The year is 55 AD and narrated black-and-white footage (from a number of old Hollywood movies including 'Spartacus') shows that the glory of the Roman Empire has reached its peak (having "spread itself halfway across the civilized world ... and England!" according to the narrator); but is now starting to decline as past glories crumble. The Roman Emperor needs help and therefore he sends an ambassador on foot (hopping along on a pogo stick with a large foot attached to it!) to far-off, primitive Cricklewood, where Graeme busily pounds in a wooden "The Goodies. We Do Anything Anytime" sign in front of the rounded stone and thatch hut that serves as their office in those ancient times. Inside the hut, Bill plays a quick burst of 'The Goodies Theme' on his serpent horn and asks Graeme to light a torch, but Graeme reminds him that there is a flint shortage ("S.O.S. – Switch Off Something!") so no torches can be lit for three days, which causes Bill to grumble "Oh dear, talk about the Dark Ages!"
Bill asks Graeme to open a window instead (to which Graeme duly obliges by roughly hammering a big hole in the wall with his mallet) and then complains that the air is hardly fit to breathe "'cos the flippin' Romans keep breathing garlic into it ... what a stink!" Bill also complains that "We should never have let (the Romans) in y'know; they're ruining our traditional way of life, they are!"; an opinion reinforced further when Tim returns with a feed of spaghetti ("foreign muck", according to Bill) because the Romans have forced up the prices of traditional English tucker to the point that the Goodies can no longer afford to buy it. Even the spaghetti has cost Tim "six chickens and a goat" (to which Bill moans "That's gone up three and a half chickens since last week, that has!") and the Goodies find that their traditional wode face paint has now been replaced by inferior Roman wode instead.
Tim tries to make the best of things (merrily singing "Keep right on to the end of the wode" while painting himself) but finally snaps "Don't start knocking Britain, mate!" when Bill's sullen mood shows no sign of abating. Tim launches into a patriotic speech (with Bill at least playing 'Land of Hope and Glory' on the serpent in support after firstly muttering "Oh gawd, here we go again!") in which he intones "We are a proud island race and led by our great Queen … Boadicea, bless her, we shall be proud once again. The Romans may have come, they may have seen and they may have conquered, but when the next Roman comes through that door, what shall we say to him?! We shall say…!" At this point the Roman legate enters (and all that Tim is able to say is "… Ooh Good morning Sir, may I lick your boots?!" as all three Goodies grovel to him) and smugly says "Legato sum" (to which Tim replies "About a quarter to three?") before he launches into a spiel in Latin that none of the Goodies can understand. Graeme tries to converse with the legate but gets stuck after an initial gambit of "Bellum" (quickly descending into a stream of babbling gibberish) before he utters "Oh Mamma Mia, give me that, get off!" and takes the parchment scroll from the legate's grasp. Graeme attempts a further translation of the scroll wording which makes just as little sense as the legate did ("And Gaul was divided into three parts …" etc) until he eventually reaches the important bit - "P.S. The Emperor has a job for you".
After a failed attempt to board a wooden trandem, the Goodies jog all of the way to Rome (crossing the English Channel underwater) and are hustled inside the palace by the centurions to meet the Emperor (who is sprawled out on a king-sized bed of sumptuous fruit and is tended to by three beautiful maidens.) The Emperor initially chuckles "Oh, Goodies! … Goody goody yum yum!" (as he initially struggles to sit up in bed and get to his feet) and ejects Tim and Graeme from the room, along with the centurions, with orders to "Leave me with the little one!" – a rather reluctant Bill. Tim, Graeme and the centurions spy through the multiple keyholes as the kinky Emperor chuckles "Alone at last!" and holds on to Bill's hand; asking him "Do you like concubine?", to which a wary Bill replies "No thanks, I'm trying to give them up!"
Bill then emphatically declares that he "likes girls very much" in a bid to keep the randy Emperor at bay; however the Emperor soon reveals that he really has a full-on fetish for fruit (with his vivid description of overripe pears causing Bill to break into a grin in the background!) and writhes orgasmically on top of his bed of fruit as Bill describes why fruit doesn't turn him on in the slightest. The Emperor reveals that he is "not loved" by his countrymen because he doesn't provide sufficient entertainment for them (only market gardening exhibitions!), so he has sent for the Goodies to rectify this situation. Bill refuses a request to lick the pile of jelly and whipped cream (with a cherry on top!) off the Emperor's chest and leaves the three pretty maidens to do it (with the Emperor moaning "Same old tongues ... boring, boring …!"), but he takes up the challenge (along with Tim and Graeme) to "bring the crowds flocking back to the arenas", even though the Emperor threatens to "throw him to the lions" if he is unsuccessful.
