Episode Review: The Goodies

Series 1 Episode 1 – Tower Of London

Summary: The Goodies are hired to investigate the disappearance of the Tower of London’s beef.

Airdate: 8th November 1970

The three Goodies arrive at their brand new office. Tim offers a quick thank you to his aunt, looking at her haughty looking picture hanging on the wall, which explains how they got the money to open their new business. Graeme shows Bill and Tim around the TARDIS-like office, revealing that the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and every other room are somehow contained behind the same two doors, which open each time to reveal a different room.

Graeme shows Bill and Tim his one of a kind ‘Rent-A-View’ window, which changes to show different city landscapes, complete with music related to the different countries shown. Bill enquires about the obvious lack of a toilet, only to be shown up by Graeme, who gets him to open a door he had already opened previously, revealing a lavatory.

After enquiring about Bill’s role in making their business – putting advertisements in newspapers – Tim and Graeme are unimpressed to learn that he has put adverts in everything from newspapers to men’s magazines. They are even more unimpressed when they learn their slogan is ‘Anything, Anytime’, which is understandably vague.

Despite Graeme’s earlier cockiness, it turns out that he has forgotten one very important thing: a telephone. But, luckily, Bill has remembered to include the phone number of the old woman who lives downstairs on their advert, and, almost immediately, she comes upstairs and hands them a message, addressed to the ‘Giddies’. The message instructs them to report to the Tower Of London.

The Goodies set off on their first journey on their trandem (an early model which was a regular tandem with another seat stuck on the back of it). However, they prove to be very bad at riding it, falling off the moment they get onto it and swerving precariously from side to side as they cycle through London. On their arrival at the Tower, Bill inflates a not very threatening guard dog, puts a tag reading ‘It Bites’ around its neck and leaves it beside their bike.

Entering the deserted tower, the Goodies are confronted with an eye looking through a keyhole and a voice asking them if they are alone. The Sergeant-at-Arms invites them into the Tower kitchen, which happens to be a converted torture chamber, and informs them that someone is stealing the Beefeaters’ beef. The problem being that the Beefeaters are so fussy, refusing to eat anything else, that they are quite literally wasting away. Two very small and grumpy Beefeaters enter, only to walk out again when they learn that there is still no beef. After that, the Sergeant-at-Arms tells them that the ravens have all gone, because they have eaten them.

Returning to the office, the Goodies try to work out the identity of the beef thief. Tim and Bill suggest that the thief is either a bull (because bulls don’t like to be eaten) or poultry farmers (who could gain from forcing the Beefeaters to switch from eating beef to chicken). Graeme considers their suggestions to be rubbish, and decides to feed his computer a beef sandwich in the hope it will give him a ‘logically computed answer’. Tim is satisfied to learn that the computer comes up with the same suggestions as him and Bill: bulls or poultry farmers.

Bill starts sucking on the sherbet his granny sent him, and begins having hallucinations. Graeme hooks him up to his computer so he and Tim can see his visions too. They see a puzzle on the screen, which, when solved, reveals a plot to steal the crown jewels by starving the Beefeaters so they can get easier access to the Tower.

After receiving an urgent message from the tower (“Come quick, things are worse. Signed, Whatshisname”), the Goodies get into their quick change machine. They step out of it dressed as Beefeaters, and head back up to the Tower of London, their long, pointed staffs making their wonky ride even harder. Once they arrive, they learn that the Beefeaters have ‘wasted away from a lack of beef’, and are shown two empty uniforms crumpled up on the floor. The Sergeant-at-Arms informs them that he is working undercover and no one should know that he is a Beefeater – even though he immediately puts his Beefeater hat on his head.

Returning from the mock advert break, Graeme reveals his very polite and pathetic ani-burglar alarm. (Part of the recorded message says: “So be a sport. Why don’t you just pack it in and go home, hey? You know it makes sense.”) If the recorded message fails, a series of canons, sirens, cut out policemen and skeletons pop up, a rather pathetic system which somehow impresses the Sergeant-at-Arms. As they head back to the kitchen, a man dressed in black and white stripes and carrying a swag bag passes them. The Goodies capture him, only to learn that he is a burglar ‘by Royal Appointment’. The Sergeant-at-Arms begins to interrogate him with the garlic crusher thumb screws, and the Goodies set off in search of his accomplice.

Almost immediately, they spot a man, sat on a horse swinging a polo mallet, on the lawn who looks suspiciously like ‘young him’. Bill and Graeme grab a long staff and a mace, and Tim asks them if they are going to check if he really is ‘you-know-you’ before they hit him. When they give ambiguous answers, a panicking Tim follows after them.

A manic chase ensues, until the rider gallops through the gates at Buckingham Palace. Tim realises that ‘it REALLY was him!’ and Bill mutters an ‘oh, flipping heck’ before they both start crying. Getting confronted by the Palace Guards, the Goodies ask for directions back to the Tower, giving them a weird curtsy before running off.

Back at the office, the Goodies seem to be packing it in before they have barely even started, as Tim packing to leave and visit relatives in Canada. Bill laments that they ‘really blew it’, which annoys Tim. Black Rod arrives (and refuses to leave without a tip) and gives them a message from one Elizabeth R. The message tells them that the jewels in the tower were actually fakes, as the real ones had been pawned during a period of financial trouble, but now they were rich enough again, they had been attempting to put the real crown jewels back when they had been foiled by the Goodies. They are asked to keep the rather embarrassing matter as an official secret, but their actions were considered to be good and proper, so they are still in business and may be rewarded at the next birthday honours list.

 

Mock adverts

  • Goodies Tea Set: Graeme demonstrates a strange variety of items, including a half-cup for when you only want half a cup of tea, and a pair of hand shaped grabbers for when you always end up picking up sugar cubes with your hands.
  • Fairy Puff Man: in an advert first performed on I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again, a woman is visited by the Fairy Puff Man (Tim), who advises her to remove everything she is wearing, as it is all ‘grey, grey, grey, grey, grey’.

 

Quotes

Tim: We are The Goodies.

Bill and Graeme: Yes, we know that.

Tim: And we are, er … going to … do good … to people.

Bill: How wet!

Bill’s advert: The Goodies. Phone 0831234. Anything, Anytime.

Sergeant-at-Arms: You see, they’re not half the men they were. And there’s worse!

Tim: Worse?!

Sergeant-at-Arms: The ravens have gone.

Tim: That’s a bad omen.

Graeme: Why have they gone?

Sergeant-at-Arms: We ate them!

 

Rating

7/10 – A good first episode with an engaging plot, but lacking the character depth that later episodes would give.

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