A BBC News bulletin announces that the British fishing industry is being given "the cold shoulder by the Eskimos", who have extended their cod fishing boundary south by another 2000 miles to London's latitude. Tim is fishing in the Serpentine and enjoys a perfect day for it (listening to 'Rule Britannia' on his radio while sitting idly on the bank) but he fails to notice the large white line drawn on the ground nearby. After he delivers the shipping forecast, the BBC Radio broadcaster somehow warns Tim of trouble "behind you!" and a boat with a large gun and harpoon on the deck appears in the Serpentine. A strange chap in a fur coat angrily shouts a load of gibberish into a megaphone (to which Tim replies by giving him the time and chortling "Maybe, but you should have seen Chelsea last week, hoo hoo hoo!") and gives an order to his henchman to fire the gun (which blows a large fish out of the water and into a jar beside a surprised Tim). Another bloke on the boat attempts to cut Tim's line with a knife, but only falls in the drink instead (as Tim pulls his line in at the last second) and several others do likewise when the boat starts to spin out of control.
Meanwhile back at Dr G Garden's fish farm, Graeme tries to herd his fish along (burbling "C'mon me little beauties, get along there … they must be the finest herd of dairy cod you ever did see!" while 'The Archers' theme plays in the background. Bill protests about the cruel way which Graeme keeps his fish (only to be told in a forthright manner that "If you can have battery hens then you can have battery fish!") and also about the difficulties in cracking the fish eggs ("they're not like the old chooky eggs, these things, y'know!"); not to mention that it's "ruddy murder trying to stamp the little lions on them!" A frisky trout that has been locked up in a tank splatters itself into the ceiling upon release and falls flat on the floor afterwards (with Graeme peeling it off the deck and telling Bill to "Put him in with the kippers; nobody will notice!") and Graeme's "vicious little devil" of a pike overcomes its shyness by latching onto his arm when he unwisely tries to tickle it. Bill unsuccessfully attempts to amputate Graeme's arm with an axe to remove the savage pike, but eventually manages to pull the pike off Graeme's arm and heaves it into another fish tank with a roar of "Get in, both of you, and I hope you eat each other!" (with a huge burp resonating from the tank to confirm exactly that!)
Tim is supposed to catch a stickleback for Graeme ("they're very tasty and they've got built-in toothpicks!") but instead returns with a frog (that hops onto the floor while still in its jar and is promptly and callously squashed by Graeme!) and the news of the strange people he saw out on the lake. Tim's description of these people as "Red Indians, maybe Chinese" with "slanty eyes (and) little floppy noses" makes Bill think it's Liza Minnelli (especially when the next clue is "fur coats"); however Graeme's expert on-the-spot artistic sketch reveals that it's the Eskimos, who have come to steal the British cod.
The Goodies fight a cod war against the Eskimos (with Graeme clouting the chief Eskimo over the head with a well-aimed swipe of his cod) but they get carried away and fling all of Graeme's cod at the retreating Greenlanders, who gratefully scoop up all of the cod as they depart. This leaves Britain codless and Graeme in a very gloomy mood as Bill attempts to inflate a haddock with a bike pump while Tim shows his culinary skill by frying up "battered goldfish" as a cod substitute, only for Bill to get upset when he realises that Tim has sacrificed his pet fish Gilbert (B: "I won him at the fair. It took me 250 ping-pong balls!" T: "That's a lot of balls." B: "No, it's true!") in a bid to make Graeme happy. This leads to an irate Bill trying to cook up some "new Graemefingers, in the family fried pack" instead, as he shoves Graeme's hand into the batter mix and then into the frying pan ("Delicious, yum yum yum, you cannibal you!"), only for an unimpressed Graeme to wipe the batter off his hands into Bill's hair!
However Bill's next suggestion of "going to Eskimoland (to) pinch one of their cod" so that Graeme can start his fish breeding program all over again ("Just one miserable cod, of course I'd prefer a happy cod, now I don't care, it can have a wooden leg as far as I'm concerned …!") is quickly acted upon, and the Goodies form an MCC touring party to the North Pole as a ruse for their intended cod capture. Once in Eskimoland, the Goodies barter cricket gear with a local to obtain a portable icehole and soon catch a precious cod (by Graeme spearing it with a cricket stump!) The Goodies get caught out at a Customs check upon departure when an x-ray clearly shows the cod skeleton inside the cricket equipment bag, but they stage an impromptu game of cricket using their cod as a cricket bat and sneak through Customs (while the locals are captivated with their brand new sport) to return to a hero's welcome in Britain with their captured cod.
