An advertising campaign screens for 'Goodies Adventure Holidays' (or 'Goodies Hols' for short), where the aim is to provide an alternative to the usual boring traditional vacations, with the opportunity to do exciting things (as depicted by Bill in various loony poses!) such as "a week's brain surgery", the chance to "scale twelve unconquered peaks in three days" ("for just twelve pounds fifty") and for missionaries to "convert seventeen primitive tribes and be boiled alive … six days for only 21 pounds and a free funeral of your choice!" Graeme is smugly impressed with his own advertising campaign ("Aren't I clever?!"), but Tim rightly thinks that it's the work of a "raving nutter."
The Tours Organiser, Bill (dressed as a tree trunk) addresses a meeting of the company shareholders (just Tim!) who is naturally concerned about the "expense of what appears to be a rather extravagant scheme." Bill explains "to wit" (as Tim adds an owl-like "To woo hoo!" for good measure) that the worldwide tours take place with "nobody (going) more than six miles out of Cricklewood". Local gravel pits are used to replicate Loch Ness (where tourists are "guaranteed to sight a weird and mysterious tree trunk" as Graeme the Scotsman munches on his tam o'shanter oatcake to add some reality!) while "just a scOnes throw away" ("… scOnes throw!" smirks a self-satisfied Bill as Tim quickly corrects him with "Sconns!" in a flashback to the 'Bunfight' episode) there is a close encounter with Jaws (Graeme with a fin wrapped around his belly) and the scaled-down unconquered gravel peaks (including 'Everest') for the mountaineers. An appalled Tim finds it "all a con" (while Bill counters "Nah, I prefer to use the term "rip-off! Because I'm hip and you're not!") but he is he is told to "keep smiling" and answers a very cheeky phone call.
The Detectives Club want "the most exciting day of their lives" for their annual outing, so the Goodies set up a mystery train tour on the legendary Orient Express. Graeme does the spruiking ,while Tim is dragged up as the lovely hostess who has to welcome the detectives aboard (and gets a playful slap on the bum from Graeme as he steps on the train, only to return the favour by slapping Graeme across the face and dislodging his hat onto the railroad tracks!). The ranks of the detectives amazingly comprise of multiple numbers of various famous detectives including Hercule Poirot, Kojak, Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Miss Marple and Ellery Queen. Once everyone is seated onboard, Bill blows the whistle, puts a train record on the gramophone and carries various items past the train window to give the illusion that the train is actually moving, while Graeme keeps the improvised commentary and funny animations flowing (after asking the Kojaks to "please suck (their lollypops) quietly!") Tim's role is to rapidly change into the sexy national costumes of local ladies, as the Orient Express supposedly travels through various European countries on its journey.
Graeme informs the detectives that they are now travelling on "the fastest train in the universe and the scene of many a mind-boggling crime … and indeed the most tedious film ever made. Anything could happen … but it probably won't!" After the train passes "the very tree where Dick Turpin was hanged … too late, you missed it!", it 'arrives' in France where the detectives catch a lightning glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and (tin) Cannes (plus "a quick flash" of the frillies from Tim!) It's then time to say "Guten Morgen Italy!", where the Leaning Tower Of Pisa finally topples over (after Bill trips on the platform and Graeme comments "Ah never mind, it was bound to happen one day!"), but it soon stands erect again thanks to Italy's "incredibly quick reconstruction workers!"
Graeme's next stop is Yugoslavia and neither he nor an agape Bill can think of anything remotely notable to say about it until Yugoslavia's spectacular trees and cows save the day! Graeme mentions that there is a "gripping scene between Ingrid Bergman and Rachel Roberts" at this point of the film (with a tizzied-up Tim briefly appearing as both women, complete with a mad bellow of "Yach-y-daa boyos!" for Rachel) as the train travels through a tunnel (created by Bill holding a sheet of black cardboard over the window!) Tim is now dressed as a belly dancer (which causes Graeme to ask if they are in Torquay or Greece, or "in pain?" after Tim has wailed "Aayaayaayaa!" to try to give him a clue of their whereabouts) and Graeme establishes that they are now in Egypt … "and there to prove it is a camel" as Bill carries the cow past the window yet again!
