Tim regally poses for a do-it-yourself "instant Polaroid portrait", only for a cheeky Bill to wrench opens the office door and yell "Oi!", which startles him and makes him squeal loudly ("Don't do that! You made me flash before I was ready for it!"). This produces a not-so-gracious self-portrait (with Tim's hair standing on end and a shocked expression on his face), but Tim hangs it on the wall anyway alongside the portrait of his ancestor - the rather sissy Sir Giles de Brokes-Tayeux. An additional portrait of Tim's "favourite ancestor", Beau Brooke-Taylor, is notable for his ancestor's prominent chin, which is a trait that apparently runs in the family (as Bill dryly remarks that "noses run" in his family!) Tim pompously comments that the Brooke-Taylor chin has been "bred out over the years" as his family "has got more and more upper class" and that their "aim is to produce the perfect chinless wonder." Bill reckons that Tim is just about there already (with his "ingrowing chin") and that "in one hundred years time you'll have a hole here (points to chin) and a big lump at the back of your neck!"
Tim's brags that his family coat-of-arms represents their noble history, but Bill wonders if the heraldic shield is "open to an alternative interpretation" and turns it sideways to reveal a set of damning images (including a robber's mask, set of gallows and a dead sheep) which indicate that the Brooke-Taylors were in fact a bunch of sheep stealers (with Tim's sheep-filled "swag" of family heirlooms a dead-set giveaway!) At this point, Graeme enters the room (with bagpipes in hand and kitted out in tartan gear) but the others don't recognise him until Bill raises his kilt for a quick peek (only to knee level though thankfully!) and Graeme reveals that he has spent the past three weeks back in his homeland "searching out Scottish roots, back to the very village of my ancestors.". This comes as a big surprise to Tim and Bill (who had thought that Graeme had been hogging the loo all that time!) and Tim desperately needs to go to the loo himself, but much to his horror an enthused Graeme starts to chatter about the running water that he saw on his trip (such as "the burns rattling through the glens" and "streams cascading down the mountainsides") and is then compelled to tell a busting Tim a "wee wee story!"
The short film 'Hoots' tells of Graeme's ancestor Celtic Kilty, who was born in the tiny Scottish village of Dunghill, (which is located "Close by Loch Jaw in the shadow of Ben Doon, between Glen Ford and Glen Campbell on the banks of the Firsdgree Burn ... !") The villagers were "proud and independent folk with an appalling sense of humour" and they led a "primitive" yet contented lifestyle (with footage of the inhabitants actually enjoying mod cons such as table tennis, TV, a computer and a Sainsbury's supermarket outlet!) A son is born to Angus Turabitters and Flora MacKitchen and his proud father takes him to a high place and holds him up to show to the world (only to cop a golden shower from his baby son!), then thirteen summers pass, closely followed by thirteen winters (which cover the family's stone hut in a thick coating of snow) and the snow eventually clears to reveal a boy who is soon to become the man of the family "as Angus has grown old and bent" (flouncing away from his family with a limp wrist!) The young man is given his name of Celtic Kilty in the time-honoured custom - "a ritual culminating in total immersion in porridge" (which the maidens of the village lick off him afterwards!) and he and the other young men of the village are taken far away into the hills where the elders provide them with instruction, testing and "do terrible things to their sporrans"! After they learn "the ways of a true Scotsman" (particularly the secret of "what is worn under the kilt"!) the young lads engage in a traditional haggis hunt which ends when Celtic Kilty knocks the haggis out of a tree and into his arms with a well-aimed rock. There is great rejoicing upon the return to the village, which culminates in the gang-tackling of the out-of-tune piper Andy McPrevin and the vicious destruction of his bagpipes!
