Tim and Bill shiver away in the Goodies' bleak gloomy office and lament about where all of their wealth has gone; with Tim going from living like "Champagne Charlie" to being reduced to "mending my handkerchief with an old pair of trousers!", while Bill's attempt to raid Porky the piggy bank only results in a busted hammer and no badly-needed pennies. Tim moans that their once-cosy office is now "so cold", so Bill turns the bunsen burner-like candle flame up to full throttle; only for Tim to tell him that they must economise. Graeme enters the office at this point (playing a banjo and carrying all sorts of camping and mining equipment – including a metal detector that quickly detects Tim's gold tooth and plucks it out of his mouth!) and informs Bill and Tim that they are all about to go prospecting for gold. A disbelieving Tim tells Bill to ring the funny farm to collect Graeme, but Bill would rather kill Graeme instead when he finds out that all of their money has squandered on stuff like mules and mine detectors in preparation for the prospecting expedition.
The Goodies "go west" in search of gold (to the very catchy backing tune of 'Working The Line'), as they conduct a battle of wills with a very stubborn (and rather stuffed) mule (with it eventually being carried by Tim and Graeme while Bill lugs all of the equipment) and then find absolutely nothing after 18 days of prospecting. After a rude awakening for Bill and Tim by a rooster which crows repeatedly (until Tim drags it out of his sleeping bag and dispatches it rather violently!), Graeme re-enters the tent and is surprised at their lack of gold-finding success "out here in the wild and woolly West" (to which an annoyed Bill growls "Graeme! We're in Cornwall!") The Goodies are ready to pack it in and head home until Graeme discovers a mine full of rocks filled with Cornish cream. Although Bill finds "all of this very hard to believe", he accompanies Graeme and Tim (who has a glowing candelabra on his miners' helmet) underground into the cream mine, where a delicate tap with a hammer promptly sends a rich vein of cream spewing forth everywhere.
Tim and Bill have to do all of the hard work as they collect cream from the mine in wheelbarrows, push it awkwardly up a steep slope and tip it into the storage section of the elaborate production line that Graeme has designed, while Graeme lazes around in a rocking chair (which also drives one of the ladles in the production process) and cracks a whip at his co-workers as he takes cream off the line to consume in a leisurely manner with his morning cereal. However the ringing of the doorbell on Graeme's tent soon spells trouble, as an angry Bill and reluctant Tim are on strike in protest at the lop-sided working arrangements. After Graeme fails to convince Bill and Tim of the merits of the current set-up ("Lads, somebody has to sit around all day!"), he placates them by telling them that he is about to go to town and file a claim on "the richest little cream mine in the whole of Cornwall" the next day. A suspicious Bill notices that the claim has been made out solely in Graeme's name (to which Graeme ever-so-innocently replies "Is it?"), so he threatens to set Tim onto Graeme ("And he gets very nasty when roused"; to which Tim gives a rather lame "Grrr!" in response) if he doesn't share the claim equally This keeps Graeme at bay for a few minutes ("Just a joke! One of my little pranks … but worth a try!"), though he soon tries to sneak away into town with the claim and after the Goodies try to watch, bribe and creep out on each other, they eventually all wear themselves out and drop off to sleep. Graeme is up early the next morning and leaves behind a double in his place made out of a frying pan, a mop, two cups and a banana (which prompts Tim to comment "He's never at his best first thing" and Bill to ask "Oi Graeme, why have you got a mop on your head?!") as he takes the mule to town (on his own shoulders after it again refuses to budge!) to file the claim for himself.
In no time at all, there are a series of news reports about a big cream rush in the sleepy Cornish town of Pennenink (complete with many awful puns like "Ice cream, you scream and everyone's creaming it off down in Cornwall" and "So if you don't want to be a clot, whip on down there!"), although sadly it can't last forever and poor Tim and Bill are among those to miss out (arriving with buckets in hand just as a gusher of cream fizzles out, then sobbing in desperation afterwards). The only way that Bill can get some cream is to buy it from Graeme (at three quid for a tiny jar of it) so they despondently start to pack up their tent, only to strike a rich vein of strawberry jam and scones (setting off an ongoing argument as to the correct pronunciation of the word "scones") in the process. However Graeme watches all of their excitement through binoculars while astride his stubborn mule and being "a sporting man", he challenges Tim and Bill to a winner-take-all card game at 4 o'clock at the O.K. Tea Rooms.
Bill and Tim ride slowly into Pennenink on the trandem (roping it around a hitching post upon arrival) and enter the O.K.Tea Rooms, where the piano music instantly stops upon their arrival. A man who noisily chomps celery and a lady who slurps her tea loudly are quickly sent packing, while the barmaid gives Bill a two-fingered salute after he orders two cups of tea, then sends the cups crashing off the end of the bar while his back is turned. Tim and Bill eventually receive their cups of tea as Graeme appears at the top of the steps and brushes away his waitress girlfriend as he motions Bill and Tim to be seated at a table. Dressed like an old-time gambler (in a black suit and hat and purple waistcoat), Graeme rolls sugar cubes as dice and shuffles slices of toast as playing cards, while he uses biscuits as poker chips (and greedily puts his whole pile on in the first hand after Bill and Tim have only staked a biscuit or two each). Tim goes bust and folds almost immediately (and has a chomp of his biscuit in frustration), but Bill is gleeful with the good hand that he holds and soon raises the stakes with Graeme, who impudently plonks increasingly larger cakes on the table (with a three-tiered wedding cake as the piece-de-resistance!) in response to Bill's various challenges.
