The year is 1939 and "the storm clouds of war loom over Europe" despite the attempts of political leaders to "keep spirits high" (such as Adolf Hitler doing a silly dance and Neville Chamberlain declaring "and here is the paper", tearing it to bits and then magically reassembling it again). However on the home front, all eyes are on "the fortunes of a simple Lancashire couple" who are about to have their first child. As the woman's belly gets bigger and bigger, the newspaper headlines speculate on an increasingly higher number of babies for her; but after a team of doctors have performed the delivery tug-of-war style, she eventually produces just the one baby - a fully grown "ten-stone tot" Bill. His arrival in the world then produces headlines such as 'It's a Big' Un' and 'Cor, what a whopper!' along with a prominent photo of him, while a tiny article at the bottom of the page informs that war has been declared.
Two years later, Bill is packed off to the safety of boarding school on a bus, along with many other advanced youngsters (who play musical instruments and chess, paint masterpieces and read Einstein's 'Theory Of Relativity'), while Bill makes himself comfy, lights up his pipe and reads 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' with rather wide-open eyes! At Highbrow Hall (where it is "business as usual during World War 2"), Bill observes a similarly well-advanced Graeme flatten a smaller student with a massive conker and introduces himself ("My name's Bill. I'm two and a quarter."), only for Graeme to smugly sneer "Really? I'm 2.36, hmph! Now stop pestering me!" as he obnoxiously fires a slingshot at another student passing by.
Bill also waves to an adult-sized Tim who is being wheeled around in a pram with a bonnet on his head, and comments to Graeme that the other students "aren't all big like us", except for Tim (though Graeme sneers "He doesn't count, he's such a wimp!") . The Headmaster tells the assembled students that the purpose of his school for "brainy brats" (some "more highly developed than others", like Bill, who gives the pretty matron a wink or two!) is to contribute to Britain's war effort and ultimately help to "lick Hitler". Tim takes this in a literal sense though and slobbers a picture of Hitler on the wall, which causes the Headmaster to remark "Oh dear, I can't help thinking you were sent to us too soon!"
The Headmaster instructs the 8-year-olds to investigate "the feasibility of a nuclear fission bomb", while the 6-year-olds are set to work "improving radar installation" and the 4-year-olds can do "a picture of a snowman"! Of the three remaining oversized 2-year-olds, Tim is given an "assessment test" which involves the placement of blocks into their correct holes, while Bill and Graeme are just about to be given a different test when a bomb drops through the roof of the classroom (just after the Headmaster has crossly demanded to know "Who's whistling?! Somebody's whistling, who is it?!" as the bomb zeroes in). Bill and Graeme are quickly handed the task of defusing the bomb within thirty seconds (a job made even more difficult for Graeme and Bill by Tim constantly distracting them!) before they are given their "initiative test" via radio by none other than Winston Churchill himself (though Bill initially says "Hello Mr Attlee" and then responds to Graeme's hasty "Shh, that's Winnie" with "Hello, Pooh!"). Churchill tells the three "little chaps" that they are to go "up in a aeroplane" and be dropped off "in the middle of Germany" by parachute, after which they are to travel to Stuttgart, go to "a small tobacconist shop, go inside, buy me a nice box of cigars and come home". Despite the Germans being unlikely to suspect or harm three little boys, Bill and Graeme are most reluctant to undertake the task ("Don't be ridiculous!") until the Headmaster declares that they would be doing their duty "for England"; a prospect which elicits a baby-babble 'Land of Hope and Glory' speech from Tim (complete with a pencil stuck up his nose!) and a resigned "Yeah, alright, we'll do it!" from Bill and Graeme in order to shut him up!
Up in the plane over Germany (with a prominent wartime 'Is your journey really necessary?' sign on the wall), Bill and Graeme prepare for their parachute jump, but Tim starts to babble nervously (causing Graeme to firmly say "Look, I don't care if Teddy is scared, you've got to go!") .Bill and Graeme do the final checks ("parachutes, compass, map, clean nappy ... (guilty look from Tim) ... Ah well, it's too late for that anyway! C'mon") and leap out of the plane to a safe landing in a vegie garden, but the third parachute gently drifts to earth with only Tim's teddy attached to it. Tim lands with a very heavy thud just behind Bill and Graeme shortly afterwards and they have to pick up all of Tim's various bits and pieces and pile them into a wheelbarrow for transport (after Bill has trouble locating Tim's head and even tries to pass Graeme a cauliflower as a substitute!) Graeme collects the cigars that Churchill has requested and he and Bill make their way past a German checkpoint which is guarded by the increasingly paranoid Hans and Fritz (who finally relax and laugh when they realise that the Goodies are only harmless "little kinder") and return home to Highbrow Hall.
