Tim Brooke-Taylor proudly presents 'Pro Celebrity Sports Night', which features various wacky sporting events in a patriotic attempt to raise some badly-needed money for the British Olympic Fund. These events include "hang-gliding with Cyril Smith" (as the chubby MP jumps off a cliff and makes a loud crash-landing below), a one-off fox hunt with Basil Brush (and his puppeteer) forced to flee rapidly from a pack of hounds and "clay pigeon shooting with Rob Hulls' Emu" (which is shot to bits by a tweed-clad Tim as it rises up in the air). However Tim has to deduct various expenses from his fundraising endeavours (like 500 pounds for Nicholas Parsons "not to show up!" and "a new clutch for James Hunt", among other sundry items) and while he is being towed around for a leisurely game of golf by Graeme, he calculates that he has raised a grand total of 3 pence as his donation to the British Olympic team.
Tim ventures to the cobweb-ridden British Olympic Committee office and when he knocks, the door caves in to reveal a number of old men asleep around the meeting table. The men each wear an Olympic blazer which features a different Olympiad dating right back to the 1896 Athens games (although a skeleton seated at the table features a blazer from the games at Sparta in 341 BC!) Tim asks the elderly Chairman if he can come in, but the old timer rasps "I don't know, we'll have to vote on it!" and the vote is tied at 3 for and 3 against until one objector promptly croaks it at the table ("that's better, two against ... alright, you can come in!") Tim's offer of a whole 3 pence for better training facilities is sufficient to get the ancient Chairman to fire up with a patriotic speech about British athletes losing for their Queen and country, but Tim's disgusted retort of "Oh, bloody hell!" causes the remaining old geezers to snuff it in shock at such "language"!
Meanwhile the British Olympic team are forced to rummage through bins on the street for survival; although Tim is determined to help them (particularly when there is a desperate unseemly scramble by the athletes to grab the 3 pence that Tim accidentally drops on the footpath). Tim wonders aloud that "there must be some way of making a few quid" and sees a group of shirtless men exit from an opulent building nearby; only to go inside and find that it is Graeme and Bill's new casino which specialises in indoor games. Tim strongly disapproves of their gambling venture, but is tempted to try his hand to raise some money for the British athletics team. However after he is expertly hustled at a series of games like scrabble and ping-pong by "Hurricane Oddie" and "Honest Graeme" and forced to strip to his smalls to repay his debts, Tim is left with little choice but to become an athlete too.
The impoverished athletes soon resort to crime (menacingly prowling the streets conducting muggings and robberies with their athletic equipment) and Tim morphs into the notorious 'Masked Shot-putter' who even robs the Queen of her tiara in a brazen raid on her limousine as it slowly rolls along a crowd-lined street ("Who was that masked athlete?!") Tim soon comes to grief though when he tries to rob Graybungles Casino, only for security guard Bill to block his bid to pole-vault to freedom with some rapid bricklaying work at the top of an already sizeable brick wall. Bill then carts a trapped Tim off to prison in a barrow of wet concrete (and celebrates with a lively victory jig after he wheels Tim inside the prison gates), with the remainder of the athletics team soon being locked up as well.
Graeme transforms into Kerry Thwacker, the Australian sporting entrepreneur, and assembles his own Olympic team of imported athletes from various countries, while he also has to deal with multiple phone calls from "Mr Brooke Pommy Taylor" in the prison, who is cross because Graeme doesn't seem to be supporting the British Olympic cause. Kerry switches on his TV to see "how the rest of the world is getting on" as 'Sportsnight' reports that Russian financial advisers have figured out the astronomical cost of hosting the Olympics (as a Russian official fires a pistol shot into his furry Cossack hat in despair) and as no other country can afford to host a modern Olympics, "it's probably all off". The IOC President makes a desperate appeal for assistance from the international community and he is delighted when Kerry Thwacker phones in (with a cheery "Ah, g'day sport ...!") and offers to host the Olympics in London. Tim watches these events unfold on TV from his jail cell and phones Kerry to object ("Graeme, it's you, isn't it?!"), only to be firmly told that "We do not deal with common criminals!" In desperation, Tim heaves himself over the prison wall (swinging his ball and chain around in a hammer-throwing motion to gain lift-off) and quietly breaks into the Olympic Games office and makes sweeping changes to the official programme of events.