An excited Graeme remarks that "those were the days, right enough!", only for Tim to scoff "Oh, come on! If it was so marvellous, then why did your ancestors leave there, hey?" Tim's frantic dash for the bog is then blocked by Bill, who provides the answer to his query by screening the tale of his own ancestor - the aptly named Kinda Kinky! Bill's own ancestors descended from Johnny Applefarm and his tale called 'Froots' (with the theme music from 'The Archers' playing in the background) tells of the 'Oo ar' tribe of fruitgrowers, where lads were "declared a grown man as soon as they could suck a bit of straw and do the funny voice"! Bill's ancestor spends his time singing and dancing with the other village folk "until that fateful day when the tourist traders arrived." All of the "fit young men" are rounded up by the evil dictatorial Tourmaster for a "one-way tour" of the countryside and as the bus departs, "families are separated" and "no-one could forget the anguish in those faces" of the elderly villagers left behind (except for Kinda Kinky's joyful parents who pop a bottle of bubbly and drink a toast instead!)
The Tourmaster's bus heads north to Dunghill and rounds up Celtic Kilty and his fellow Scotsmen before it snaffles Tim's ancestor (County Cutie!) and his fellow sheep stealers on the way back to London. The three groups of slaves spend "five terrible days" sandwiched together on the bus in "hot, airless, cramped and inhuman" conditions" ("... and the packed lunches were appalling!") and they have all sorts of communication problems, with none of them able to understand what each other group is talking about due to their vastly different accents and backgrounds. County Cutie is eventually able to broker some common ground and understanding between the three groups (with them all mimicking his words, even after he tells them to stop doing it) and they sing the same spiritual of 'We Shall Overcome' (albeit in three completely different styles) in unison as they are being taken to London Town aboard the bus.
The cruel Tourmaster attempts to "break the spirit" of his charges and as they are relentlessly herded in and out of a multitude of tourist attractions all over London (as the narrator explains, "to the Tourmaster, that was his job"), they become more "exhausted and confused" by the day. "So beaten and dejected, the tourists were delivered to their final terrible humiliating destination" (singing the slave song 'Cotton Fields' as they are riding in on the bus) - the BBC Television Studios – where they are all put up for sale in the 'Grand Auction.' An assembly of Lew Grade-like, black-suited, balding, cigar-smoking TV producers watch earnestly as the Tourmaster flogs off his "splendid pack of athletic male muscle, sound in limb and dull in brain" (with a sales pitch of ("hold 'em, feel 'em, they're lovely! ... flash the fetlocks, every one of them a great little mover!") and the slaves are gradually auctioned off to shows such as 'The Young Generation' and 'Seaside Special.
The Tourmaster asks "Anyone for Max Bygraves? ... No-one for Max Bygraves!" on a couple of occasions as the number of uncommitted slaves dwindles and when he finally roars "And one for Max Bygraves!" with delight (and the poor dejected sucker is consoled by County Cutie before traipsing off!) there are just the three ancestors of the Goodies left. The Tourmaster desperately tries to flog them off to 'Rolf Harris and Friends' ("Three friends if ever I saw them. See how friendly they are?", as the three Goodies pull faces, snarl and gesture menacingly), only to lament "No-one wants them? No-one? Oh flip!"
The frustrated Tourmaster grumbles that he is "not traipsing over to ATV with you lot" and tries to break in the recalcitrant threesome by making them join in various dance routines at the 'Cotton Fields'; however their determination to be" so bad that nobody will have (them)" forces the Tourmaster to assign them to the 'Black & White Minstrel Show' as a last resort. Celtic Kilty and Kinda Kinky are disgusted at the "degrading" lack of "respect for human dignity" in having to wear black facial makeup with white eyes and mouth (and the contrasting white suits with black trim, and spotted bow ties) to take part in the show. Celtic Kilty at least wants to retain some link to his roots by wearing his tam o'shanter hat, but County Cutie tells him not to and also harps at Kinda Kinky to "take that bunch of rat's tails off your head", to which a peeved Kinda Kinky responds that they are his "natty dreadlocks" (and for County Cutie to snap in turn "They are grotty rat's tails!") Kinda Kinky has the make-up around his mouth "set in a permanent sneer"; however County Cutie appears to enjoy the experience immensely (particularly a 'How to rap minstrel' version of 'Land Ob Hope & Glory' as part of a "patriotic medley"), as he races around the room in a silly exaggerated fashion and hollers that "I sure is one happy minstrel", much to the disgust of the other two (in particular Celtic Kilty who brands him an "Uncle Tim" for his shamelessness.)