Bill contentedly lays out his three slices of toast and grins at Tim, but Graeme only lays out two slices before he magically plucks a spare piece out of the air to complete his hand. An outraged Bill and Tim upend the table and reveal a pop-up toaster on the floor, so the three of them hastily search for weapons before being provided with tomato-shaped sauce squirters by the barmaid. The Goodies menacingly pace the streets and the good folk of Pennenink flee from the impending showdown (most notably one silly twit who boards up his door and windows, only to find that he can't get back inside and so jumps in a barrel for refuge!) as Wild Bill Oddie, Texas Tim and Greedy Graeme end up standing "face to faces" in readiness for the ultimate duel.
Greedy Graeme (armed with his "pair of red ripe squirters") then "pulls his master stroke" when he suggests that Tim and Bill "turn their backs and walk eleven paces". The eleventh pace causes his opponents to crash headfirst into a wall, which gives Greedy Graeme time to strike, and after he squirts two lovers in a car and fells a policeman with a blast of ketchup, he lethally smears Tim in the face and then sends Bill toppling off a building to splatter onto the pavement below with a well-aimed stream of sauce. In the words of the backing song, "His chums lay in the ketchup and his gal ran to his arms, but even as they kissed she met her doom" as Bill musters one final dying effort to squirt the waitress with sauce as she embraces Graeme in the street. This causes a heartbroken Graeme to end it all (by using his sauce as an aftershave and a deodorant!) and he then launches into a spectacular death dive before the townsfolk re-emerge from their hiding places to check on the casualties laying on the street.
* Bill (annoyed at seeing Graeme loaded with equipment when he and Tim are destitute): "Oi oi, wait a minute! What do you mean, mules, mine detectors, all that stuff, I mean … that must have cost you a fortune?!"
Graeme (smugly): "Yeah of course it did. Why do you think we're broke?!"
Bill (angrily): "I'm going to kill him!
Tim (calmly): "No Bill … (wickedly) later!"
* Graeme: "I've been out looking around and you'll never guess what I've just found in an old tin mine."
Tim (excitedly): "Gold?!"
Graeme: "No. Old tins! And this." (holds up a rock)
Graeme: "Gold ore."
Graeme: "Or something else ..."
* Bill (sceptically, upon the discovery of cream inside the mine rocks): "Oh come on, that's not real cream, of course it isn't! That's fools cream, that is, yeah! Absolutely worthless … not even Gold Top!"
* Tim (wryly, regarding the cream discovery): "Look at all those Arab oil sheiks. We could become Cornish milk sheiks!"
* Graeme (to Tim, telling tales about Bill): And do you know who pinched the ears off your life-sized model of Prince Charles?"
Tim (shocked): "Not Charles's ears?!"
Graeme: "Where else do you think he got them mudguards for his Mini?!"
* The lyrics of the 'Ballad of the O.K.Tea Rooms':
Three brave men went searching
For a fortune in the west
Now they face each other in the dawn
The finale of their dream
In the land of clotted cream
Turned against their fellows
Who had a lust for jam and scones .... scOnes!
Men called him Wild Bill Oddie
And his friend was Texas Tim
They walked tall with their tomatoes in their hand
Their foe was Greedy Graeme
Who felt sure that he could slay 'em
With his pair of red ripe squirters
They'd be defeated easily
On and on strode Graeme
On and on strode Bill and Tim
'Til at last they stood there silent face to faces
Then Graeme softly spoke
And he pulled his master stroke
By suggesting that they turn their backs
And walk eleven paces
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...... ooooh!
All hell broke loose in Pennenink
No citizen was safe
With Graeme's tomato flying through the dust
And nobody can say
How much sauce was spilt that day
But by the end those two brave men
Were lying in the dust
His chums lay in the ketchup
And his gal ran to his arms
But even as they kissed she met her doom
For if you double-cross a friend
You'll get squirted in the end
At the Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms
At the Bunfight at the O.K. Tea Rooms!
* Tim and Bill whining about how cold and poor they are , only to have Graeme strolling into the office loaded up with expensive gold prospecting gear. Bill complains that it must have cost Graeme a fortune, to which he casually replies "Yeah of course it did. Why do you think we're broke!" and then tells his "little impecunious pals" that they are all going prospecting for gold, with his cry of "Go west, young man!" seeing them all initially head off in different directions.
