'Brooke-Taylor's Beast Boutique' features a charming window display of snakes and rabbits (fortunately not in the same window though!) and several dozen bottles of milk have been delivered to the doorstep to feed the array of animals inside. Tim emerges (clad in a dressing gown) to collect some milk and watches an old lady feed the pigeons in the nearby park, but he is horrified when she pulls a gun from her purse and pots a pigeon from close range. Tim marches over and tackles her; only to discover that it is just Bill in disguise, who is desperate for a feed ("I was hungry, c'mon please?! … just one measly little leg or a wing? Can I nibble the beak?!").
Tim drags Bill inside his shop and pleads for the phone to ring with a job offer for his animals, who are all supposedly "talented artistes, great stars in the making" ("Today's warthog could be tomorrow's Oliver Reed!"), while a starving Bill upsets Tim and his animals as he raves that "dead pig" is his favourite fare ("Ooh a sizzling pan of crispy, smoky, flavoured dead pig!"), closely followed by "dead baa lamb" for that matter! As Tim begs for the phone to ring, there is a knock on the door (to which a grateful Tim cries "Near enough!") and Graeme enters as 'Captain Grayboots - Fearless Lion Tamer'. Graeme requires some help from Tim's animal agency with his new circus act, which just "lacks that certain something" - lions! Tim is right out of lions and other big ferocious cats, so he tries to stir up a bowl of shubunkins for Graeme without much success. Tim is also not keen on his animals going to the circus because "they'd be badly treated and frightened by clowns", but Graeme sneers "You don't half mollycoddle them!" and replies to Tim's placard of 'Kindness costs nothing' with one of his own that reads 'Cruelty is more fun'.
Tim attempts to prove that kindness is the best method to train animals with (after Graeme has also sneered "You couldn't get a cow to eat grass!") in his shop and then out on the street, but when he returns inside, all of his animals are missing. Tim initially worries that Bill has eaten them all, but he instead finds that Graeme and Bill are "revolutionising housework" and have put his animals to work to perform various energy-saving domestic duties (after some rather cruel training). Tim is shocked to find that his animals have also been "requisitioned by the government" for a demonstration by the Department of Energy of the world's first animal-driven power station (as Graeme secures the caged animals in a wheelbarrow with the octopus' tentacles as luggage straps). Graeme figures that animals have "had it cushy for far too long" and should be made to do "a hard day's work for a fair day's bowl of whale meat and slops" as he departs for the meeting (on a set of rollerskates being towed along by a convoy of bushbabies). However an annoyed Tim sees this as "blatant exploitation of animal labour" and is determined to stand up for the rights of all animals.
The 'Not The News At Ten' bulletin reports on wild celebrations at the Battersea Dogs Station now that the Animal Discrimination Act has been passed by Parliament, which gives animals equal status with people, and makes it "illegal to discriminate against animals in any way". At the conclusion of the news bulletin, a sarcastic Bill takes the issue of animal equality to heart, as he sits on the cat which is curled up on the sofa ("That's right, the cat sits on me, I sit on the cat!"), tells the dog to fetch his supper (even putting a little chef's hat on its head) and shapes up to spray on Tim's throne ("Your ginger tom always does!") However Bill soon settles down with Graeme and Tim to watch 'Life on Presenters'; a new television wildlife spectacular for animals mainly set in the Galapagos Islands (and hosted by Graeme as an appropriately weird David Rabbitborough!) which features the fascinating lifestyles of various wildlife presenters, such as Jacques Cousteau, Patrick Moore and the notoriously destructive David Bellamy ("Only a few minutes ago this slope was virgin rainforest … and now the whole hillside has been laid waste, not a tree, not a plant left!")
Graeme sits back, watches all of this (complete with Patagonian Nose Bulb up his snozzle!) and observes that "they make better animals than animals, that lot!". Graeme also wonders aloud whether presenters (and people in general) should be used as a food source like other animals ("Do you fancy Cousteau and chips ... or Kentucky Fried Bellamy?!") This view is initially supported by Tim (until Bill threatens to kill and eat him!), but Tim then declares that the next step in animal equality will be "compulsory worldwide vegetarianism". Carnivore Bill is dismayed by this and vows to "stand up for my carrots" and "support my sprouts" in a show of "Vegetable Power!" Graeme worries that Bill is "going to do something we'll regret", as he and Tim search in vain for Bill (despite hearing his voice in the office nearby) and his whereabouts are soon revealed when he bobs up on the TV screen as a guest of the 'Rabid Frost Show'.