However the deliberate blacking-up of all the BBC TV programs for ratings purposes eventually makes County Cutie "one aggravated minstrel" and the three Goodies' ancestors are sufficiently outraged to launch a rebellion ("We is revolting!") when they first appear on the 'Black & White Minstrel Show' shortly afterwards. They refuse to "dance those old routines (and) sing those corny songs" ("There'll be no more Camptown Races ... and no more Doo Dah Day!") and Celtic Kilty makes a Martin Luther King-style "Brothers, I have a dream" speech in which he declares that there will be an era of "brave new television networks" where the "programs will no longer be the slaves of audience ratings". People will not be judged by the colour of their make-up (as the minstrels in the background reveal their true facial colours of yellow, green, purple and even "pink with orange spots" upon County Cutie's indecisive command!) as Celtic Kilty promises that there will be "no rivers of blood, but we shall arise and be free".
After declarations of "Minstrel Power!" and "Feet, do your stuff", the Goodies' ancestors try to escape from the BBC studios (freeing their fellow captive minstrels from the dressing room – and its 'Do Not Feed The Minstrels' sign - along the way), but the "black alert" sirens sound loudly and inform the guards that the minstrels are on the loose. After Celtic Kilty initially cowers in terror at the approach of a fierce guard dog, he soon realises that it is only a small terrier and callously whacks it out the open window with a golf stick-shaped bone, only to have to run swiftly from the cranky dog when it re-emerges soon afterwards (disrupting a 'Panorama' debate between Robin Day and Enoch Powell, both in minstrel make-up, who cheer wildly afterwards) Following a brief worship session of mammy Angela Rippon's legs (after she has jumped up onto the news desk to escape the mayhem), the three minstrels float their bow ties like butterflies to lure one of the guards out an upper window as he chases after the bow ties with a net in his hand.
The guard's net lands on top of the three minstrels outside (as they have gone out to retrieve their bow ties), but they quickly flee back inside and Kinda Kinky manages to dispose of another guard using an exploding record from the sound department (despite County Cutie being floored for the count by a further guard wielding a sign.) The Goodies' ancestors are eventually chased into the 'Film Department Developing Room' and all tumble into a tank of developing solution, along with the pursuing guard. The minstrels emerge from the liquid in the reverse image of white makeup and black suits, while the black-suited guard surfaces as a minstrel and is promptly dunked again by the ancestors. The BBC producers watch all of these goings-on via a monitor from the control room and then declare "Right, give those boys a series!"
* Tim (about his ancestor Sir Giles): "He came across with William the Conqueror"
Bill (looking at St. Giles' poncy portrait): "Oh, he'd come across with anyone, wouldn't he?!"
* Bill (examining Tim's family crest): "Sheep stealers! Look at that! (laughs) There's the mask, there's the stripes ... and that's not a rampant fat stag in a field of goolies! No way, that's a dead sheep, that is! And that's where your lot ended up, dangling from the gallows!"
* Tim (thinking that a tartan-clad Graeme is a foreign lady): "I'm sorry, you seem to have come to the wrong place, Madam! … Wrong place dear. Wrongeee ... placeee ... understandeee!! Oh, these immigrants! Bill, remind me to write to the League of Perfectly Sensible Self-Employed Middle-Class Nice People and have them all kicked out, will you?!"
* The Scottish elders (gathered around campfire): "D'ye ken the ways of a true Scotsman?"
Celtic Kilty & other Scottish lads (in chorus): "Aye!"
Scottish elders: "What do we put in our porridge?"
Celtic Kilty & others: "Salt!"
Scottish elders: "What are we with our own money?"
Celtic Kilty & others: "Awfully mean!"
Scottish elders: "What's worn under the kilt?"
Celtic Kilty & others: "Nothing. It's all in perfect working order!"
Graeme (dressed as a Scotsman, wanting to hear Bill's story): "Haud yer wheesht!" (Translation: Be quiet!)
