Bill and Tim merrily compose and perform a jingle for the Goodies planned new radio station ("For the sound of sensation across the nation, listen to Radio Goodies...") but Graeme is far too engrossed in designing a transmitter to even give a "boom" at the end as his meagre contribution. A frustrated Bill moans "Oh come on, where’s your 'boom'?" and repeats the jingle with an uninterested Graeme barely mustering a rather soulless "boom" second time around, grumbling "Well I've got more important things to think about than 'booms'!" Tim gets very excited about the prospect of becoming a radio star: "I'll be a famous disc jockey and have hundreds of groupie girls offering themselves to me!" His smirking causes Bill to utter "You filthy beast!" in mock horror before he also starts chuckling in delight at the idea.
Despite having their jingles and transmitter ready, the Goodies still require government permission to get their radio station underway. Bill has written to the GPO Department of Broadcasting with a licence application (and even "slipped in a fiver" for good measure!) and had posted it three months beforehand, albeit by second class mail. Tim and Graeme complain that the application won't have even reached its destination in that length of time, plus the reply would also be sent by second class, meaning that they might just get it in time for Christmas if the temporary postman doesn't dump the mail in the canal!
There is a knock at the office door and the postman announces that he has a registered letter for the Goodies, but in accordance with official Post Office procedure he will "knock twice, very softly, then run away before you can answer the door." Tim and Bill quickly wrench the door open and tackle the fleeing postman, grabbing the letter out of his hand and leaving him cursing in frustration that he didn't make a clean getaway. The atrociously misspelt letter from the GPO Department of Broadcasting (addressed to "Dear Goobies" and signed off by the "Pastmaster Joneral"!) has travelled all over the countryside second class before reaching the Goodies and outlines the refusal of the GPO to grant them a radio licence because their application arrived two months late, despite Bill posting it well before the cut-off date. To add insult to injury, the GPO letter sarcastically tells the Goodies that "if you can't afford first class (postage) you haven't got enough money to start a radio station anyway" and also thanks them for the enclosed fiver that the GPO have nicked from the original letter, causing Bill to huff: "What a nerve! What a ruddy nerve!"
A cheesed-off Bill suggests that they should start a pirate radio station, while Tim mentions that a pirate post office would be in order too, so Graeme's scheming mind comes up with the good ship 'Saucy Gibbon'; a sensational underwater craft which serves as both a pirate radio station and post office. It is anchored outside the five mile limit off the Essex coast and works on the iceberg principle, looking like a perfectly ordinary rowing boat from the surface so as not to arouse the suspicion of the authorities (and even having a "Not a Pirate Radio Station" sticker pasted on it!) Tim and Bill are worried about how they are going to reach it (T: "I can't swim five miles!" B: "I can only do a width!"), but Graeme hires three canoes and the Goodies paddle out to their new headquarters and climb down the hatch of the tiny rowboat into the cavernous area below water level.
The new broadcasting studio for Radio Goodies is very impressive and Bill soon slips into the rowdy role of first DJ with "Tiny Tim" as his sidekick. A quick burst of 'Tiptoe Thru The Tulips' soon has an unimpressed Graeme lecturing: "Children, children! We are here principally to start a post office; not to further the already disastrous course of adolescent culture!" - drawing a cheeky retort of "Woo hoo hoo! Thank you Malcolm Muggeridge!" from Bill. Graeme asks to see Tim's plans for the pirate post office and snootily intones "I suppose I shall have to do it all myself as usual!" when a dithering Tim ums and ahs and hands him a blank piece of paper.
Bill kicks off Radio Goodies with a loud and swinging DJ introduction until Graeme tells him to be quiet and so he puts on a record instead. The entire Radio Goodies hit parade consists of the "right-up-to-the-minute sound" of 'A Walk In The Black Forest', as it is the only record that Bill could afford to buy. Meanwhile Graeme has been quickly scheming away and comes charging over to the others, spruiking "Like our post office? The fastest and most efficient in the world." B (taken aback): "Well, you're confident!" G (smugly): "Well it is the work of a genius!" After jumping on-air and flogging the new Goodies Letter Stamp, Graeme tells his audience to go to bed early so that they can all be up early in the morning for the start of the new Goodies post office, then leans back in his chair and madly declares "I'm working well tonight!", which prompts a worried exchange of loony signals between Bill and Tim.