In nine short months, the cod grows to a staggering size ("22 feet 9 3/4 centimetres!", according to a chuffed Graeme) and Tim is eager to sort out the distribution of the cod fillets to potential customers ("nice bit of rump for Wales, this lot's for Bradford – put in their curries ...") However Graeme has spoiled his cod rotten with treats, tricks and baby talk and can't stand the thought of it being sacrificed ("You're not going to kill our poor little coddy woddy, are you?"); especially when Bill enters with his apron on (singing merrily about it being "slaughtering day down at the old fish farm") with gun in hand ready to humanely "kill the cod". There are huge drums of cooking oil and batter out on the pier just waiting for the "200 million fishfingers swimming around" in the tank, but Graeme is most upset and takes Brian the cod for "walkies", to the bemusement of a lady walking her dog along the beach and the derision of the ever-present Eskimos. Upon return, Graeme beds his cod down with pillows and hot water bottles, with Tim and Bill worried that he will "turn it into a sissy", to which Graeme strongly objects (claiming that his cod is "just a bit sensitive, that's all!")
In addition, the Goodies still need to scare away the Eskimos; with less-than-successful ideas initially canvassed that involve Bill's gratuitous use of a Nicholas Parsons mask and him reading aloud some of the "101 useful phrases for scaring off unwanted Greenlanders" from an Eskimo phrase book that Tim conveniently locates nearby. Upon Graeme's request, Tim and Bill partake in various experiments to figure out "how to annoy fish" in a bid to transform Graeme's "camp cod into a fearless killer of the deep", but after little success (though a lot of fun!), Bill and Tim decide to try to scare the Eskimos away themselves ("We don't need him and his mincing great poofy cod!") Bill tries to warn the Eskimos off as Tim poses firstly as a shark, then a sea monster (much to the interest of a family watching from their living room with binoculars – "Ooh look Dad!"), only to be found out each time as Tim gets into difficulty. Bill eventually gets splashed with food and drink by the scornful Eskimos, who then chase him into the lake and splash both he and Tim with water for their trouble.
Meanwhile Graeme also eventually gives up trying to annoy his fish, and decides to "relax with a nice spot of soothing music" (?!) from Max Bygraves on his gramophone, only to joyously discover that old Maxie is the secret trigger for making his fish thrash around furiously in their tanks. Graeme throws a huge set of false teeth into the cod's tank as the piece-de-resistance (then spectacularly falls in himself and thrashes around worriedly) and as Max endlessly croons 'Tulips from Amsterdam' from a gramophone on the pier, Graeme opens the gate and sends his killer cod out after the Eskimos. To Graeme's delight, the frightened Eskimos are soon sent packing, but a further casual glance reveals that Bill and Tim are in deep trouble, being circled by the enraged cod in the water (to the appropriate 'Jaws' theme music in the background). Graeme tries to trap the cod in a huge net, but is bowled over and the net snapped in two, while Tim and Bill manage to scramble onto a Lenny Lion pedal boat and go like the clappers across the lake with the cod in hot pursuit.
Bill yells for Graeme to "turn off the music", but Graeme trips on the pier in his haste and the cod also lands on the pier with a hefty thud and devours Graeme's gramophone just as he tries to remove the record from it. Tim tries to lure the cod with a decoy (and then whack it with a hammer as Bill stands by holding a net) but the cod tries to chomp Tim with its huge teeth before it dives again. Bill and Graeme try to catch the cranky cod on an enormous fishing line, but they are pulled in and dragged right across the lake before they finally manage to reel in the giant set of false teeth (which chomp Bill, then chatter away menacingly nearby). Finally, as an endless Max Bygraves record churns away deep inside it, the cod surfaces and crashes heavily into the pier; which tips over the drums of batter and oil, and sends a burning light tumbling into the water as well. There is an almighty explosion, followed by a great shower of fishfingers which rain down on the Goodies, and although Bill holds his hat over his heart in memory of Brian the cod, the Goodies are all soon tucking into the fishfingers with plenty of help from the hungry Eskimos.