Graeme hastily pulls the curtains and tries to put the detectives to bed, but the Kojaks complain as it is still light outside. Graeme claims this is due to the train now being in "the land of the midnight sun", Lapland (as Tim now wears a fur coat and chirps "Full lap!" while Bill freezes out in the snow in a reindeer costume), so the Goodies finally get "a nice well-earned kip" after Graeme tends to the Kojaks ("Lollies out, bottles in, polish their heads and tuck 'em in!"). As the train supposedly heads on to Japan, a gung-ho Graeme wants the increasingly bored Tim to give the detectives the "full geisha treatment". Graeme admiringly calls Tim a "pretty little thing" and "my little doe eyed vixen", and when Tim warns "Lay one finger on me and I'll scream!", he replies with a lusty "You betcha!" and playfully twangs Tim's bra strap (causing a pained Tim to scream alright!). Graeme then puts a tea cosy on Tim's head and violently sticks two knitting needles into it as he shouts "Ole!"and follows it up with a respectful mock bow and a stream of silly Japanese gibberish for good measure.
Although Graeme has commented earlier that "I think we've got 'em fooled", a crime is still required for the detectives to solve and a tired, fed-up and rather smelly Bill boards the train and threatens to oblige by killing Graeme. Bill had crawled beneath the train to shelter from the snow (right underneath the toilets!) and angrily hands the train record back to Graeme as he refuses to do any more work. However there is still a chuffing sound coming from the train and when Bill steps out the door (grumbling "The Orient Express stops right here!"), he lands on top of his cow and sees the train heading off into the distance. Bill frantically chases the train (after firstly giving his cow a gratuitous punch in the head!) as it heads south from Dover, but can't quite catch up with it. Tim starts to get hysterical that "We're moving, we're moving!" and gets slapped across the face by Graeme, only to start to cry and protest that he wants Bill back ("He's just my Bill"), which turns into a lovelorn serenade until a mocking Graeme tells him to "put a sock in it!" as Bill would have "grabbed on the back" of the train. A peek out the window reveals that the train is now travelling underwater across the English Channel and Tim panics that Bill has drowned until there is a knock at the door. Tim gets all excited that Bill has returned, but he gets clobbered and knocked out when he opens up the door.
The three Goodies re-enter the main carriage (now all clad in their regular clothes) and Tim informs the shocked detectives that a theft has taken place, "not so much on this train as of this train", and that "we have all been stolen.". Apparently the thief is still among them, so nobody can leave the train (particularly as they are now rolling along the bottom of the ocean!) The evidence from the crime scene points to the Goodies themselves as the culprits, but they are more concerned that the "old rhyme" is coming true, with the ten parties of detectives being disposed of one by one. This includes the Ellery Queens in the detached dining carriage, the Shafts in the exploding loo and the Hercule Poirots who spectacularly perish en-masse after they drink arsenic wine that has been poisoned with cyanide!
Tim is the chief suspect, (being the last person to touch the wine bottle after the Poirots have pegged it) so he decides to make a run for it, only to find that the train is now several hundred metres off the ground and supported by ropes that dangle from two helicopters. 'The Goodies' assure the detectives that everything is okay, but they sneak into the back carriage to reveal with evil chuckles that the real Goodies are tied up there. The impostors have hijacked the train and taken it to the Cannes Festival of Le Boring, where the British team of bores (including John Peel,Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Parkinson and a Welsh male choir from the "land of a thousand Boyces") face a stiff challenge from the French team (which includes Charles Aznovoice, Brigitte Bardot, John Paul Satire and Sasha Disgrace) for the legendary Rose Bore.
A Spanish gypsy folk singer bores the living daylights out of the crowd with a long-winded flamenco wailfest, so they initially cheer wildly when the Orient Express crashes through the wall of the stadium and the impostors emerge as white-faced miming clowns. The crowd's mood soon turns to despair though when the mimes start to act out the whole "six and a half hours" of 'Murder On The Orient Express' (as the announcer groans "… and I seriously don't think that the crowd can take it! It's the bore of the festival, of the year, of the century!") in an independent attempt to win the Rose Bore. Meanwhile the real Goodies finally free themselves after the goat nibbles through Graeme and Tim's ropes (and Graeme nibbles Bill's rope in turn!) and they enter the arena just as the crowd and announcer are desperate for relief ("It's got to stop! Somebody do something, it's so bloody dull!")
The Goodies try to relieve the tedium with a jazz music act, but it soon comes to grief when the impostors explode their musical instruments with mimed guns and grenades. A set of mimed obstacles(including banana skins and a solid wall) by the impostors initially keeps the Goodies at bay, but they soon receive backup support from the various detectives, who all ride out from the train in wheelchairs (despite the Ironsides being the only group of detectives in wheelchairs upon boarding.) The Goodies also climb into wheelchairs for the pursuit (as does the goat!), but the impostors still retain the upper hand however, as they mime the placement of various obstacles (such as tacks and banana peels) on the roads to send the wheelchairs out of control.
