After some rather abstract opening credits (including the revelation that the show was written by Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden "with Tim Brooke-Taylor's biro"!) a Bonanza-style burning map with a narration of American pioneering history is rapidly and painfully extinguished by hand to reveal that in Cricklewood in 1973, the bedraggled Goodies have fallen on hard times. They are turfed out of a seedy-looking doss house (with the boarding lady hanging up a "No Tramps" sign afterwards), moved on from outside a shop by a policeman (who scores a jackpot from a pokies-style parking meter) and their attempts to raise money on the streets are a dismal failure, although Graeme's sign of 'One leg - please give generously' does at least gain him a second leg from a passer-by, who then punches him in the face with a spare arm for his lack of gratitude!
The Goodies are reduced to wearing ragged clothes and sleeping on park benches, although Graeme soon makes himself at home with a comfy park bench mattress, paper bag pillow, newspaper sheets and a tulip reading lamp, while Tim and Bill endure much more spartan conditions. Tim refuses to eat the daffodils that Bill has cooked up for him and breaks down in tears, while he and Bill howl at the moon like a pair of coyotes in despair at being poor. The only solution is to sell their most valuable possession - Buttercup the bike - which greatly upsets Bill, (although Graeme's suggestion of taking Bill to the knackers yard upsets him even more!), so he agrees to take the bike to market and find a good home for it (after firstly fussing over it – "Tell you what, we'll have you put out to stud. You'll have a bit of fun then, won't you?" – which draws loony signals and burbling from an incredulous Tim!).
Bill rides Buttercup solo to the market as he holds onto a set of reins from the back seat (and sets a girl with milking buckets spinning wildly in circles when he accidentally bumps into her upon arrival), but unfortunately for him, the trandem is roundly ridiculed by the crowd of bike bidders and all that he can get in exchange for it is a tin of baked beans, (which knocks him out when it is thrown at him, leaving him in tears amid all of the guffawing farmers.) Upon Bill's return to the park, Graeme and Tim frisk him and strip him to his undies in search of money, but when they realise the swap that he has made, they have much pleasure in pouring the beans on his head in disgust (after Tim has firstly opened the tin with a conveniently-positioned can opener on the trunk of a tree in the park!).
Graeme has an idea ("Now you may call me a loony …") and plants one of the bean seeds in the park garden, but soon admits "I'm a loony!" when it fails to grow. Shortly afterwards though, there is a huge rumble and a monster bean shoot erupts from the ground and rattles its way through the streets of London, with the Goodies in hot pursuit (reclaiming the trandem along the way) as it terrifies a scout mistress (who amourously terrifies the Goodies in turn!) and disrupts the BBC News broadcast in a spectacular manner. The beanstalk then crosses the English Channel and Europe on its way to Nepal and right to the top of Mount Everest, and the Goodies are dragged along for the ride (with Tim getting a very revealing look at a French nudist colony along the way!), but with all of the beans out of reach, they hitchhike back to their London park again still poor and hungry.
As Graeme casually bathes in the public fountain, Tim reads aloud (from a newspaper that is draped over a resting Bill) the details a beanstalk-climbing competition that features sexy hostesses and a grand prize giveaway of 5000 puppies (which will otherwise be donated to Indian restaurants!) The Goodies enter as the British team in 'It's A Knockout' hosted all the way from the "little foothills town" of Kathmandu, Nepal by the real Eddie Waring and referee Arthur Ellis (who has to fight off a turban-clad Nepalese broadcaster in a battle of clipboards). The Goodies (who play the Joker card which features the face of then-PM Edward Heath) face challenges from Italy (the Spaghetti Brothers) and Germany (Hans, Bors and Boopsidaisy from the town of Backbreaken), and the teams must survive various games and obstacles (which include waking the sleeping princess, clearing a pool of piranhas by rope and scaling the butter-coated beanstalk; all while roped together) on their way to the top of Mount Everest. The first team to return and burst all of the balloons will be declared the winner and will receive a medicine glass-sized trophy (at great expense to the Nepal Television Association!) and the 5000 puppies.