The pirate postal service is soon up and running, as Tim and Bill race around the streets disguised as red postboxes. They chase potential customers along the street, seek business door-to-door and even swipe a postman's mail as he stops briefly to light up a cigarette; all in the name of giving the GPO some real competition for a change. After collection, Tim and Bill attach the letters to balloons filled with North Sea gas so that Graeme can shoot the balloons down as they drift past the boat (taking an impromptu dip in the sea by falling backwards from the recoil of the gun), postmark the letters and then return them to shore in floating bottles for Tim and Bill to collect and deliver. Various delivery methods are used as Tim and Bill shoot an arrow (with a letter attached) into a lady's front door, tie a parcel onto the leg of a pigeon (which tries to take off but merely crash-lands in the gutter), offer a first class delivery service in a limo (with Tim in fancy clothes and a very itchy wig) and sing 'Happy Birthday' to another old dear with an impossibly long-winded surname (also showering her with streamers and a peck on the cheek from Tim).
This hectic schedule soon takes its toll, with Bill and Tim staggering back to the canoes in an utterly exhausted state and Bill also taking a couple of tumbles into the sea as he vainly tries to shoot down a heap of balloons from the rapidly growing patronage of the pirate post office. He climbs down the hatch, complaining: "I give up! You'd need a ruddy anti-aircraft gun to shoot that lot down! The rest of them are on the way to Holland!" and he and Tim tackle Graeme about their lack of resources and his reluctance to help them as well. Graeme claims that he is far too busy to help as he's "only just got this pirate business underway" (though he has apparently ordered them "two million extra carrier pigeons and a thousand homing kangaroos" – for "parcel post" as he so aptly demonstrates with a playful skip and hop from the stairway down to where Tim is standing!) and he is busily plotting other pirate activities such as bus services, banks and hospitals, all outside the five mile limit. This sets off a spirited argument between Graeme and Tim, only interrupted by a cheery new jingle ("For a song and a smile and a swingalong style, listen to Radio Goodies, boom.") when they realise that they are still on-air.
After playing 'A Walk In The Black Forest' for the umpteenth time, Tim grumbles "Why the hell can't we buy another record?" only for Bill to remind him that "We ain't got time to go shopping." because they have millions of letters to sort. In a rare moment of bravery, a fed-up Tim announces on-air that the Goodies post office is closing down and that customers would just have to deliver their letters themselves "and on the way, who knows, you might take A Walk In The Black Forest!" However Graeme has" just been listening to the radio" and emerges as a black-garbed postal pirate with a patch over one of his eyes. He initially interrogates Tim about the reason for closing down the post office (aggressively grabbing him by the jacket and hoisting him in the air) and then gets on the radio to unleash some of the most memorable power-crazed diatribe imaginable to his unsuspecting audience (see "Classic Quotes" section). He then unveils his daring ambitious master plan to tow the whole of Great Britain outside the five mile limit (however that works!) so that he can take over as leader of a pirate state and tells Bill and Tim to go out and collect some letters and leave him to his work.
Tim and Bill flee the boat to collect mail after an apoplectic Graeme has shrieked at them ("Get out ... out ... out! Out ... out!"), but find on their return that Graeme is trying to tow the country away single handed in his 'Saucy Gibbon' rowing boat. Bill naively calls out "Why don't you pack it in and come on home? I'll make you a cup of tea.", while Tim's declaration that Graeme is flying in the face of nature draws a scornful retort of "Nature? What do we scientists care about nature?! I don't give a fig for you and your lousy nature!" Tim and Bill eventually manage to rile Graeme by repeatedly chanting "You're a megalomaniac!" to the point where his stomping up and down in denial punctures the 'Saucy Gibbon' and it starts to sink. Graeme initially says farewell and goes down with his ship, but then resurfaces and yells "I've changed my mind!", so Tim and Bill are obliged to mount a rescue. Graeme then has to rescue them in turn after he staggers up the beach apologising profusely for his megalomania only to realise that they are still floundering out at sea!
Despite Graeme's continual apologies, it seems that the Goodies are finished, as they sit back in their office shivering in blankets and their feet soaking in hot tubs. Tim is worried that the Goodies are "now broke, stony broke. And what's more, after that little fiasco, nobody's going to hire us ever again. We might as well pack the whole thing in."; but a letter from the GPO (that arrives on an arrow which lodges in Tim's back!) which tells them "Thanks for the idea. Cheque follows by pigeon" soon changes their mood. A rejuvenated Graeme has a great new idea for a "pirate Church of England", but soon changes his mind when Tim and Bill quickly object and comments that if the others hadn't stopped him, Britain would be adrift in the Atlantic. Graeme's musing is rudely interrupted by a loud foghorn and the Statue of Liberty passing by outside the window, much to his rueful chagrin!