The Goodies put on a lively evening of entertainment at the Coliseum (including Bill playing the xylophone on Tim's traditional Roman battledress and Tim having to endure another encounter with the loony leaping sheep from 'The Lost Tribe' which is even more vicious this time after Graeme has jabbed it in the bum with a pitchfork!), but the po-faced Romans are not amused and pelt the Goodies with fruit in disgust. The Emperor also cops a barrage of fruit from the "unruly mob" (plus a couple of phallic-looking vegetables which turns him on somewhat!) when he ventures out onto the balcony and is so annoyed that the Goodies didn't book the Christians instead ("It's a good family show!") that he threatens to "throw them to the sheep" as punishment. The Emperor then reveals to the Goodies that he is exhausted from the "endless round of ruddy orgies" and "burning Christians at both ends", and is happy to abdicate when Tim says he is willing to take the role on.
Although Tim laps up the good life as Emperor (singing "Just Roman ... in the Gloamin' ... !" while lazing in his bath of asses milk and having flunkies tending to his every whim), he soon finds that the populace are still restless for entertainment. Graeme soon solves that problem and creates new seaside resorts (plus a helter-skelter at the Leaning Tower of Pisa!) and "naughty postcards from Pompeii", as well as the invention of bingo and candy floss (in incorrect order) for good measure. The Parthenon News bulletin spruiks that "all roads lead to Rome" as a "place of peace and quiet" (with footage of an older gent and his young dolly bird strolling along the beach accompanied by the narration "She's certainly a lovely piece, let's just hope she keeps quiet!") and urges the locals to "tuck up your toga, Dad, and come on in – the water's fine.", with even Emperor Tim joining in the fun on the beach. However Graeme makes a slight error by sending out holiday brochures to charming neighbours like the Barbarians, Goths and Visigoths (to "appeal to the international market!"), and in no time, Attila the Hun and his army of Vandals have made a block booking (as Bill confirms "That's right, 25,000 single rooms he wants, requiring early morning tea, packed lunch, evening meal, rape and pillage!")
The Vandals arrive in their droves "from the wastelands of the north" (as no-one stands in their way; least of all the three Goodies, who down their spears and flee) and ransack the Emperor's palace (with one amorous Vandal even carrying a protesting Emperor Tim out the door in his arms until Bill and Graeme intervene) and destroy all before them. The Vandals enter the Coliseum and soon become very bored as they listen to a Roman band watch the local dancers perform with coloured hoops (chanting "What a load of rubbish!" as they take over the seating). After the Goodies accidentally create a number of athletics events by dodging the Vandals and their spears, they rile Attila the Hun by splattering a melon on his head in the shot put event and he returns fire with a flaming catapult missile, which lands in a drum and creates the Olympic flame. The Goodies then scatter the dancers and throw their coloured hoops into the air and onto a wall to form the Olympic rings.
Tim orders a huge ice cream from a vendor in celebration, but another burning catapult missile from Attila the Hun lands in the cone, which becomes the Olympic torch. The Goodies run out of the Coliseum carrying the torch, which sets fire to lines of washing on the way out, and the city of Rome is ablaze in no time. Emperor Tim opens a cabinet marked 'in case of fire' and finds Nero's fiddle, which he continues to play as the Goodies head along the road towards Pompeii, only to be swallowed up by the earth after a sizeable tremor from the volcano.
* Bill (after Graeme has accused him of being prejudiced towards the Romans): "Maybe, but don't tell me that they don't smell differently."
Graeme (matter-of-factly): "Of course they smell differently. That's 'cos they're clean! They're always taking baths, which is more than I can say for some people!" (looks at Bill)
Bill (annoyed): "Yeah, well they need to keep taking baths, don't they? Wash off the smell of that pongy Eyetie food!"
* Tim (when asked to name a great British achievement): "How about Stonehenge?"
Bill (laughs): "God blimey, how about Stonehenge?! What a waste of money that was. Two thousand years it's stood there ... still doesn't fly!"
Tim (defensively): "It attracts the tourists."
Bill (derisively): "Oh yeah, it attracts the tourists alright, doesn't it?! And what did the last lot of tourists it attracted do, hey? ... hey? They conquered us! Nice one, yeah!"
* Emperor (seductively): "Don't you like bananas, peaches and apricots? And overripe pears [groan] with their soft sensuous bulbous botties [oooh!] and squishy juice … that trickles from your fingers right the way down to your armpits [groans loudly and writhes in his pile of fruit, before composing himself] Oh, that's better!"
Bill (accusingly): "You're kinky, you!"
Emperor (joyfully): "Yes ... but not by Roman standards! But I don't suppose you Britons understand that sort of thing, do you? … I don't suppose you've brought any Granny Smiths with you?"
Bill (annoyed): "I certainly have not! Personally mate, fruit means nothing to me. I can't see any attraction of the smooth tight skin of a pert little Cox's Orange Pippin …" [as the Emperor turns and throws himself groaning and writhing into his fruit pile again!]
* Emperor (after one of his countrymen has thrown a carrot at him): "Who threw that?! Was that you? Cheeky!" (and later after catching a zucchini) "Was that you again? Was it?! (chuckles) Like it!"
* Roman Emperor: "Why didn't you book the Christians? It's a good family show!"
Tim: " They're not doing it anymore. They said they got fed up with being thrown to the lions, so now thanks to you they've all got much better jobs as fruitgrowers. And what's more, there are no gladiators left because they've all been eaten by the lions who were hungry because there were no Christians, and before you ask there are no lions left because they've been eaten by the Christians who have got sick of the sight of fruit!"