When the remainder of the detectives are met head-on by a not-so-imaginary truck, it seems as though the baddies will escape from the Goodies' clutches in a rowboat at the docks. However the wheelchair-riding goat butts one baddie in the bum as he stands on the pier ready to board and he crashes heavily through the bottom of the boat, which sinks his two colleagues in the bargain. This draws a derisive mimed goat gesture from Graeme as the real Goodies stand at the edge of the pier and laugh at the impostors' plight. The Goodies then look up to see their Le Boring scores, which weren't low enough to win anyway!
* Graeme (commentating): "As we travel merrily on our way through ... ooh ... Yugoslavia. (Bill shrugs shoulders in despair at window) Yugoslavia. Famous for its ... its ... er ... (Bill carries tree past window) ... trees! Renowned the world over! As indeed are the colourful and picturesque Yugoslavian ... er ... er ... er Yugoslavian ... (totally stuck until Bill carries cow past) ... cows!"
* Tim (fed up with dressing as a woman): "Why don't you do it?"
Graeme (bluntly): "Cos I haven't got the legs for it, that's why!"
* Bill (worried after the Ellery Queens have been bumped off): "It's just like the rhyme, you see. Ten little (everyone clears throats) sitting down to dine. Someone cut their couplings off (all grimace) and then there were nine!"
(and shortly afterwards when the Shafts are blown up in the loo) "Nine little (everyone clears throats) sitting there in state . Someone lit the touch paper and then there were eight!"
* The 4 Hercule Poirots (in unison): "Who can tell. Ze assassin, whoever he or she may be, could strike at, how you say, (grab throats and start swaying to and fro) EEEH!, OOOH!, AAAH!, OOOH!, SACRE BLEU!, AAAH! (before they all snuff it together!)
* Tim (checking wine bottle): "Hang about, what's that?" (points to 'arsenic' label on bottle)
Graeme: "The characteristic smell of bitter almonds."
Bill: "Isn't that cyanide?"
Graeme: "Precisely. This arsenic has been poisoned!"
* Graeme: "Try the goat."
Tim (still tied up - sheepishly): "Not now thanks!"
Graeme (slowly, frustrated): "Get the goat to gnaw through your ropes!"
Tim (quizzically): "What's the fun in that?!"
(and a little later) Graeme (unhappily): "Why didn't you tell me the goat had turned around?!"
* Graeme's inspired advertising campaign for Goodie Hols, featuring Bill in a variety of silly poses, including bare-bellied with a cloth cap on, proudly showing off a dead cat (as a big game hunter) and menacingly brandishing two huge knives (offering a week's brain surgery!) Other fun activities offered include "rediscover the dodo" (Bill getting in early with his 'Dodonuts' costume), or as missionaries converting seventeen primitive tribes and being boiled alive, "with a free funeral of your choice!" The motto of 'Holidays for the loony, er, specialist, whatever your kink, er, speciality' prompts Tim to declare "To think up something like that you must be a raving nutter", to which Graeme agrees "Well, that does help, yeah!"
* The various scenes of the Detectives Club mystery tour on the Orient Express; with Bill running up and down the platform carrying objects like trees, cows and the Leaning Tower Of Pisa to make the stationary train look like it is moving, Tim changing into a beautiful maiden's national costume for each country that they supposedly pass through on the train trip and Graeme providing the non-stop commentary with some brilliant ad-libbing in times of trouble, like when he can't find anything notable in Yugoslavia to comment about and with Italy being "famous for grapes, spaghetti, sun-kissed Latin maidens and quick change artists!" as he unceremoniously shoves Tim out of view to rapidly get changed into the outfit of the next country that the train is travelling to.
* The groups of detectives being knocked off one by one (just like the old rhyme says!) with the Ellery Queens' dining carriage being unhitched and the Shafts ("Zey have gone, how you say, in ze lav!") being blown up in the bog ("What a way to go!"); culminating in the sensational synchronised death dives of the Hercule Poirots after sipping their arsenic wine - which has been poisoned with cyanide!
* Some aspects of the final chase scene in wheelchairs, like a Miss Marple spinning out on a mimed banana skin and sailing high over a hedge, Lord Peter Wimsey suffering a blowout on a mimed tack and somersaulting spectacularly into a pile of rubbish bins in an alley, and finally the miming baddies coming unstuck when the wheelchair-powered goat butts one of them in the backside and he crashes through the bottom of the boat, foiling their getaway plans.
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Rather abstract and very interesting, especially the epic train journey for the multiple detectives, with each of the three Goodies doing a brilliant job in keeping the sequence ticking over. The Le Boring festival and following mime sequences drag on a bit by comparison, but overall a pretty enjoyable episode with some nice stuntwork in the chase sequence.
BLACK PUDDING RATING