With the help of his 'Little Nurse kit', Graeme starts to put Tim back together (despite Bill doing silly ventriloquist acts with Tim's body parts, to which an annoyed Graeme remarks "Bill, please! Have a little respect for the dismembered!") as he declares "You see before you a toddler barely alive and yet, gentlemen, we have the technology to make him better, faster stronger! (paraphrasing the 'Six Million Dollar Man' TV series). Graeme has "the ability to create the first clockwork baby in the world" and with the help of a rousing rendition of 'Dem Bones', he puts Tim's lower half back together before he conducts a "very delicate operation" on Tim's stomach ("Cut along dotted line and fold back. Remove Flap B from Slot C and rummage around inside. Oh dear, just as I thought. Totally gutless!") according to the instruction sheet.
Graeme also cannibalises pieces from various toys ("Meccano Set 105 please, tick-tock, hoppy frog, chuff-chuff and Hoppity") which he cruelly dismembers, much to Bill's dismay when his "special friend" Hoppity is split in half (as Graeme tells Bill "Do be your age!" and for him to bawl "I'm only two!" in reply), and he callously knocks the head off Tim's Teddy ("I've always wanted to do that!") to extract its voicebox, which can only say "Mama" ("Perfect!") Graeme orders Bill to "commence preliminary power buildup" (as Bill winds up a large key in Tim's back) and then decides that Tim needs an "extra energy boost" ("Plug his finger into the light socket"), which produces a big bang and reduces Highbrow Hall's science lab to rubble. A super-strong Tim sits up and knocks Graeme and Bill off their feet as he stretches out, then runs from the building in slow exaggerated fashion until he runs out of oomph and Bill has to wind the key up again.
With his new-found super-strength, Tim pushes Bill and Graeme in a pram all of the way to the grounds of Chequers, where Winston Churchill is broadcasting another inspiring speech. Unfortunately the speech falls on deaf ears (as his front-line soldiers blow raspberries and smash the radio to bits with their guns) because the soldiers want Churchill to visit them in person (as the radio broadcast urges him to "Come outside and show them what you're made of"). The three young Goodies soon discover (after Tim batters the front door down when knocking on it) that Churchill is the spitting image of Adolf Hitler ("How very embarrassing!"), as Churchill declares that he thought he looked "rather dashing" with his distinctive moustache ("Shave? Why should I? Ask Hitler to shave! It took me months to grow this!") and initially denies that he looks like Hitler anyway (as after all, "he's German" and he "does that funny walk") Churchill declares that even if he didn't resemble Hitler, he would still be unwilling to appear in public or visit the troops at the front line anyway ("Not without a white flag!"); however he agrees that someone must go to see the troops to lift their morale and that is why he has really sent for the three young Goodies (though he appreciates the cigars that they have fetched from Germany as well!)
Tim enters the room clad in an all-purpose romper suit (which Churchill rather likes the look of) and Bill places an upturned potty on Tim's head (with a chuckle of "He's got Jerry on the brain!"), gives him a cigar to chomp on and turns his two-fingered V-for-Victory signal around the right way! Tim is promptly put into action as Churchill's stand-in (with Churchill's interminable speeches recorded onto a tape in Tim's back instead of his usual cry of "Mama!") and immediately lifts the spirits of his troops with rousing visits to the front line amid enemy gunfire ("Don't worry Tommy, that's no doodlebug! It's just Winnie dropping in to say hello.") Despite the odd mishap along the way (such as knocking a cup of tea all over the dedicated NAAFI girls), Tim has an important council of war with allies Roosevelt, de Gaulle and Stalin, which lead to British victories all the way across Europe. ("Maybe the Krauts were crowing until now, but now we're biffing the Bosch and hammering the Hun!")
Despite the hope that "It'll be all over by Christmas", the score is locked at 235-all at Christmas time, so a soccer ball bounces out of the trenches for the deciding showdown between Britain and Germany. Unfortunately during the 90 minute match, both teams of war-wounded players are unable to even make contact with the ball, let alone score a goal, so extra time is required. The entire English team is replaced by Tim as Churchill, but although he controls the ball effortlessly, he "doesn't know his own strength" and boots it way over the top of the goal. The Germans then substitute their whole team for a tank, which earns a yellow card after it flattens Churchill in a bid to shoot at goal.