* Graeme (explaining his invention of bingo and candy floss): "Look, little card with all the numbers on. A chap shouts out the numbers … like 'Romulus and Remus, number 2, all the ones, number 3, give us a kiss (makes "X" sign), number 10, pair of those (two-fingered gesture), number 5'. Then, when you've got all the numbers on your card you jump up and shout 'Candy floss!' (produces a stick of candy floss) 'Have a bingo!'"
* The Goodies climbing onto a wooden trandem which immediately falls apart (though they try to ride it anyway, but soon give up once the splinters find their mark!), necessitating them to jog all the way to Rome (including the famous jog off a cliff and bouncing landing which features in the theme footage in many episodes), and discovering that all roads really do lead to Rome when they each run off in different directions along separate routes, but all collide heavily in the middle of a road junction shortly afterwards.
* The completely kinky fruit-fancying Roman Emperor, who starts coming on to Bill before revealing that his true love is actually the "soft sensuous bulbous botties and squishy juice" of over-ripe pears and other fruit, with Bill's description of the "smooth tight skin of a pert Cox's Orange Pippin" sending the Emperor wriggling in orgasmic fashion on top of his pile of fruit!
* The entertainment of the bored Roman masses, where a terrified Tim gets down on his knees and prays as Bill and Graeme release his fearsome foe - a Suffolk sheep which is more interested in eating the fruit which has been pelted onto the arena from the last act than attacking Tim. A quiet word in the sheep's ear from Bill still doesn't help, so Graeme gets the sheep into full attack mode by shoving a pitchfork up its clacker! The bad tempered baa lamb flies through the air and stomps all over Tim, eventually winning the hilarious wrestling bout to the booing and fruit-throwing of the irate crowd in the Coliseum. Those Romans sure are hard to please!
* Tim's loopy logic in telling the Emperor that there are no Christians left to feed to the lions because they have all become fruit growers, all of the gladiators have been eaten by the lions who were hungry due to lack of Christians to eat, and finally, that there are also no lions left because they have been eaten by the Christians who are sick of eating fruit! The Emperor asks the Centurions to throw the Goodies to the sheep, prompting an impassioned plea for mercy from Tim, but later when Tim is the Emperor, he threatens to throw Bill to the hamsters because he has run out of sheep by then!
* Emperor Tim bathing in asses milk and being waited on by three pretty girls, while explaining "That one's a hand maiden, that's a foot maiden ... and this one comes in pretty useful as well!", and receiving a visit from Bilius ("my small hairy subject"), who hangs his coat on the Venus De Milo, knocking one arm off the statue. Shortly after, Graeme enters and hangs his coat on the other arm of Venus, but this time her head falls off!
* The various accidentally-discovered events of the first Olympic Games, including the use of a plate as a discus, a melon as a shot put (which splatters on Attila the Hun's head, as shown by the BC-TV action replay!) and spears used for javelin, hurdles, high jump and pole vault events. Also the creation of the Olympic rings, flame and torch as described in the 'plot' section.
Roy Kinnear, Oliver Gilbert
Big Brave Bold Hunk of Man
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
The first time that the Goodies have been set in a different time period to the present, which opens up lots of new comedy possibilities for the superchaps three to explore. A very funny and rather "adult" episode thanks mainly to a brilliant over-the-top performance from Roy Kinnear as the Roman Emperor with his rather kinky fruit fetish. Some rather nice understated sight gags too, like the Venus de Milo and the invention of the various Olympic symbols.
BLACK PUDDING RATING
Ancient Goodies advertising their services
An early patriotic speech from Tim, with musical accompaniment from Bill
Graeme tries to speak Latin to the Roman legate
The Goodies and their wooden trandem
Bouncing down a big dip in the road
The Goodies discover that all roads do lead to Rome
The Goodies meet the fruit-fancying Roman Emperor
The Emperor loves overripe pears with their "soft sensuous bulbous botties"
Bill's description of a pert Cox's Orange Pippin sends the Emperor into a frenzy
"Same old tongues ... boring, boring!"
Bill uses Tim's metal skirt as a xylophone
Tim looks on in terror as the sheep is about to attack
Bill words the sheep up as Graeme has the pitchfork ready
The sheep takes its anger out on Tim in the Coliseum
The Romans are unimpressed with the spectacle before them
The Goodies beg not to be thrown to the sheep
The Emperor is impressed with some vegies that are thrown at him
Emperor Tim explains the roles of his maidens to Bilius
Graeme has invented bingo and candy floss
Emperor Tim prepares for a dip in the sea
Attila the Hun and his Vandals have booked into Rome for some "rape and pillage"
A Vandal runs off with Emperor Tim
Graeme is trapped by a spear when Tim opens the door
Attila cops a melon on the head in the shot put event
The Goodies compete in the hurdles event
The original Olympic flame and rings
Tim starts the inaugural Olympic torch relay
Emperor Tim fiddles while Rome burns
The road to Pompeii is about to give way