The Italians shoot each other after getting in a tangle before the contest really begins and two of the the Germans are soon reduced to skeletons after an involuntary swim with the piranhas (with the surviving German clobbered soon after by a coconut flung by Man Friday from his island), but the Goodies still have to scale the beanstalk and return to win the grand prize. On their way the top, they find an amazing valley of echoes (where Bill in particular has fun with a controlled sequence of "Hello" before Graeme finds the 'off' switch on a nearby rockface), and beautiful mystical music starts to ring out from a castle located right at the summit. Bill finds this music irresistible and drags Tim and Graeme along behind him in a feverish rush to the castle. Tim and Graeme struggle and finally loosen the ropes that attach them to Bill as they bounce along on the rocky terrain, but Bill gets locked inside the castle grounds (with a plaintive cry of "Oooh 'eck!") with the others stuck on the outside.
Graeme and Tim eventually scale the wall (with the help of a makeshift see-saw and a huge rock, which propels them through the roof of the castle) and find that Bill has discovered a special laboratory full of geese which lay solid gold eggs (and even gold bars with a bit of extra urging from Bill!) Ever the scientist, Graeme tests whether the gold is genuine (by belting the gold bar over Bill's head and listening to the echo … of the bar, not Bill's head!) and when he confirms that it is real gold, the Goodies feverishly stash a heap of the eggs into sacks. With all of future their money worries solved, the Goodies make their escape through a hole in the wall, but end up in a room with giant-sized furniture and equipment (such as a huge recipe book and a massive coffee mug with 'Lofty' printed on it). Before they can flee, they hear the approach of heavy footsteps and a booming voice (which bellows "Fe fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread!"), so Bill and Tim hide in the coffee mug, only to find that the fearsome giant is actually a "ruddy midget" with a megaphone who chides them for being in there ("that's very unhygenic!") and admits that "as far as giants go, I am petite!"
The giant confesses to the Goodies that all of his oversized gear and remote location is just to scare people away and to dodge the taxman as well. He is really a former zookeeper (at the Snowdon Aviary, for which he gets commiserations from Graeme!) who has discovered the secret formula for golden eggs and he has summoned the Goodies to his lair with the mystical music because he needs some servants to look after his giant castle. However the giant proves to be a very demanding boss, so the Goodies escape with their stash of golden eggs when he falls asleep after their magic Marx Brothers-inspired rendition of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' with help from the menagerie of animals present. The dozing giant is alerted to the escape bid by one of his geese (which startles him into falling face-first into his giant fairy cake!) and the Goodies' eerily quiet descent of the mountain is soon interrupted by squadrons of giant geese in full attack mode after the giant (with help from Alfred Hitchcock) has set them loose.
After eventually warding off the geese, the Goodies roll part of the way down the mountain in a huge egg, then battle the pursuing giant, who is inside a large boot, (with which he tramples the Goodies until Graeme tricks him into kicking a big rock), before they climb down the beanstalk to the cheers of the crowd (who are still waiting there after all this time!) The giant crashes to the ground inside the balloon pit after Graeme shrivels up the beanstalk with weedkiller and when he bursts all of the balloons in anger and frustration, he is rewarded with first prize despite the angry protests to referee Arthur by the Goodies. The giant is rewarded for his victory with the 5000 puppies, which he later attempts to flog off at a street corner - "5000 puppies going cheap ... er ... going woof!". Meanwhile Eddie Waring catches a large golden egg which falls from Mount Everest and gleefully runs to the touchdown line, while the Goodies still find themselves broke and starving. Tim polishes up the old bean tin in the hope of getting a few quid for it, but that only summons up a John Cleese genie who is told to "push off" and is trapped inside the tin after he snidely yells that the Goodies is a "kid's programme!"
