Football hooligan Bill (with short cropped hair and bovver-boy clothing) is in fine voice at a crowded match; as he firstly gives the referee plenty of stick ("The referee's a fairy, the referee's a fairy!") before he turns his wrath on a player who hits the deck heavily after being tackled. Not only does Bill heap abuse on the player from the stands for faking injury, he also turns up in the hospital operating theatre and removes his mask to give the bloke another earful of abuse while emergency surgery is being performed. To top it all off, Bill then also bobs up at the cemetery to jump on the poor fellow's grave after the funeral service has concluded; still demanding that he "get up" and stop faking his injury!
Tim and Graeme are watching TV and are warned by the announcer that "the next program is unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition" – 'The Big Match' football coverage. Tim is clad in a Derby County scarf and oversized beanie and is horrified, as the presenter only talks about the violence of the football players and their supporters ("When Chelsea hit 6, punched 12 and strangled 4 … and when Little Scunthorpe managed to end their lean spell by killing the referee!") rather than about the match itself. Tim remarks that "football is not what it used to be" ("Well they used to have a ball!") which sets off some rather confused reminiscing between him and Graeme about the equipment used in various sports. (T: "(Football) had players, a ball … and wickets! … No, that was tennis! … You had to kick the ball." G: "Where?" T: "Down a hole! … No, that was cricket! … In a net!" G: "No, that's fishing!") In a stereotypical policeman's voice, Tim intones that football used to be "a man's game, played by men" who were "not like the nancy woofters you get nowadays!"
On the TV coverage, Bill is presented with the 'Twerp of the Month Award' for the most mindless football fan (and promptly smashes his trophy over the head of the chap standing next to him!), after which he declares that he wants a transfer to Spain because the police there have "riot shields, masks and guns" and therefore present more of a challenge for him! (to which the presenter says "What a pity if England is going to lose a talent like this!") News comes through that the "entire Metropolitan police force" refuse to work at football matches any more and unless "a hero of extraordinary courage" comes forward, the game appears to be doomed. Tim stands up and boldly declares that this hero needs to be "5'8" and about 10 1/2 stone in his Union Jack underpants … someone a bit like him", pointing to himself on the TV coverage.
Tim has been made the new "Chief of Police in special charge of football hooliganism" and he announces that it is duty is to "rid the terraces of mindless yobbos" and encourage "good manners on the field of play" (to which the Tim back at the office agrees and the two of them surreally exchange praise of each other periodically during the interview – "Well said, Sir" … "What a nice man you are!") Tim in the office strips off his Derby County gear to reveal that he is wearing a police uniform underneath, but naturally Bill takes an instant dislike to Tim's new image; as he roars "The Fuzz!" and charges at Tim, who sidesteps and causes Bill to headbutt straight through the wall of the office!
A puzzled Graeme asks "Tim, how are you going to clean up yobbos like him?!", but Tim blames Bill's obnoxious behaviour on the sexy clothing and hairstyles sported by modern footballers, and therefore changes the rules to bring back "long shorts and canvas shirts with enormous collars". Tim also bans flowing hair (so that all players must wear a cap or be bald), puts a stop to all "kissing and cuddling and nasty language" on the field, and finally to enable better crowd control, "I shall limit the number of fans at each game to one!" The match is billed as "football just like Grandad remembers" (in black-and-white footage with 'war correspondent'- style commentary) and takes place before a "capacity crowd" (an increasingly bored and aggro Bill!), but there is very little action among the daggily-dressed, bald-headed players as Tim is there to "keep an eye out for trouble" (even quickly escorting the referee from the field for daring to show too much leg in his short shorts!)
Tim sends a player off who frustratedly mouths "Oh, damn" after he misses a goal and eventually awards a penalty after a player removes his hat ("Hello hello hello, what have we hair?!); with the resultant goal leading to a lavish celebration of kissing and cuddling by players from both sides (as the footage returns to full colour). Hair cascades freely once several hats and skin wigs are removed until an irate Tim blows his whistle and sends every player off the field, as Bill goes utterly berserk in the stands from sheer boredom and despair.