Just prior to the opening ceremony of the Olympics, a busy Bill ("I've just spent all morning mucking out the pentathlon team! They're very nervous, I'll tell you!") and a bossy Graeme ("Go feed the weightlifters. Give them half a sheep!") prepare their crack British athletic team for action. Bill and Graeme discover Tim trying to hide under hay in the stables and Tim pleads for them not to hand him over to the police. Graeme realises that it's actually Tim's birthday and so "he must have fun, friends and a birthday pressie. We must give him a day to remember ... then we get the police!" Graeme reveals that all of his gambling and accumulation of imported athletes has been so that Tim would have a "world-beating, top ranking, British Olympic team" and he gushes "Don't try to thank me" as Tim tries to say something. A worried Graeme says "Tim, you've got that guilty look, you're up to something!" and Bill is horrified when he reads Tim's adjusted programme of events. The athletes go berserk in their stalls at the news of the changes to the events and have to be sedated with tranquillizers (with one athlete told "I'm sorry, it's your own fault for bending over!") as Graeme laments "The team I worked so hard for ... ruined!"
However Tim has already assembled a replacement British Olympic team which are "not athletes", but are "a team that truly represents the greatness of Britain" and are "bound to win in the new events". Tim's team consists of a collection of ancient writers, composers and performers who struggle to keep pace even as he steadily marches into the stadium with the Great Britain placard in hand. The Queen declares the Olympic Games "well and truly open" as the torchbearer runs along the track and steps up to the cauldron, but the athletes and officials from the other countries protest vehemently when they become aware of the changed programme and stage a mass walkout. The bored torchbearer uses the torch to light his cigarette and the doves fly back into their capsule again as the athletic teams all march backwards out of the stadium in protest, which leaves just the recently-arrived British team in the arena; although Britain cannot win the Olympics because they have no-one to compete against.
While the athletic rebellion takes place in the stadium, Graeme is on the phone to his bookmaker and places a huge bet on the 'Rest of the World' to win at the juicy odds of 100-1. However Graeme's initial delight ("All our life savings on a stone-cold bonking cert at 100-1! It'll be a walkover! That bunch of softies don't stand a chance, we're rich, we're rich!") is soon replaced by utter despair ("I'm ruined!") when he realises that all of the other countries have pulled out of the Olympics in protest. In desperation, Graeme and Bill form a 'Rest of the World' team to compete against Britain in the revised events and after the delayed lighting of the torch (with the torchbearer calling out "Now?" and receiving a bossy "Yes, now!" from the Queen, only to snap "Thank you!" sarcastically in reply) the 22nd Olympiad is finally underway.
A recap of Olympic highlights is shown from the first fortnight of events, which includes Graeme's efforts in the '15 metre high dive while reciting Hamlet ("not too clean an entry, but splendid diction") in which he finishes 4th (behind Gielgud, Olivier and Guinness of Britain after his dive receives a low mark in a painting done by judge Francis Bacon), the '200kg lift and sonnet' and 'snatch, press and limerick' (where Bill comes to grief with a rhyming 'hernia' during his lift) in the heavyweight poetry section, and the lady novelist's mud wrestle where 'Dame Wilhelmina Oddietta' upends Barbara Cartland with help from the old "autograph book trick" (as Bill distracts her for an autograph and then kicks her legs out from underneath her while she is signing it!)
After two weeks of competition, the gold medal tally is locked at 52-all, with the final event to decide the winner of the Olympics. The Dead Sea Scrolls Relay requires Graeme and Bill to race around the track with the scrolls as a baton, but they are no match for a line-up of 315 creative geniuses, who hand the scroll on to each other and ensure a glorious Olympic victory for Britain. However Tim is unable to bask in his glory as Team Manager for very long on the victory dais, as when the Queen steps forth to present him with a medal, she remarks "He's the one, officer. The Masked Shot-putter!" Tim's trousers drop to his ankles, which reveals his prison uniform, and he scoots off along the track (to the theme music from the 'Benny Hill Show'), as Bill, Graeme and the Royal party jam away on brass instruments in a final serenade!