Rabid Frost (a black Labrador dog which utters Frost's traditional greeting of "Hello, good evening and welcome") hosts Bill as a representative of the 'Freedom of Vegetables League' and a white rabbit as the leader of the 'Animal Revolutionary Party'. After Bill has already upset animal members of the studio audience (by thanking Rabid for the opportunity of "eating your guest ... er, meeting your guest, sorry, sorry!"), he explains that he sees the whole country as "one great big melting pot". Bill then produces a large pot, with various vegies in high places (including a potato as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a "security leek"!) and smirks to the rabbit that "Leader, I'm sure we can find some room for you!" Graeme and Tim watch this unfold on the TV set in the office and are horrified when Bill puts the rabbit in the cooking pot ("Bill, don't eat the guest!") and then heartily scoffs rabbit off the bone afterwards, which sets off an angry attack from the dogs and other animals present.
Tim and Graeme rush to the TV station (worried that the animals will "tear (Bill) apart") and help Bill to barricade the irate animals behind a studio door, but the Goodies and the wildlife presenters are all forced to flee into the costume department as the door is quickly clawed apart by the furious animals. Their only avenue of escape is to dress up as rabbits (and assume slow, silly voices) and although Tim declares "I'm frightened. Something awful is going to happen.", Graeme reassures him that "they will never harm their own kind" Bill is more pessimistic ("They will try to capture us and when they do, they will kill us."), so the rabbits "must get away from this terrible place" and they escape through a trapdoor and a series of burrows. Patrick Moore is sent to the front (as he "can see in the dark"), while Bellamy grapples with a large tree root (which almost causes a cave-in) and continually lags behind at the rear while he rips up a series of plants along the way. The rabbits hop along on the night horizon and try to keep quiet so that the animals won't hear them (although this is difficult with Patrick Moore throwing a hissy fit when a hawk swipes his telescope and Bellamy noisily destroying everything!) as they cross a busy road before curling up to sleep together.
When the rabbits wake, they all go in search of "Bell-amy", who has found a beautiful flower to destroy ("Ooh, terrific blossom … and look at those little …!"), as a line of camera lenses jut out of a grassy bank and train their sights on him and the other presenters. The Goodies calls "Look out, it's a trap. Stop! Don't trust those cameras!", but they are too late and the cameras blast all the rabbits with artillery fire (to the haunting sounds of 'Bright Eyes' as backing music). From the crumpled skins on the ground, numerous white baby rabbits emerge and a cartoon rabbit which jumps against a painted sunrise is also popped with a gunshot. This is followed by an announcement from a white Labrador that "That is the the last in that series. Next week, a brand new series - The Doggies" This features three small dogs sitting on the trandem - a poodle in a Union Jack waistcoat at the front (for Tim), a terrier with glasses in the middle (for Graeme) and a rather scruffy, shaggy pooch at the back (for Bill)
* Captain Grayboots (about his lion-taming act): "It's a great act. I've got all the stuff ... whips, chairs, the lot! But it still lacks that certain something."
Tim: "Oh, what?"
Captain Grayboots: "Lions!"
* Tim (after Bill and Graeme have taken his animals away): "Oh, how could they?! My poor dumb furry little friend. And the one with glasses!"
* Tim (the animal rights protester addressing a flock of sheep): "Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes, brothers. All they want is sheep labour!"
* Reginald Bowes and Cat: "But the most dramatic protest came at Epsom where a horse threw itself under the Queen's corgi ..."
* Graeme (regarding the wildlife presenters): "I wonder if you could breed them? What do you suppose you'd get if you crossed a Bellamy with an Attenborough?"
Tim (laughs): "A Bellamburger!"
* Presenters (in suitably soft, silly voices):
"Bell-amy ... Bell-amy!"
* Tim trying to prove to Graeme that he can train animals with kindness, with "Terence the tap-dancing tyke" sitting motionless (with a pair of little tapshoes on) while Tim groovily shows him what he should be doing, Buster the bike-riding budgie coming an instant cropper on the floor as soon as Tim lets go of the bike and his tumbling Patagonian Nose Bulb merely crawling up Graeme's nostril before running away wrapped up in a tissue after Graeme gets rid of it. Also the following sequence out on the street with Terence again sitting still while Tim is grinding away on an organ, with Tim then dancing while the dog operates the organ handle and smirks at him, with Tim finally coming very close to belting Terence in frustration afterwards!
* Graeme and Bill putting Tim's mollycoddled animals to good use in energy production for domestic chores, including "Dynamouse" running on a treadmill generator to power a light bulb, a three-toed sloth making a perfect peg bag (as Tim pleads "Speak to me, Marlon!") with crabs also used as pegs, an octopus churning away in the sink as a dishwasher, and a python as a vacuum hose. Also Tim crossly demanding to know "Who stuck this handle on Henrietta Hedgehog?!" (with a conveniently-placed stick making her a more-than-handy loo brush!) and Fifi the poodle as a floor mop ("No, she's my little moppet!"), as well as another dog which walks along a treadmill into the oven, turning on the buttons along the way to produce an "instant hot dog"!