* Tim (returning from his fishing trip): "Hey, there's some funny people out on the lake today … looked a little like Red Indians."
Bill (intrigued): "Red Indians?!"
Tim: "Maybe Chinese." Bill "Chinese?"
Tim: "Yeah, little slanty eyes" Bill "Slanty eyes?"
Tim: Floppy noses."
Bill: "Floppy noses … (cheekily) Liza Minnelli!"
Tim: "No! Fur coats …"
Bill (insistent): "It is Lisa Minnelli!"
* Graeme (about the Eskimos stealing British cod): "This means war!"
Tim (scared): "But they've got a big gun!"
Bill (whining): "But they've got a big ..."
Graeme (righteously): "Don't worry lads. We have COD on our side!"
* Narrator (upon Goodies arrival back in England with their cod): "The nation's stomach may be empty, but cod willing, these boys are gonna fillet. You'd batter believe it! Cod save the Queen ... !"
* Bill (singing, with enthusiastic backing from Tim in places): "Oh it's slaughtering day down at the old fish farm. That's the day we kill the cod! Oh I like to eat my cod with lots of lovely chips. But first we have to chop him into tiny little bits, hey hey! Oh slice him into fillets and chop him in two, I can't wait to hear him fry. Oh sizzle sizzle, yummy yummy yummy yum, here I come! Mr Cod, get ready to die, I'm gonna get ya! Mr Cod, get ready to die!"
* Graeme (horrified that Bill wants to kill his precious cod): "But you know him, he's like a ... don't you feel anything?!"
Bill (removes hat and places it over his heart): "Yes, I do feel something. (mischievously) I feel hungry! Kill the cod! Kill the cod!"
* Graeme (about the Eskimo fishermen): "They're still out there. How are we going to scare them off?"
Bill: "Er ... Nicholas Parsons masks?!" (holds up mask)
Graeme (scornfully): "Nicholas Parsons masks don't scare any ... (catches sight of mask) Aaarrrgghh!"
Tim (also startled): "Ohhhh! That might frighten us, but it won't work on the Eskimos. Our Nicholas is very big on Eskimo television. Does 'Whale of the Century' - they love him!"
Graeme (appalled): "Love him?! Good God, we're dealing with savages!!"
* Tim: "Perhaps we could frighten them by broadcasting messages to them in their own language. If only we had an Eskimo phrase book ... ah, here's one!"
* Bill (reading phrases to scare away unwanted Greenlanders): "Bloom flooten clinton gerton, organ de borgan skloot skloot!"
Tim (translating): "Hello sailor, I suppose I ..."
Graeme (flustered): "For goodness sake! We already have the perfect weapon. Two hundred tons of cod."
Tim (scornfully): "What, that limp-finned pansy?!"
Graeme (quietly): "All right, I admit. At the moment he is one of the less butch of our scaly brethren ... (turns to cod tank, yelling) ... ya great poof!"
* Tim (trying to annoy goldfish): "You stupid fish. You're nothing but a fish, you fish! You're all the same, you rotten lousy fish. You're stupid, what are ya? You're stew-pid! When was the last time a fish was Prime Minister, hey? Name me one fish with a degree in economics and philosophy - just one! Has Prince Charles' name ever been romantically linked with a FISH?! Hmmm?!"
* Bill (waving a Nicholas Parsons mask at the goldfish tank, simulating Nicholas during program interludes): "Slime, slime, grease, grease! Slime, slime, patronise, patronise!"
* Graeme (still trying to annoy fish): "All right. 1001 Ways To Make You Cross - chapter 38! (bellows into huge megaphone) Noele Gordon is TV Personality of the Year. Again! The Radio Times is the biggest selling magazine in Europe (almost losing his voice!) TONY BLACKBURN! Oh dear, doesn't anything get you going?!"
* The scenes at Dr Garden's Fish Farm while Tim is out fishing, including Bill complaining that it's "ruddy murder trying to stamp the little lions" on the fish eggs like one would do to "chooky eggs", Graeme's trout getting locked up for "getting a bit frisky" only to fly into the air and splatter into the ceiling then the floor ("put him in with the kippers, nobody will notice!") and Graeme trying to make friends with his shy and retiring pike only for it to swallow half his arm in return. Bill tries to remedy the situation by attempting to chop Graeme's arm off with an axe (with Graeme frantically ducking for cover, then swatting an off-balance Bill on the head with the pike as he swivels around), before eventually pulling the pike off and heaving it into another tank, where there are chomping noises and a humungous deep burp for good measure.