* Ancient British Olympics Chairman (giving a rousing speech): "British athletes do not need to train! All they need is to feel the British blood coursing through their veins. And they have the knowledge that they're running for their Queen and their country. And that the whole British nation is waiting for them to gird up their loins ... hitch up their hamstrings ... and get out there on that track and ... LOSE!"
British Olympians (chorus): "LOSE!"
Tim (disgusted): "Oh, bloody hell!"
Chairman (shocked): "Language!" (and promptly snuffs it)
* Tim (shocked at discovering Graeme's new venture): "You've been gambling!"
Graeme (innocently): "No."
Tim: "Bet you have."
Graeme: "How much you bet ... ooh what a giveaway!"
* Graeme (to Tim on phone): "G'day sport, what can I do ya for?! ... This is not a funny voice, I'm talkin' Australian. That's right; you are speaking to Kerry Thwacker. ... Yes, Kerry Thwacker, sports-mad international. No, no, Mr Garden would do a much sillier voice than this!" (demonstrates) "Whack the diddle-o blue! Pull up a jumbuck and take the weight off ya billabongs!"
* Kerry Thwacker (checking out his sports stars locked in crates): "This lot's for Wimbledon. That's Nastase in there. (crate rattles violently) Save it Nasty, save it! And John Lloyd in here ... and Chrissie?! Stop that, you'll ruin your service! (throws bucket of water into the crate) ... Any new football teams? (looks at list) Hello, who's got Arsenal? (phone rings) Who's that? Joan Collins! Hello Joanie, you haven't got Arsenal, have ya? Ya have, what, all of them?! Ah great, well listen sweetheart, I'd like 'em back, what's left of 'em! I can let you have Sheffield Wednesday ... and Everton Thursday! What a game girl!"
* Bill (checking the stocks of new imported athletes): "Right, that's six prime Kenyan long-distance runners, bit squashed, will be alright though; a couple of dozen Russian child gymnasts, a few dead on arrival, still plenty left though; East German high jumper we've got over there, six Americans ... (taken aback) shouldn't they all be British?!"
Kerry Thwacker: "Ah, they soon will be. Get all the men married off to Virginia Wade ... and the women ..."
Bill (keenly): "The women ... me, me?!"
Kerry Thwacker (bluntly): "Why not, they're not fussy!"
Bill: "How about the children?"
Kerry Thwacker: "I'll adopt them! (laughs) They're mine, all mine!"
* Bill (to a very tense and bossy Kerry Thwacker): "Calm down, go and do something relaxing ... like invade Poland!"
* Tim's philanthropic efforts to raise money for the British Olympic fund, with his Pro Celebrity Sports Night; including Magnus Pyke knocking out four heavyweight boxers (John Conteh, Henry Cooper, Joe Bugner and Muhammad Ali) at once with his exaggerated hand gestures, and Basil Brush trembling in the grass at the start of the celebrity fox hunt before his puppeteer makes a run for it (shouting "Boom boom!" as he flees from the baying pack of hounds), with Tim raising a whole three pence once all of the various expenses have been deducted - like "twelve bottles of scent for Henry Cooper", "a new nose for John Conteh", "two tons of hay for Princess Anne", "champagne, liniment, hotel expenses and VAT" (while also ruefully noting that "the RSPCA are suing us about the Emu!") Also Tim's round of golf, with Graeme towing him around the course in a special buggy while Bill walks behind carting his clubs, Bill kicking the ball off the tee when Tim misses it, Graeme headbutting Tim's wayward shot from the rough onto the green, and then Bill and Graeme helping Tim to sink a long putt which curls around all over the green before dropping into the hole.
