4/3 (#31) HOSPITAL FOR HIRE
Bill is wheeled into the office on a trolley by Graeme with a huge plaster cast on his leg after he has had to wait at the hospital for three long weeks. Even then, Bill only received medical treatment because "the bloke ahead of us died" and to add insult to injury, the cast has also been put on the wrong leg - it should have been on Graeme's, but his sprained ankle got better while they were waiting! Tim gets hopping mad about the inefficiency of the National Health Service (as Graeme wryly remarks "So's Bill!", to which Bill laughingly agrees) and phones "the Minister of Health, no less", who gives him a very short, sharp and rude reply before hanging up. The Minister claims that the health department is so slow "because they keep getting pestered by sick people", and that "as the Goodies do anything, anytime", they should train to become doctors themselves by filling out the application form on the back of the Radio Times.
Fortunately there are a few pages of the Radio Times left (still hanging on the hook in the toilet!) so the Goodies are subjected to an intensive physical exam (which mostly tests their beer-drinking and nurse-chasing capabilities!) before they become doctors and patrol the wards. Tim shows the other two "new bods" the ropes (which are used to hang oneself from the nearest beam when the fire alarm goes off – "much quicker and less painful!") and gives them a guided tour of the dilapidated overcrowded hospital ward ("You should have seen it before it was modernised!"). Bill and Graeme are shocked to find that the ward isn't fit for pigs (as Tim notes "That's just what the RSPCA man said. The pigs left on Monday …(oinking sounds) well nearly all of them. Get out!") and the starving patients are only fed once a week on bones and scraps. A man enters the ward and collapses from exhaustion in front of the Goodies, but Bill's plea to call a doctor draws a dismissive "He is the doctor!" from Tim, who then brings the rowdy patients back under control with a burst of music from Little Jimmy Osmond. A disgusted Graeme says "That does it! You're supposed to be curing people; not making them sick to their stomachs!" and he vows to come up with his own plan for a better health service.
The Goodies pay a visit to the Minister for Health's office, where the completion of a complaint form that states "The Health Service is rotten" only draws placarded responses of "Sorry" and "Very Sorry" from the inept Minister, who is not exactly in the best of health himself. He forces the Goodies to step in a trough of disinfectant upon entry to his office and also suffers terrible hayfever at the mere mention of the word "hay". Graeme outlines his ideas for a mobile travelling hospital to the Minister (who floors him with a spray of disinfectant when Graeme gets too close to him) and he gives the Goodies permission to try it out. As Tim spruiks the new Goodies travelling hospital, Graeme sets to work (examining one patient's throat with a microscope, then shoving a bottleful of pills into the patient's mouth, followed by a rather long stick!) with help from Bill (who performs an operation on a patient with a saw and a pneumatic drill after having firstly delivered an instant football team to one lucky young couple) and their new venture receives praise from a string of happy patients (including a skeleton that has already startled Graeme earlier by strolling out from behind the X-ray screen after undergoing a checkup).
Back at the office, Tim answers a concerned phone call from the Minister, who complains that the Goodies are curing people so quickly that they will "make the National Health Service look incompetent." He asks them to "please pack it in" (while blubbering and sniffling away into a pack of disposable Sooty puppets!) but the Goodies ignore him and hit the road to spruik Graeme's new magic all-purpose elixir ("Pills for your ills, relief for your grief … and jelly for afters!") in an evangelical healing sideshow. Tim is a "poor sufferin' boy" miraculously cured by the elixir and even the intervention of the Minister and his flunkies (who try to strike the Goodies off the register, ignoring the fact that they're not even on the register in the first place!) fails to stop the hoedown, especially when Graeme realizes that the elixir actually works when the entire audience of sick people are miraculously cured after drinking it.
Despite the patients being under armed guard in government hospitals, the Goodies aim to cure every last sick person in Britain (as Tim boldly declares "If you're going to treat us as outlaws, then we shall behave as outlaws!") and gradually free the patients and cure them all with swigs of the elixir in the process. In the rush to free everyone, there is a hair-raising cavalcade of wheelchairs and trolleys racing down a steep slope, which results in a huge pile-up that pushes the three Goodies forcefully through a brick wall at the bottom.
Eventually every sick person in Britain is cured - except for the bandaged and plaster-clad Goodies themselves. However after they have treated 3 million people, there is no elixir left for them, so Graeme attempts to call an ambulance, only to find that his own elixir has put the National Health Service out of business (with the recorded message giving him a loud raspberry at the finish.) Tim and Bill are so furious with Graeme that they overbalance their traction weight and swing precariously upside-down in mid air from the ropes attached to their legs.
* Bill (reading application form): "Don't forget, medical students qualify for an annual government grant, free beer and all the nurses you can ...!"
Tim (hastily clamping his hand over Bill's mouth): "Hey, hey, hey ... We'll do it!"
* Bill (scornfully, examining the hayfever-suffering Health Minister's foot): "It's a corn!"
Bill & Tim: "Oh, no!"
Minister: "A corn!"
All in unison: "Hay ... YATCHOO!!"
* Graeme (spruiking his magic elixir): "My friends, this here bottle contains a guaranteed all-purpose remedy for prostration, inflation and frustration ... pneumonia and old monia ... distemper, dat temper and bad temper ... sunburn, heartburn ... and Tony Blackburn!" (to much hootin', hollerin' and hat throwin'!)