Tim (busting to go to the loo, desperately): "What do you think I'm trying to do?!
* The three Goodies ancestors (as black & white minstrels singing 'Land of Hope and Glory'): "Land ob Hope and Glory, Maaaammy ob da free!"
* Tim's distinguished family coat-of-arms supposedly representing "a field quartered", the "Brooke-Taylor initials", the "fat stag of Cheltenham rampant in a field of gules ... that means red" and a black helmet over a cinque bar and sable, only for a sceptical Bill to turn the crest sideways to display a robber's mask, a dead sheep, prison stripes and a set of gallows, revealing that Tim's ancestors were actually sheep stealers!
* Graeme telling of the search for his ancestor Celtic Kilty's heritage in the short film titled 'Hoots'; featuring lots of appallingly punny Scottish place names (like Loch Jaw, Ben Doon, Glen Campbell, Firsdgree Burn and Dunghill), and even worse people names, such as his parents Angus Turabitters and Flora MacKitchen! Also the primitive village folk (with their TVs, table tennis sets, computers, roulette wheels, etc), Celtic Kilty's total immersion in porridge as part of his journey to manhood (with a naughty leer on his face while the young maidens of the village had the pleasure of licking it off afterwards!) and the hilarious haggis hunt by the young men of the village among many other highlights, to the backing of a very jaunty highland tune.
* Tim, as County Cutie, trying to get the three groups on the tourist bus to communicate despite none of them understanding what each other is saying; eventually succeeding in getting them to repeat key sayings from each group like "Oo ar!" (from Kinda Kinky's tribe), "Hoots toots och aye" (from Celtic Kilty and the Scots) and "Jolllly gooood showwww!" from his own people, before they all keep copying his high-pitched attempts to shut them up, with each group then singing the spiritual of "We Shall Overcome" in a totally different style and pitch.
* The slaves being herded into the revolving restaurant in London for a meal, only for the Tourmaster to command for the restaurant to spin around increasingly faster, with it ultimately rotating so quickly that all of the diners tumble around together in the centre of the restaurant from the centrifugal force generated while the food flies in all directions, splattering over the inside windows.
* The Goodies being auditioned for various TV dancing roles, but hilariously messing them up much to the displeasure of their furious Tourmaster. They ruin their "lovable cockney" routine (to 'Knees Up Mother Brown') with out-of-sync dancing (and a staggering Tim throwing up in his hat, then tripping over Graeme) and their sailor routine to 'There Is Nothing Like A Dame' sees them camping about, only to end with them having to run away from the other turned-on male dancers. Finally their country "hoedown" concludes with them upending the chuckwagon and sending their dancing partners soaring into the air in the process.
* All BBC TV programs having to feature black-and-white minstrels in a shameless bid to appeal to a wider audience, including the 'Six Million Dollar Man' in minstrel make-up, the return of popular detective 'Co-Kojak', a new Roman costume series 'I Rastus', 'Black Peter' and a very dark 'Sooty' for the children, plus a new series of 'Michael Darkinson' with his special guest - a white Muhammad Ali!
The epic final chase scene through the BBC studios with many exceptional visual effects, especially Celtic Kilty wielding a huge bone like a golf club to despatch a guard terrier neatly out a window (only for the infuriated mutt to come charging back in after him shortly afterwards) and the use of bow ties as butterflies to lure a net-carrying guard to fall out the window trying to capture them. Also Bill's use of train, racing car and exploding bomb records to firstly distract and then ultimately dispose of a pursuing guard, and the final brilliant scene where the Goodies and a guard fall into the developing tank together and emerge in reverse-coloured make up and clothing.
Bryan Pringle, Charlie Stewart, Stuart Fell, Max Faulkner, The Fred Tomlinson Singers, John Melainey, Brian Rogers, Kenneth Warwick
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
An unusual episode containing many narrated visual sequences and a lengthy final chase scene rather than the normal dialogue, but a very enjoyable send-up of the popular 'Roots' mini-series screening at the time; especially with the help of many clever visual effects.
BLACK PUDDING RATING