatles are soon a huge success, with hysterical crowds screaming for them and the same agents there lapping it all up, although the now-punk and rather cheesed-off Goodies in the front row manage to pelt a few well aimed vegies at the interlopers before they are in turn pelted again by the annoyed agents.
* Graeme finally assembling the secrets of success for a rock supergroup; these being Donny Osmond's teeth (chattering away inside a box and forcing Tim and Bill to don sunglasses before having a peek at them!), the Bay City Rollers huge baggy trousers, Elton John's oversized yellow-green sunglasses, Kojak's hair (a skinhead wig), Gary Glitter's hairy chest (a Welcome mat, which Bill proudly models!), Alvin Stardust's groovy glove, Ray Woods' horror hair and makeup, the Rubettes' giant flat white cap, the Wombles' hairy feet and Lynsey de Paul's sexy dress, which are worn in various combinations by the three Goodies in the display sequence and at their rock concert.
* The Goodies "concert of the millennium" at Wembley Stadium (groovily introduced by a Jimmy Savile soundalike) where they unleash a sizzling version of 'Wild Thing' (the one on their 1997 'Best Of' CD) to an audience of screaming, stripping, mosh-pitting, dope-smoking policemen. The police presence is so great that nobody else can get in, and there are several great scenes of cops behaving like hysterical teenagers (including one who bellows "I love you Tim!" and another who makes his way on stage to hold Tim tight … "not quite that tight!") until they all crazily storm the stage and souvenir much of the Goodies clothing and props before the sound system explodes into a fiery inferno. Also the nice running gag where Bill later starts up a further rendition of "Wild Thing" in Sherwood Forest only to have a cop appear from the woods, drop to his knees and grab onto Bill's leg in an act of further hero worship.
* The royal garden party at which the Goodies get their long-awaited OBEs from the Queen, where (after arriving in fine style aboard the trandem in their suits and top hats) they find that the bucketing rain and gushing tears from the miserable upper class folk ("Oh heck, they're all at it now!") are trying to spoil the "sunniest day of my life", as Tim puts it, although Bill makes light of it by skimming plates across the water with a big grin on his face! Despite a flipper-clad PM, a waterlogged bugle call and an ever-deepening inland sea of waist-deep water, the Goodies are asked to "Kindly kneel" and are presented with their gongs underwater by a duck-diving Queen. The Goodies then row a boat out past a salute from the sunken bearskin hat of a guard at the gate of a superbly submerged Buckingham Palace.
* The Goodies' splendid revenge (after a supposed slagging from him about the 'Funky Gibbon') in having a certain 'Sir Johnathon Peel' standing for the Funky Gibbon Party in the general election (complete with lots of scratching gestures and gibbon noises!) and only receiving 3 votes; therefore losing his deposit.
* The various scenes with the Robin Hood-like Goodies providing some much needed humour to the good folks of Sherwood Forest. This is done by firing a custard pie on an arrow at one of the horrid Mirth Inspectors, then putting on a splendid performance including circus acrobatics (where Tim accidentally knocks Graeme out with a large cylindrical block, then tries to hide the evidence), organ-grinding gypsies (with Tim getting flattened by the runaway organ), knife throwing (with a crazed Bill going berserk and heaving all sorts of weapons at Graeme until a bazooka smashes the target board and has Graeme raising a white flag from a hole in the ground), magic acts and dancing girls. A lady sitting at a spinning wheel (outside a bush shack with a 'Dunchucklin' sign on it) is most amused by all of the Goodies' antics and starts chuckling, but her woodchopping husband is worried about her laughing getting them in strife with the dreaded Mirth Inspectors, so he gradually covers her mouth with tape, ties her up and puts a paper bag over her head to shut her up. After the Goodies have ridden away, he bursts out laughing at the sight of his bound and gagged wife, but he is instantly clobbered by a Mirth Inspector for his troubles. Also the following scene where a Mirth Inspector stands against a wall (with an ever-growing shadow menacingly approaching him) as he tries to justify why he can't stop the Goodies from entertaining people. The shadow belongs to a bowler-hatted, plastic dummy politician which clobbers him in turn, with the Mirth Inspector even saying a quick "Thank you!" for the punishment to his political master before he hits the deck!