* The Goodies rigorous medical exam which involves running laps of an athletic track chasing a model nurse as a lure greyhound-style while continually skolling ever-increasing amounts of beer, including draining a bathtub of beer with straws and Bill having to ultimately drink from his plaster leg cast. Other tests include burping into a Belchometer (which struggles to record Bill's hiccups), pinching nurses on the rear to measure how far they leap into a long jump pit, (with Bill being flattened after pinching a big fat matron with a pair of tongs!), climbing over the wall of the nurses home (or in Bill's case, being bulldozed straight through the wall by the matron) and finally, receiving gymnastics scores from the judges after they dramatically collapse in drunken exhaustion on the ground.
* After the Minister for Health comments that treating Britain's sick people will be a big job and asks the Goodies if they are sure that they want to do it, Tim replies "Yes Sir, we'll do it, for England (and puts on a "Land Of Hope" record that is conveniently located in the Minister's office) We'll do it, not for reasons of personal glory, not even …" only for an impatient Graeme to swipe the record off and bluntly utter "There isn't time for that!" Naturally this sets Tim off blubbering "But I wanted to make a speech …!", to which Bill sympathetically says "Aw c'mon you can make one in the bath tonight." as they all depart the office.
* When Tim is showing Bill and Graeme around the hospital ward, he tells them that if they have any problems, "Nurse Nightingale will show you everything." Bill gets quite excited about this prospect until he sees that Nurse Nightingale is a big tall ugly-looking fellow with a thick beard and motions to Tim that "You might have said it was a male nurse.", with Tim's deadpan reply of "She isn't." causing Bill to do a rapid double-take as Nurse Nightingale blows him a kiss. Also Tim ending the cacophony in the hospital ward by forcing the rowdy patients to don headphones, with him flicking a switch and the patients all screaming in agony shortly afterwards from listening to Little Jimmy Osmond!
* The two mock ads; firstly with several folks (including a pepperpot Tim) seemingly munching away on Lifesaver-type lollies - "it's round with a hole in it" - until a rough-looking Bill exclaims "I fink I'll have anovver one!" and starts munching on a Goodlop car tyre! The second ad features Tim as a schoolboy "listening to breakfast" and almost getting his head blown off by a bowl of exploding rice crunchies.
* The Minister of Health using a box of disposable Sooty puppets to blow his nose with during his blubber over the phone to Tim (a sendup of the other famous Harry Corbett who operates Sooty) about the Goodies successful travelling hospital system, with Tim then dropping the magic word "hay" and hanging up the phone, which is promptly blown off its hook by a huge sneeze from the hayfever-stricken minister.
* The Goodies wild-west evangelical medicine show ("Cancel that hearse … coz we've got a nurse!") where they have "got that healin' feelin' … Hallelujah!" and offer a magic elixir which cures all of the world's ills (even Tony Blackburn!) in another very catchy live singing performance from Bill interspersed with some great puns from Graeme and the enthusiasm of "poor sufferin' boy" Tim, especially when he takes a huge tumble off the stage and into the audience after trying the elixir (Bill: "This boy's dead." Graeme: "No such thing, he's dead drunk!") Also their subsequent freeing and curing of every ill person in Britain, including Tim disguising as a devious granny in a nursing home and catapulting two of his fellow senior citizens over the wall when the guards aren't looking, and bringing an Egyptian mummy and a corpse back to life, before there is a huge pile-up of trolleys, wheelchairs and patients against a wall at the bottom of a steep hill.
* Tim and Bill swinging precariously upside-down from their traction ropes after overbalancing in anger at Graeme having run out of elixir curing every other patient before themselves.
Harry Corbett, The Fred Tomlinson Singers
Goodies Medicine Show
Goodlop QP Radials
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A real "hidden gem" that probably doesn't readily come to mind to most fans as a classic Goodies episode. However to me it's a tremendous sendup of all things medical (maybe it is based on some of Graeme's own real-life medical schooling and training!) with two great songs from Bill, lots of enjoyable quotes and very funny (though not necessarily spectacular) visuals with clever incorporation of other themes like athletics tests, travelling evangelists, wild west outlaws etc and another very memorable closing scene.
BLACK PUDDING RATING
Bill's cast has been put on the wrong leg ... it should have been on Graeme's!
A few sheets of the Radio Times left ...
In the starting barrier at the medical exam
A little sip of drink to quench their thirst
Graeme's burp is assessed on the Belchometer
Tim sends his nurse leaping in the long jump
Bill pinches the Matron with a pair of tongs ...
and with an entirely predictable outcome!
Graeme and Tim make their escape into the nurses home
Quite a balancing act
One final round of drinking
"You might have said it was a male nurse!"
"She isn't! ... Lovely creature, isn't she?!"
Inside the filthy antiquated hospital ward
Graeme puts forward his idea of a travelling hospital to the Minister for Health
Oh no, it's a corn ... wheat ... rye ... barley ... HAY! YATCHOOO!"
Tim spruiks the Goodies' new venture
Graeme dispenses pills to a patient
Graeme is startled when his patient re-emerges
Graeme and Tim's plastering attempt
Sewing machine at the ready to stitch up a patient
Sooty helps the Minister to dial the Goodies, only to be used
as a disposable tissue shortly afterwards
"Cancel that hearse, coz we've got a nurse!"
Graeme and Bill have "got that healin' feelin' ...Hallelujah!"
An Egyptian mummy gets a new lease on life
Devious granny Tim about to snaffle more patients
A cavalcade of sick people head the Goodies' way
The only three sick people left in the country
Up, up and away!