* Bill (in response to Graeme's suggestion to sell the trandem): "Good grief, this is flesh and blood to me. Heavens, I love this bike!"
Tim (shocked): "You kinky little devil!"
* Graeme (reading from the Giant's Book Of Tasty Recipes): "Shepherds pie. First peel two shepherds ..."
* Bill (to the diminutive giant, scornfully): "Aw c'mon, you were never a giant!"
Giant (defensively): "I am so too a giant!"
Bill: "Nah you're not, you're too little!"
Giant (huffily): "There's more to a giant than size, you know!" … "In fact I'll admit, as far as giants go, I am petite."
Bill (again scornfully): "Petite?! You're a ruddy midget!"
* The rather bizarre but amusing opening credits which could have come straight from one of the Goodies books; including a censor's certificate declaring that the Goodies have passed O-Level Domestic Science (signed off with love and kisses by Cecil!), notes that the episode is "based on a traditional fairytale. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and that the show was written by Graeme and Bill "with Tim Brooke-Taylor's biro", a cavalcade of misplaced faces and names in the credits (with Bill Oddie having the faces of all three Goodies above his name at one stage!) and the burning Bonanza-style map and American history narrative which is put out by hand and replaced with a street map of Cricklewood to get the real story underway.
* The Goodies desperately trying to earn some money on the streets, with Tim posing as an old lady selling lucky heather until an allergic policeman blows his disguise off with a huge sneeze (prompting kinky glances at Tim's undies-clad frame from a business-suited bystander), Bill trying to be a one-man band but being outgunned by a jazz quartet of old ladies at a bus stop (who are in turn impressed by the dancing policeman) and Graeme seeking sympathetic donations by pretending to only have one leg, with another old dear opening her bag and generously donating him another leg, then bopping him in the face with a spare arm from the bag when he throws the leg away in disgust!
* Graeme living a life of comparative comfort and luxury in the park while his two fellow Goodies struggle to cope with their spartan surroundings and abject poverty; most notably his sleeping quarters with a springy, mattress-like park bench, a comfy paper bag pillow, a real 'broadsheet' newspaper from the rubbish bin which unfolds many times over to form a large blanket, a jacket that reverses into a snazzy dressing gown and even a tulip nightlight so that he can continue reading his book in bed. All of this is a total contrast to Tim's narrow, rock-hard bench which collapses at one end so that his log pillow rolls down and conks him on the head. Also when Tim and Bill are crying "Poor!" in despair like a pair of coyotes howling at the moon, Graeme remarks "Now listen, there is no doubt that we have fallen on hard times …" while casually fishing a bottle of bubbly out of the rubbish bin and pouring himself a glass, then later having a nice relaxing bath (complete with shower cap and soap) in the public fountain when the Goodies return empty-handed from chasing the beanstalk to Nepal.
* The havoc created by the giant beanstalk to the appropriate strains of 'Come Back' with it chasing after a Scout mistress (who sees the Goodies running towards her and ends up chasing the Goodies in turn with arms outstretched!) After Tim accepts the award for "Most Promising Beanstalk" after it has erupted through the presentation dais, the Goodies and the Scout mistress are swept away by the beanstalk, eventually being dumped into another lady's bathtub. BBC newsreader Corbet Woodall is just delivering the news that "The beanstalk is apparently growing all over the country" when he gives an anguished yell as the bathtub containing the two women and three Goodies is propelled through the news studio by the rampant beanstalk, bumping the newsdesk clear out of camera shot. A couple of puzzled home viewers look at each other in bewilderment as a BBC announcement of "We apologize for the loss of your newsreader" is made. The newsdesk separates from the beanstalk and bathtub out in the street and Woodall is trying desperately to answer his phone as his desk crashes through the wall of the aforementioned couple's house and displaces their TV set. With great professionalism, Woodall dusts himself off and reads the remainder of the news live from the couple's loungeroom as they sit there watching him while the bathtub and five crew members float across the English channel, with the beanstalk continuing its rapid growth all the way to the Himalayas.