The match is still deadlocked after extra time, so the war must be decided by a penalty shootout. Churchill brilliantly saves all five shots on goal from the German tank, then gently dribbles a kick which slowly rolls underneath the tank before it stops right on the line. The crowd hold their breath as the referee measures how much of the ball is on each side of the line, then erupt in celebration as the goal is given and the "country rejoices as Britain wins the war". And so, Winston Churchill receives his knighthood and "an immortal place in the history books", while the three little boys who did all of the hard work are merely rewarded with lollipops, much to their dissatisfaction. "So long suckers" indeed!
* Headmaster of Highbrow Hall: "Last term the Chaplain was extremely upset when one of you 6-year-olds proved that God doesn't exist. As from today I'm going to suspend all gobstoppers until the culprit either owns up or gives the Chaplain three jolly good reasons for a belief in the Almighty."
* Winston Churchill (drearily): "Never ...... in the field of human conflict ......"
Graeme (bored): "Oh dear, the war's gonna be over by the time you finish that!"
War Correspondent: "(Churchill is) never without that famous cigar (as a bottle of milk is hastily removed from Tim's mouth) … as he prepares to rouse our kids in khaki with more of those stirring words that strike dread into the heart of every Hun."
Tim (as Churchill): "Mama!"
* The simple Lancashire couple expecting a baby, with the newspaper headlines constantly revising their estimates upwards (twins, triplets, etc - eventually to 'Blimey It's A Football Team!') as the mother gets increasingly larger each day. This leads to the ambulance crew whacking her stomach on the top of the door frame as they try to stretcher her into hospital, the chain-smoking father nervously pacing the floor with the clock whizzing round and round until he finally belts the clock in frustration and a tug-of-war team of doctors flying out the door after she has finally given birth to a full-sized Bill; who is already complete with bushy beard and causes his father to faint in shock after uttering "Hello Daddy!", then bawls loudly at this rejection.
*Baby Bill pounding on the table while noisily demanding "I want milk!" (with his parents making up an enormous bottle of milk for him), then scoffing it down rapidly, being perched upon his battling father's shoulder and then billowing the curtains out the window with a gigantic burp. Also Bill blowing out the candles on his second birthday cake with sufficient force to send the cake splattering onto the head of his hapless father.
* Bill and Graeme having to defuse a bomb within 30 seconds after it has crashed through the roof of the school as part of their 2-year-olds initiative test (while Tim is trying to fit a round peg in a different shaped hole with considerable force), with Tim annoying them by throwing a block at them, then scaring hell out of Graeme and Bill just as Graeme is about to delicately cut a bomb wire by jumping up behind them shouting "BOO!". The lads somehow manage to defuse the bomb and are being congratulated by the Headmaster when the nearby block puzzle explodes with a huge bang instead.
* Graeme asking Bill to pick up all of the pieces following Tim's plane jump without a parachute, then placing them in a wheelbarrow, only to discover that Tim's head is missing, with Bill handing him a cauliflower, then a cabbage instead (which a disgusted Graeme throws away in turn, then thumps Bill for being silly) before finally giving him Tim's bonnet-clad, head which Graeme also throws away until Bill thumps him in annoyance afterwards. Also Tim's dismembered head loudly screaming away, not from the pain factor, but from missing his Teddy (which made a very safe parachute landing) until Teddy is stuffed into the wheelbarrow too.
* The Pathe News report (as the emblem of a chook in a gas mask gets detonated with a huge flutter of feathers!) with the morale of the British troops rising as Winston Churchill (the romper-suited Tim complete with a potty on his head) visits them on the front line. Tim dodges enemy fire and then marches back and forth on a platform giving two-finger salutes (until Graeme hastily turns his fingers around to form the 'V-for-Victory' sign instead), jumping into the trenches, tipping tea over NAAFI ladies and delivering inspiring speeches, like "Mama!" after Graeme has forgotten to put the Churchill cassette in his back!
Geoffrey Palmer, Andrew Ray, Sharon Miller, Ernie Goodyear
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
The last episode of the Goodies' ten year stint at the BBC before moving to LWT, but the large chunks of narrated 'war correspondent' dialogue along with the not overly hilarious 'grown up babies' concept makes the episode rather slow-paced at times. A fair finale, but not a great one compared to their usual incredibly high standards.
BLACK PUDDING RATING