* The 'Cod War' where Graeme flattens an Eskimo by belting him over the noggin with a cod and, inspired by Bill, the Goodies throw dozens of cod at the retreating Eskimos, only to find that they have only succeeded in handing over the entire British cod population, to a grateful cry of "Thenk you veddy merch!" from the Eskimos. This puts Graeme in such a foul mood that even Bill's excited attempt at blowing up a haddock with a bike pump to create a cod (excitedly puffing "It's working, it's working … it really is … the perfect impersonation of a cod!") soon has the wind taken out of its sails by a grumpy Graeme puncturing it with a pin (as Bill laments "Well pardon me for trying, I'm sorry!").
* Subtle aspects of the Goodies' trip to Greenland as MCC tourists, especially the time of 'midnight' written on the tired Eskimo's watch in the broad daylight, the bucket of water 'in case of fire' which is tipped into the cricket bag to keep the cod hydrated and the use of cricket bats and stumps as ski equipment by the grateful Eskimo. Also the scene where the Goodies are riding along the streets of London on the trandem triumphantly with Graeme holding the cod high above his head to the cheers of bemused onlookers, who must have been wondering what on earth was going on at the time!
* Tim handling the distribution side of proceedings (including the export of the head to France "to put in that yucky soup" and the tail for Birdseye "as a consolation prize!") while Graeme is far more interested in mollycoddling his precious fish with free range ants eggs, teaching it tricks like begging and catching and talking to it like a baby, and doesn't care what Tim is on about until he finally twigs, and is clobbered by a ball rebounded by the cod while being distracted. Also Bill's little ditty upon entry to the room (see classic quotes) and the obvious amount of pleasure he was getting from waving his 'humane killer' gun around while causing an equal amount of distress for Graeme!
* Graeme taking "Brian" the cod for walkies along the edge of the water, getting it to fetch a stick and patting the water near its head while saying "Good boy!", much to the bemusement of a lady walking her dog nearby who rightly thinks he's a raving loony. Also the cod pulling on the leash to stop at a lamppost way out in the water, with an Eskimo watching Graeme from his boat and remarking "Look at the nutter!"
* The various scenes at the fish farm where the Goodies are trying to figure out how to scare off the Eskimos, firstly with Bill's use of a Nicholas Parsons mask (which only succeeds in scaring Tim and Graeme senseless) and quotes from a very conveniently located Eskimo phrase book, including gems like "Go home, your igloo is on fire!" and "This cold weather has rendered my brass monkey incomplete!" Also all of the scenes involving the Goodies' attempts to annoy fish, especially Bill's chuckling admission that he "once crossed a frog with a loony" and got "hopping mad!", Graeme getting attacked by his piranha (which shreds his tie and earns a rebuke of "Naughty!"), then his eel, (which jumps out of the tank and wrestles him to the floor), causing him to roar "Why can't you be like that, hey?" at his sissy cod, Tim's insulting of a goldfish for its low intelligence, Bill terrorising a fish tank with a Nicholas Parsons mask, and finally Graeme's loony scientist glee when he discovers that a Max Bygraves record is what really makes his camp cod cut up rough! ("Of course! That's it! (smooch) Max Bygraves! Why didn't I think of it before?!")
* All of the scenes where the killer cod, complete with a giant set of false choppers, is on the loose as described in the 'plot' section, with Max Bygraves music from Graeme's gramophone stirring it up; especially the grand finale where the cod crashes into the pier, upending the drums of oil and batter and toppling a broken light, which detonates an enormous explosion and shower of fishfingers that are eagerly snapped up by the Goodies and the Eskimos.
Barry Cryer (voice)
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A most enjoyable episode and one of my personal favourites, with heaps of humourous scenes, memorably funny quotes and plenty of falls and animations from Graeme, the loony fish breeder. There is also lots of Nicholas Parsons and Max Bygraves bashing, with Tony Blackburn not being spared either, and one of the best endings of the entire show. What more could a Goodies fan ask for?!
BLACK PUDDING RATING