* The wonderful unique rendition of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', with the Goodies as servants channelling the Marx Brothers (with Tim in a blonde mop and appropriately on the harp as Harpo, Bill in a cone-shaped hat and playing the piano as Chico, and Graeme with top hat, cigar and dark moustache doing the soft shoe shuffle as Groucho) accompanied by chooks, ducks, sheep, a dog, an owl and a parrot thanks to more brilliant video editing from producer Jim Franklin. The "Who wants to be a millionaire, I do … don't" theme fits in perfectly as the Goodies pretend that they don't need the riches and trappings of high society, only to flee with the golden eggs as soon as the giant nods off at the end of their song.
* The giant geese attacking the fleeing Goodies with all sorts of weaponry including heavy solid gold eggs, exploding eggs and a 'bouncing bomb egg' a la 'Dambusters'. Alfred Hitchcock is pictured in silhouette releasing the birds, while Bill pounces upon a stormtrooper goose and plucks all of its feathers off (with Tim and Graeme kindly draping a blanket over the shivering bird afterwards) and Graeme shoots a goose down in a smoky spiralling nosedive (only for two bluebirds to grab his rifle and turn it on him, with Graeme blindfolding himself and smoking a final cigarette before the birds fire at him, missing and hitting a crouching Bill in the backside in any case!), before the Goodies roll part of the way down Mount Everest in a huge eggshell.
* The one and only cameo appearance of John Cleese in 'The Goodies', who materialises as a genie from the bean tin when Tim gives it a polish and announces "And now for something completely different ...!" After being told to "push off", he turns nasty and sneers "Kid's programme!" before Tim traps him in the tin again.
Alfie Bass, Eddie Waring, John Cleese, Corbet Woodall, Robert Bridges, Marcelle Samett, Toni Harris, Helli Louise, Marty Swift, Arthur Ellis
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Not many notable quotes or verbal exchanges, but chock-full of memorable and iconic visual effects and guest stars, including the real Eddie Waring (who, although good value, isn't half as funny as Graeme's impersonation of him!) and John Cleese's great little cameo. The show is an excellent sendup of the Beanstalk as only the Goodies could have done it.
BLACK PUDDING RATING
A rather abstract start to proceedings
Graeme gets clobbered with a spare arm
Graeme roughing it in the park
Tim's bed is far less comfy than Graeme's
Graeme's tulip reading lamp
Tim and Bill lament being poor
Bill takes Buttercup to market
An upset Bill after parting with his bike
Tim does the honours with Bill's tin of baked beans
The scout mistress welcomes the Goodies with open arms
Tim accepts the trophy for Most Promising Beanstalk
An unexpected interruption to the news service
The news live, up-close and personal
Bill charms the beanstalk up the side of Mount Everest
Graeme has a bath in the public fountain
Arthur and the Nepalese broadcaster have a scrap at It's A Knockout
The game show setting with Mount Everest in the background
It's A Knockout host, Eddie Waring
The German team come to grief in the piranha pool
The Goodies climb the buttered beanstalk
The mysterious castle at the top of Mount Everest
Bill is astonished with a solid gold egg
Graeme tests if the bar is real gold
The Goodies fill their sacks with golden eggs
Inside the giant's lair
The "ruddy midget" giant
Graeme spills the giant's cup of coffee
Bill strikes a massive match to light the giant's pipe
Who wants to be a millionaire, we do ...don't!
Tim does his best Harpo Marx impersonation
The grand finale to a grand performance
The giant comes to grief in his fairy cake
Alfred Hitchcock releases the birds
Bill and Graeme try to ward off the geese
Tim cops an egg on his head
Graeme shoots down one of the geese
Graeme faces the firing squad
Bill gets grabbed from above
The giant nurses his sore toe
The giant receives his trophy and puppies
Eddie celebrates scoring a touchdown with a golden egg
The giant flogging off his 5000 puppies
"Kids programme!" according to genie John Cleese