Graeme conducts a experiment in his lab with white mice on a mini-football field; who merely "go eek and wash their whiskers!" after "a constant barrage of simulated football for over 18 hours" and he arrives at the conclusion that "hooliganism is inborn" (as displayed by his "purebred inborn hooligan hamster" who wildly heaves a paper streamer out of its box!) Tim isn't convinced though ("These are all animals", to which Graeme indignantly responds "So's Bill!"; who also goes "eek" and washes his whiskers shortly afterwards to prove Graeme's point!) and claims that if this was true, there should be "thousands of mindless zombies banned from all the football grounds roaming the streets in search of alternative stimulation". Tim gets dressed to the nines for a "civilised evening at Covent Garden" (to which Bill roughly quips "Don't forget your barrow!"), but is pursued along the dimly-lit streets by several zombie-like ex-football hoons until he gives them the slip. However Tim is shocked when these fans pile in to join him in the balcony at the ballet and surprisingly enjoy the dancing action immensely (although their football yobboism rubs off on Tim, as he stands and loudly bellows "Get up, ya great nancy!" at a ballerina who takes a death dive!) as they pelt streamers onto the stage below and cheer loudly as the dancers take their curtain call.
In no time, Britain has gone "ballet crazy" and Tim and Bill are excited at the chance to field a Cricklewood team in the Ballet League (breathlessly reliving long-ago lessons from Madame Aardvark at the ballet school!). A more pragmatic Graeme points to the league tables in the newspaper and reckons that they are "wasting your time" as Cricklewood "wouldn't even get into Third Division", but Tim is adamant that his team "will dance its way into Europe!" With ballet being so extraordinary popular, there are not enough dancers left to go around and so most teams contain several out-of-work footballers as well. The Big Match covers the game between Aston Villa (with Wayne Sleep, Baryshnikov and others in the "Romeo strip" of ballet tights) and Cricklewood (Graeme, Bill, Pele, Cruyff and Keegan in white tutus - the "Juliet strip"!), in which Aston Villa ("who have been a little unlucky this season, especially with their make-up!") run rings around Cricklewood, with Sleep positively starring, but just can't score by the half-time break.
After some mid-match analysis by panellists Brian Moore-or-less, Brian Clough and Tommy Docherty (all played by Graeme!), Aston Villa continue to dominate and although Bill earns a yellow card for "filthy miming" (after he stridently objects to a blatant foul by Aston Villa being ignored by the referee), the scores are still tied nil-all at full time. The acrobatic goalkeeper Sleep manages to save most of the penalties (as he pushes away the Cricklewood players being thrown at him!) until Bill lobs into the net with him. However Bill's volcanic temper finally gets the better of him and rather than choosing to celebrate the goal, he kicks the tripe out of the prone Sleep and brawls with the rest of the Aston Villa players instead. The Cricklewood players try to claim a dubious victory, but when the irate crowd subsequently storms the stage and sets off a huge melee, the commentators lament that "What we're seeing here is the sort of thing that gives the dance a bad name!"
* Bill (chanting as a soccer hooligan): "What a load of rubbish! What a load of rubbish!" ... "The referee's a fairy! The referee's a fairy!" ...(then yelling at a player after he is felled in a tackle) ... "Get up, ya great nancy! Get up! He's not hurt! You great big poof! You girl! Get up! (player is lying on the ground being examined by trainers) Faking, faking, he's faking! Get up! Time wasting! He's acting! (as stretcher comes out onto ground) Get up, ya great nancy! Up! You great big soppy girl!"
* Kenneth Wolstenholme (interviewing hooligan Bill): "... you set a big match record because last month, Twerp A, Twerp B, Twerp C and Twerp D all turned out to be you!"
Bill (rather chuffed): "Oh ... oh ... oh ... pretty exciting, yeah!"
Kenneth: "Well it was in fact as Twerp C that you actually got most votes for, when you threw a broken bottle at your captain and sliced his ear off!"
Bill (still trying to be humble): "I ... I ... I dunno, I just seem to be gettin' 'em right at the moment, Ken!"
(and shortly afterwards …)
Bill: "I think really I've gotta go to Spain; it's more of a challenge there y'know, as the police say they've got these riot shields and masks and guns and it's an altogether more skilful thing and at this stage of my career I really fancy having a go at that y'know. It's been good to me here, but there you go!"
* Tim (the Chief Of Police about yobbos like Bill): " ... Modern football. It's what happens on the pitch that really rouses them. All that sex stirs up their wild primitive urges!"