* Tim falling victim to the ace hustler Hurricane Oddie in Graybungles Casino, firstly being fooled by all three coloured cups having a ball underneath them, getting pressured into a losing hand at scrabble - a meagre offering of 'sat' as Graeme and Bill giving him the big hurry-up, with Bill then firing out 'squeezed' on a triple word score. Also Tim being cleaned up 5-0 at table tennis, thanks to five dirty tricks by Bill and not helped by some ill-timed odds quoting from Graeme (who keeps quiet on the last point until he utters "Sorry" just as Tim is about to hit the ball), before being swindled at I-spy, then forced to strip to his undies ("All you care about is hustling your filthy money!", to which Bill replies "And your filthy clothes! Come on, let's have 'em!") and become an athlete himself as Graeme says "Oh dear, I do hope he isn't going to do anything silly." and a cheeky Bill replies "Ooh, I hope he does!"
* Tim turning to crime as the notorious Masked Shot-putter; breaking a butchers shop window to steal sausages, clobbering a Beefeater at the Tower with a well-aimed heave and conducting a relay race with a stick of dynamite to blow the window bars open and ransacking the Crown Jewels, before launching a daring raid on the Queen's limousine as it cruises along on a street parade, swiping her tiara to her startled exclamation of "Who was that masked athlete?!". Also Tim's attempted robbery of Graybungles Casino, with Bill as security guard pursuing him over construction barrier hurdles, overtaking him and breasting the safety tape first, with an enthusiastic celebration as the winner ("I've won, I've won!") Eventually Bill remembers what he is supposed to be doing, trapping a pole-vaulting Tim by building a big brick wall even higher with some incredibly swift bricklaying work and forcing Tim to fall into a barrow of wet concrete.
* The little cameos of the footage of Tim knocking out the Beefeater with a shot-put carrying the caption that it is "shot by amateur cameraman" (with Graeme walking around to the front of the camera and waving), whereas the footage of the "news that the Masked Shot-putter has met his match" carries the caption "shot by very good outside broadcast cameraman" (as the BBC cameraman also comes around into view and gives a wave of acknowledgement too!)
* Graeme's posing as Kerry Thwacker, sports-mad international, complete with kangaroo tie and suitably over-the-top Aussie accent, with him madly cobbling together an athletics team of foreign sports stars while not giving a toss about their welfare – for instance, Bill reporting that the six Kenyan long distance runners are" a bit squashed" and that some of the Russian child gymnasts are "dead on arrival" to Kerry's complete indifference! Also Kerry asking Joan Collins to return the Arsenal soccer team to him ("what's left of them!"); instead offering her "Sheffield Wednesday ... and Everton Thursday!", and telling "Mr Brooke Pommy Taylor" that "we do not deal with common criminals!"
* Many of the scenes from the Olympic Games, including Sir John Betjeman competing in the '200kg lift and sonnet' and bravely managing to get his first five lines out (despite much strain and teetering with the huge weight held above his head) only to fall through the floor after Bill unsportingly tickles him in the armpit with a feather duster, and J.B. Priestly successfully long-jumping over his entire life's works, with a self-satisfied celebratory puff on his pipe when sitting on his backside in the jumping pit afterwards. Also Barbara Cartland and Dame Wilhelmina Oddietta grappling in a muddy wrestling ring, Graeme and Bill bellowing away in the lead of the 100 metre freestyle 'Tristan & Isolde' swim only for a British opera dame to burst shrieking out of the water in front of them (shattering all of the windows and showering chunks of glass into the pool) and Graeme's matador-like appendisectomy performed in a bullfighting ring to a cheering Latin crowd ("A display so impressive the surgeon was awarded the appendix").
Ballard Berkeley, Roland MacLeod, Norman Mitchell, Barry Cryer, Guy Deghy, Cud Child, Tony Gubba, Marie Sutherland
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
After somewhat disappointing earlier episodes about the Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympics, the Goodies saved their sporting best for a very well pieced-together and quite amusing treatment of the Summer Olympic Games. Other issues woven in like fundraising, casino gambling, the British sporting losers mentality, street crime, plus Graeme's brilliant Kerry Thwacker impersonation all add up to a very enjoyable episode.
BLACK PUDDING RATING