* The mule proving to be somewhat stubborn (possibly because it looks rather stuffed!), with it only moving by being carried by Bill and Tim in pursuit of a carrot as a lure and eventually being carried by Tim and Graeme, with Bill bringing up the rear carrying all of the equipment.
* Lots of cameos during the exploration phase; including Bill setting up the tent by heaving it into the air and having it land perfectly pegged (and with Tim and Graeme inside it), Graeme pulling out a map with a giant black X on it and Bill finding a corresponding giant black X on the ground nearby, Bill accidentally clobbering Graeme and Tim with a sledgehammer, Bill staking the claim by using the sign as a pneumatic drill, Tim panning for gold and finding a heap of jewellery only to have Bill successfully panning for a breakfast of sizzling sausages and bacon (forcing Tim to start eating a watch to placate his own hunger), Tim being awoken by a rooster in his sleeping bag, Bill cracking open an egg and pulling out a slice of bacon from it to put in his frying pan, and Tim wearing a candelabra on his miner's helmet as a searchlight.
* The elaborate cream production line, with Graeme relaxing in a rocking chair cracking his whip at Bill and Tim, who have to shovel the cream into a barrow, push it uphill to a chute which feeds through a gramophone speaker into a huge bag. Graeme's rocking chair operates a ladle that scoops the cream from the base of the bag into a funnel, which fills cups on a trolley that is pulled along slowly by a tortoise chasing a lettuce lure in front of it!
* The scenes where Tim and Bill have to guard Graeme after he attempts to sneak off into town to file the claim for the cream mine all by himself, with Graeme trying to con Tim, then Bill, into only splitting the proceeds two ways after telling tales about the third sleeping person (such as "Do you know who scratched your record of Land of Hope and Glory?" to Tim). All three Goodies go to sleep, then try to sneak out in unison only to catch each other in the act, then all decide stay awake, with Graeme trying to send Tim asleep by humming a lullaby so that he and Bill can sneak out together, though when that fails, all of them collapse from exhaustion together.
* Bill and Tim pulling up their tent pegs ready to go home only to strike a gusher of strawberry jam, with a jam-soaked Tim excitedly gasping "If I remember my O-Level Geology and Domestic Science, where there's strawberry jam, there should be … scones!" A quick dig around soon uncovers a bumper supply of scones and kicks off an acrimonious argument over their pronunciation, with Tim and later Graeme (and me too, for what it's worth!) favouring "s-conns", while Bill insists that it is "s-cones" instead. Tim and Bill's wild jumping for joy is soon replaced by a Twister-like contortion act as they desperately try to plug the spurting jam holes from the prying eyes of Greedy Graeme on his trusty mule. This also leads to another classic scene where Graeme takes a spectacular tumble backwards off his mule after challenging the others to the card game at the OK Tea Rooms.
* The classic card game at the OK Tea Rooms and the brilliant Bunfight with sauce squirters, which is covered in detail in the 'plot' section.
Working The Line
Ballad Of The O.K. Tea Rooms
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Another absolute Goodies classic with the absurdity of prospecting for cream, jam and scones only surpassed by the legendary "baddie" performance of Greedy Graeme and the brilliant bunfight with tomato sauce squirters at the finish to the memorable backing tune of the Ballad of the O.K. Tea Rooms.
BLACK PUDDING RATING
Bill turns up the candle flame in the Goodies' cold dark office
Graeme gets the stubborn mule to move along a bit!
Bill drills in the Claims sign as the Goodies prospect for gold
Bill pans for sausages and bacon
The candelabra on Tim's mining helmet
There's cream in them thar hills!
Graeme's elaborate cream processing device,
including automatic tortoise-driven cup filler!
Now fellas, would I rip you off?!
Everyone tries sneaking out to file the claim
Graeme "is never at his best first thing!"
"They've struck cream ...!"
Pennenink is a boom town again
Tim and Bill strike strawberry jam and scones (scOnes!)
Look out ... Greedy Graeme is watching this great discovery
"Four o'clock at the OK Tea Rooms. See ya suckers!" ... and over he goes
Fastest cup of tea in the west
Wild Bill Oddie and Texas Tim prepare for their
showdown with Greedy Graeme
The stakes are high in the poker game
Graeme deals himself an extra "card" from the toaster
A local flees from the impending sauce showdown
Greedy Graeme meets Tim and Bill "face to faces"
Graeme pulls his masterstroke ... mind that 11th step!
Hello hello hello ... Cop that!
Greedy Graeme ruthlessly guns down Tim and Bill
"His chums lay in the ketchup and his gal ran to his arms ..."
"But even as they kissed she met her doom ..."
"For if you doublecross a friend, you'll get squirted in the end
In the Bunfight at the OK Tea Rooms!"
Graeme's sensational "death dive" after the self-inflicted
squirts of lethal tomato sauce. This sequence seems even
more brilliant since the Goodies revealed in their Australian
shows in 2005 that "Mr Wise" Graeme had taken the
sensible precaution of padding his back and sides for this
tumble, only to overdo the twisting and land flat on his
unpadded front and face!