* The St. Valentine's Day massacre where the three black-suited Goodyfathers open up their violin cases to reveal a deadly arsenal of custard pies, then promptly let 'em rip at a group of depressed folks who soon collapse with laughter as they are well and truly creamed.
* The Goodies cruising around the streets at breakneck pace in a big black limo and rounding up forgotten stars, including Tommy Cooper (who is now a parking inspector and is trying to give them a ticket), Ken Dodd (reduced to being a streetsweeper) and Rolf Harris (who is painting a door and has three 'Jake the Peg' legs kicking away out the window after being snaffled!), but especially where they spy Tony Blackburn (the real one) reading a paper on a corner and slow down, but rapidly speed away as he approaches the car, leaving him crying on the street afterwards!
* The scenes in the underground 'joke-easy' where Graeme has all of the old entertainers lined up, only to find that they have forgotten how to do their acts despite his expertly-mimicked reminders. His begging for Tommy Cooper to go "just like that ... just like that!", followed by the silly laugh, is met with some kind of slow Cockney response, causing Graeme to knock Tommy's trademark red fez off in disgust. This sequence is repeated all the way down the line, with Graeme providing the mimics for the likes of Rolf Harris (a quick burst of 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport' and panting, only for Rolf to reply "I'm awfully sorry Jimmy, I canna' do it!" in a thick Scottish brogue), Kojak ("Terrific, pussycat" only to get an effeminate "Mmm, nice!" after giving Kojak a lollypop) and Jimmy Savile ("Ow's about that then!"), only for them to stuff it up. The best one by far is where the real Eddie Waring stands up and launches into a Tommy Cooper routine, only to be told firmly by Graeme that his effort is "Pathetic, come on do your (babbled commentary about Hull Kingston Rovers), work at it, work at it!" (as in 'Chubby Chumps' or various other episodes where Graeme has taken off Eddie so brilliantly), only for Eddie to then come back with a silly Frankie Howerd-like "Ladies and gentlemen, I am flabbergasted. Never has my flabber been so gasted!" and for a disgusted Graeme to push him aside and keep walking along the line of entertainers.
* Also from the joke-easy, Graeme doing a burst of 'Bring Me Sunshine' and a very silly imitation of Jimmy Durante (using a plastic cup as an oversized nose) in front of Morecambe and Wise before enthusiastically chirping "Get out of that, little Ernie Wise" and slapping him hard on the cheeks, causing Ernie's wig to fly through the air and land on Kojak's head, (much to Tim's amusement!) Also Graeme then hearing a northern-accented voice pipe up off-screen with "Ey'up, hang on a minute … "I've remembered how to do it." and he yells with relief "At last! One of you has actually got it right.", only to find that it is Patrick Moore speaking in Eddie Waring's voice: "If you train your telescope on the western sky tonight, you'll see ... Hull Kingston Rovers who had a terrific win over Rochdale Hornets with a couple of magnificent tries … not a bad lot there, Rochdale, but a few early baths for some of the lads after a little bit of nonsense!" Graeme then walks away disgusted as Moore continues chattering away in the background.
* The many and varied scenes with Sooty, Dougal, Bill and Ben and the other puppets which are covered in more detail in the plot section, especially the finale where Dougal and Zebedee crash through the walls and roof of Chequers, reducing it to a pile of rubble after a lengthy, but brilliantly compiled, chase scene.
Michael Barrett, Tony Blackburn, Sue Lawley, Patrick Moore, Eddie Waring, Terry Wogan, Corbet Woodall, Norman Mitchell, Ronald Russell, Roland MacLeod, Barry Cryer, Sheila Steafel
She Loves You
We're The Goodies
Where Are They Now?
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A veritable masterpiece of comedy satire from start to finish with super sendups of politics, the music industry and children's TV among many other themes, more brilliant mimicry by Graeme (some of it to the real entertainer's faces which is a great effort), and stacks of memorable visuals which appear regularly in the theme footage of the following series. For all of this artistic excellence though, it seems to me that the Goodies left out one key ingredient - some scenes or quotes which induce a real belly laugh. Sure there are heaps of scenes which provoke a smile or a chuckle, but the narrated style just lacks the knock-'em-down humour of the other episodes in the preceding fifth series, and there was a whole 50 minutes to fit some in. A very fine episode though, all the same.
BLACK PUDDING RATING