Graeme (puzzled): "Sex?!"
Tim: "Just look at 'em! Look at those flimsy shorts ... (starts talking in a camp voice) ... exposing their glistening thighs and sexy knees ... look at those shirts. ... (resumes policeman voice) ... In the old days they didn't have silk shirts, no, they had rough hessian shirts ... (chuckles and gets a worriedly suspicious look from Graeme) ... with collars, but they don't have collars nowadays, they have plunging necklines ... (becomes increasingly excited) ... brazenly showing off the napes of their necks as their golden hair cascades like smooth silk as it stretches over their tight shoulder muscles and shows off their pert cheeky little ... (agitated scream!) .. (resumes talking in his own voice) ... Phew! No wonder the fans go mad!"
* Bill (to Tim, trying hard not to crack up!): "Do you want to see my Rudolf Nureyev 'Spot The Ball' poster?!"
* Commentator (when Wayne Sleep lines up for a free kick): "And are we going to see Sleep's favourite banana as he tries to bend it around the wall?!"
* The sensational opening sequence, with Bill as a short-haired soccer hooligan abusing the referee from a crowded grandstand until a player felled in a tackle becomes the subject of his ire instead; copping taunts of "Get up, ya great nancy!" and a torrent of abuse about faking his injury despite being carted off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. The next scene is in a hospital operating theatre with a team of surgeons doing some rather grisly fixit work on the injured player, while Bill is somehow in there too, pulling off his surgical mask and giving the player another burst of "Get up, ya great nancy!" before being ushered out by the doctors, just as the life support alarm goes off! This is followed by a solemn graveside funeral service for the poor chap, with the priest and mourners just walking away as Bill appears from nowhere; jumping up and down on the grave while still bellowing "Get up, ya great nancy ...!"
* Graeme as a smooth-looking dude (a send-up of football manager Lawrie McMenemy) in the mock ad; holding a pot of amber fluid in his hand and exclaiming: "If you think you'd enjoy this, you'd be right.", then taking a sip from the pot and saying "If you think it's a lager, mind, you'd be wrong." He then downs the entire pot with a satisfied gasp and remarks "It's neat Scotch!", before he collapses forward heavily to the deck in a drunken mess!
* Chief Of Police Tim patrolling a soccer match and attempting to clean up unsavoury aspects of the game, including all of the players being required to wear hats or skinhead wigs instead of flaunting their long locks, Tim covering the referee's knees with his bobby's helmet and then sending him off because his shorts are too short and the joyous hugging and kissing between the soccer players after a goal is scored until a cranky Tim bobs up in the middle of it and sends both teams off. Also the lone spectator (Bill) getting increasingly agitated with the lack of action on the pitch; yelling "Boring!" and "What a load of rubbish!", smashing beer bottles over his skull ("Don't let that drink go to your head, Sir!"), headbutting the grandstand railing and racing up and down the terraces at express speed before madly charging out onto the field and straight at Tim, who neatly sidesteps and flexes his knees at just the right time, leaving Bill tangled hopelessly in the goal net until he is bopped on the head with Tim's baton and knocked out.
* Tim toffed up in his cape, top hat and bow tie heading to Covent Garden along a gloomy street (with cats yowling creepily in the background) and having to flee from troublesome-looking zombie soccer thugs, only for them to ultimately join him in the balcony for the ballet, much to his surprise. Also various aspects of the ballet scenes, including Cricklewood's Keegan trying to match Sleep's elegant pirouettes but only succeeding in drilling himself through the floorboards after a big spin, Graeme getting shot with an arrow from a crossbow and going through an elaborate and very pretty death dance before another memorably dramatic dive to the floor, Bill's temper eventually getting the better of him, causing the big brawl at the end, and the virtuoso guest performance by Wayne Sleep as the ballet star of Aston Villa, who almost single-handedly carries his team to victory.
Fred Dinenage, Kenneth Wolstenholme, Wayne Sleep, John Cross, Alan Forrester, Kim Gavin, Trevor Willis
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
Excellent first half dealing with football hooliganism and the desperate police measures to stop it, with Bill absolutely starring as a crazed yobbo in some very memorable and funny scenes. The remainder of the show meanders a little by comparison (for non-ballet fans anyway), but still contains enough interesting footage to make it a very good episode overall.
BLACK PUDDING RATING