* Reginald Bowes and Cat's report for 'Not The News At Ten' on animal equality; with him removing his Peruvian Gerbil-like hairpiece (which has a drink of milk and attracts several companions during the report!) and presenting a very nifty visual trick where icons of a barrel, flames, an excavating wheel and a mushroom cloud (representing Britain's former energy sources of oil, gas, coal and nuclear power respectively) are put together to form a sheep representing Britain's new total reliance on animal power. Also the footage of a parrot operating a phone switchboard and a column of protesting, placard-holding worker ants being escorted by police (as they "delivered a petition with over two billion signatures" on it), Tim's baaa-d pun-ridden speech to a rally of sheep, and the display of the various animal newsreaders (Anna Fawn, Gordon Honeycomb and Sandy Gull) at the finish, with Reginald also sporting a Patagonian nose bulb for good measure.
* Bill's rant about giving animals equality, with him sitting on the cat because it sits on him, then throwing it off the sofa in disgust afterwards, putting a chef's hat on the motionless mutt Terence and telling it to prepare his supper because he fed it earlier, then howling like a dog because he's hungry. Also Bill threatening to report Graeme to the "RSPC Bill" (after Graeme's suggestion that "You want your whiskers pulling out!") and finally declaring that he is "on heat" and pretending to cock his leg on Tim's throne, with Tim yelling "That's it, I'm going to have you doctored!" and threatening Bill with a huge set of scissors, to which Bill does plenty of moggy-like yowling and swiping!
* Graeme as a suitably silly-voiced David Rabbitborough compering a documentary on his fellow wildlife presenters; starting with the discovery of the "most primitive of primates" in the Serengeti (the rocky remains of Armand and Michaela Denis) and Japanese fishermen hauling up divers Hans and Lottie Hass in their nets (before carting them away on hunting poles) before heading to the Galapagos Archipelago, which is "unpopulated, apart from the presenters". This section features remarkable footage of a pack of Marine Cousteaus sunning themselves on a rocky ledge before diving back in the water, a difficult walk through the dense jungle of lighting cables revealing the Millers rummaging through bins with their "extraordinary, pencil-like fingers", a nocturnal owl-like Patrick Moore peering through his telescope, and finally, the incredibly destructive Bellamy, who can lay towering rainforest to broken waste in just a few short minutes. Also the end sequence where David Rabbitborough sits quietly among a family group of Bellamys and comments that "I'm quite safe here as long as I don't wear a buttonhole or dress up like a daffodil!" and his revealing of the future prototype of a wildlife presenter with the ultimate in "extraordinarily expressive hands, uncontrollable arms and silly voices"
* Tim finding it "perfectly reasonable" that people should be eaten just like animals are, and even allowing a ravenous Bill to clamp a bread roll on his right hand as "a man of principle" before having second thoughts, saying "On the other hand ...", with Bill remarking "Suit yourself!" and putting the roll on Tim's left hand instead! Also Tim then declaring "Actually, I don't think we should eat any living thing.", with Bill responding as quick as a flash by pulling a gun and saying "Okay, I'll kill!", in turn forcing a hasty "No, no, no, no ...!" from Tim!
* The Rabid Frost program, hosted by a black Labrador dog, on which Bill, representing the Freedom of Vegetables League, firstly looks forward to "eating ... er, meeting" his fellow guest; a rabbit representing the Animal Revolutionary Party. Bill then does the former by pretending that Britain is a melting pot (of rabbit stew!) much to the anger of the other animals present. Also the following scenes with the Goodies and the other presenters donning rabbit costumes and escaping before "something awful" happens, with Bellamy causing continual problems by disappearing to destroy various plants along the way, Patrick Moore going ballistic when a hawk swipes his telescope, Tim being flattened by a car on a busy expressway and Jonathan Miller hovering over him with his dissecting gear in hand (before being told by Graeme that there's "No time for that, Miller!") and the bevy of camera lenses blasting the bunnies as they stop to admire a beautiful flower, before baby rabbits emerge from the wrinkled skins afterwards, with the whole sequence backed by the moving song of 'Bright Eyes'.
Mel Smith, Patrick Moore, Ronnie Storm, Ernie Goodyear
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
The ABC network always used this episode as the final one in each run of repeats - in reverse order with 'War Babies', probably because of the final scene with 'The Doggies'. With me not having an episode guide or knowing about the LWT series at the time, the killing sequence to the haunting sounds of 'Bright Eyes' always seemed like such a cruel and sad ending to a great comedy show. Even though I now know that the Goodies made further episodes afterwards, I still find this ending to be the saddest of any Goodies episode and it's one that I don't watch all that often. Overall though, the episode contains a very amusing look at animal rights and exploitation, with the section on wildlife presenters being a cleverly funny send-up as well.
BLACK PUDDING RATING