* Bill (defensively): "Now look, I think the GPO have a very difficult job to do"
Tim (unimpressed): "Yes, that's why they do it so badly!"
* Graeme (examining where the letter to the GPO has been): "London, Belfast, Manchester, Edinburgh, Hong Kong ... oh come on, it can't have been to Edinburgh!"
* Tim (as Radio Goodies DJ): "Yes friends, that was number 1 on the Goodies hit parade, and incidentally numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 ... A Walk In The Black Forest!"
* Graeme (barrelling Tim): "I'll tell you why you closed it (the post office) down. Because you're an ineffectual, petty, interfering, unimaginative, useless little lackey! WHAT ARE YOU?!"
Tim (scared witless): "I - I - I'm an ineffectual, intellectual ..."
Graeme (enraged): "THAT'S NO EXCUSE!" … "How can I create a new world when I'm surrounded by fools?!"
Tim & Bill (both panicking): "He's flipped, he's flipped, he's gone, now he's completely gone!"
* Graeme (sternly, to Radio Goodies audience): "This is your leader speaking. Here is an important announcement. It has been put about by back-sliding revisionary paper hyenas that the Goodies Pirate Post Office is closing down. This ... is a lie! (thumps desk) Our glorious post office gallantly continues to function. We will get your letters through! These are dark days and the storm clouds gather around us. But never fear! I pledge that I, your leader, will see you safely through to a better world! ... And now ... (reaches for record player) A Walk In The Black Forest!"
* Graeme: "This is my latest and most ambitious plan so far, the most daring stroke in the history of human endeavour. (points to diagram) These are giant hydraulic jacks spanning the channel; this is the navy and the QEII. Teams of miners will tunnel underground from east to west, and then … then comes the big push!"
Bill (bemused): "What's it for?"
Graeme: "I intend to tow the whole of Great Britain outside the five mile limit! Then I shall take over as leader of a pirate state."
* Graeme (power-crazed, after chasing Tim & Bill out of the boat): "Today the post office. Tomorrow ... the world!" (followed by a mad stare and fiendish eye-rolling!)
* Tim & Bill (shouting in unison at Graeme): "You're a megalomaniac, you're a megalomaniac!"
Graeme (enraged, jumping up and down in the boat): "I'm not, I'm not, I'm not!!
* Tim (telling Bill not to rescue Graeme - to sad violin music): "No Bill, the friend we once knew is gone. That ... creature out there sinking in the ocean is something else. The hapless victim of his own terrible thirst for power. Let him go. He ... would have wanted it ... this way." (respectful pause)
Bill (scornfully): "No he bloody wouldn't!!"
* The Goodies each slumping back into their chairs in turn after their radio licence application is denied, with Bill ("Ruddy GPO!") and Tim ("Bye bye little groupie girls!") making a safe landing, but Graeme ("All that brilliant work wasted!") forgetting that he'd pushed his chair back and taking a big tumble onto the floor.
* the lady screaming and fainting after being patted on the rear with a free letter stamp offered by the mailbox which has knocked on her front door.
* Graeme (and later Bill) frequently falling off the boat and into the drink while trying to shoot down balloons carrying letters
* Tim being buried under a landslide of letters after Graeme has fired a couple of shots up the hatch of the boat at passing balloons.
* Graeme's mad power-crazed ranting including bullying Tim and Bill, making dictator-like speeches on the radio, trying to tow Britain away single-handed and then jumping up and down in the sinking Saucy Gibbon after taking offence at being called a megalomaniac!
* The Statue of Liberty casually drifting past outside the window to the blast of a foghorn at the end of the episode, thanks to Graeme succeeding in towing Britain away single-handed, with the regretful expression on Graeme's face being priceless!
Brenda Cowling, Lionel Wheeler
Song of the GPO
Fingertip Slimming Test
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Some of the Goodies finest work and one of the greatest comedy episodes of all time. Superb plot, unforgettable quotes and Graeme's finest moments of inspired power-hungry lunacy make it one of the first episodes to spring to most people's minds when The Goodies are mentioned, which is testimony to its brilliance.