Tim and Bill watch the television with nervous excitement to see the 'Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke', in which Arthur (who looks somewhat suspiciously like Graeme) investigates "strange monsters, unexplained things in the sky, bizarre happenings and out-of-focus photographs" in many locations around the world. However Arthur is so deeply sceptical about the existence of paranormal phenomena that he fails to notice any of the evidence which obviously occurs all around him as he speaks. Although Arthur disappears from under a shower of raining frogs (while he refuses to acknowledge their existence) in Sri Lanka, then magically pops up on a boat on Loch Ness in the blink of an eyelid (and even has Nessie looking over his shoulder at his diagram of the supposed monster!), he continually dismisses all things unexplained as "just a load of old rubbish", much to Tim and Bill's dismay, and reckons that "the only real mystery is why they pay me a lot of money to stand here and tell you that I don't believe in any of it!"
Tim and Bill are even more disappointed when an announcement is broadcast that this program is the last in the series, as "it has just been discovered that Arthur C. Clarke does not exist!" Graeme agrees with this theory ("Well of course he doesn't exist! They cancelled the ruddy series as soon as they tumbled me ... him!" as he quietly hangs up his Arthur wig in the background), but Tim is determined to prove him wrong and even presents his own program, 'The Quest for Arthur C. Clarke - Man Or Myth' in a bit to gather concrete evidence of Arthur's existence. In this show, ordinary citizens are stopped in the street, shown a photo of Arthur and asked whether they have seen him, with a mixed response; to which Tim comments "I think you'll agree, most people said yes" (with an old chap saying "No" promptly told to "Shut up!") Tim ventures to the Ipswich house of Mr James Crabb, who regales him with the tale of a "close encounter" with Arthur while watching TV one evening (only to have fallen asleep when Arthur supposedly came on anyway), but Tim is soon scared off when the chap tells him with a strange grin that "my wife thinks I'm raving mad ... cos I eat spiders!"
Tim ultimately decides to mount an expedition to "find, film and possibly capture" the elusive Arthur to in order to convince the many doubters of Arthur's existence; including Graeme; who remarks "If you're going to find Arthur C. Clarke, I want to be there." (adding "In fact if you want to find Arthur C. Clarke, I've got to be there!") Tim is all decked out for a safari to the "steamy jungle, heat and flies" of Africa, but he soon has to rug up in warmer clothing as Bill tells him that the most recent sighting of Arthur was in the Canadian Rockies. Bill (in a Davy Crockett-style hat with lifting raccoon tail) provides Tim with all of the necessary equipment (including "a month's supply of baked beans" and a car muffler as an obligatory "silencer"!) along with his own weirdly-rhyming pile of gear (including a "rifle" and "trifle"!) Following a quick plane flight and some energetic hiking through the Rockies, the Goodies build a log cabin deep in the woods and set out on their search in the designated 'Arthur C. Clarke Mystery Park' (which has the motto 'Here There Be Wonders').
Bill and Tim race all over the countryside inside a bird hide until they eventually make a splash landing in a clear mountain lake and after several days in the Rockies, they have chalked up a remarkable number of strange UFO, dinosaur and Yeti sightings, although Tim still constantly moans "I want Arthur!" as they trek about. In contrast, Graeme hasn't managed to spot any weird creatures at all ("I must have been looking the wrong way!"). Tim staggers into the cabin with a limp (as all of his "running around steep hills" has made one of his legs longer and the other one shorter!) and reports that he finally has some filmed evidence of the existence of some strange creatures. Graeme desperately tries to distract Tim from replaying the film on the Goodies' projector (which is made out of pine logs, as are all of the other furnishings and fittings in the cabin!), but Tim and Bill ignore his antics and the film footage shows a hairy and rather embarrassed-looking Big Foot, who has a pitstop on-screen (as Bill excitedly remarks "He's got a zip! Isn't it wonderful how nature adapts, it really is!") and also throws plates in the air from a picnic set (hence all of Bill's UFO sightings!) Even more excitingly though, there is actual footage of Arthur C. Clarke himself who looks rather familiar, especially when his wig partially slips off to reveal a sneaky-looking Graeme, who is forced to admit his sham ("I was just trying to bring a little excitement into people's lives, I can't help it if I accidentally made a couple of million quid on the side!")
Tim threatens to drag Graeme back to London and expose him as a "charlatan and hoaxer", but Graeme is more worried about the huge footprints which surround the cabin. Tim and Bill initially dismiss the prints as just another of Graeme's cons, but his panicked wails that "They're nothing to do with me!" convince them otherwise and Tim rapidly sets out to follow the trail of prints away from the cabin. After Tim runs around the mountain peaks (crashing into a tree and even jumping off a cliff) in his bid to track down Big Foot, the prints take him straight back to the cabin again, which in turn freaks out all three Goodies. After they initially sprint outside and hide behind a big rock, the Goodies panic that "In that case, it must be out here!" and the Goodies race inside the cabin for safety, but during the night, Bill and Graeme are awoken by monstrous groaning sounds, and torchlight reveals a gigantic foot which, surprisingly, belongs to Tim.
Graeme and Bill theorise that Tim's walking around the steep mountains causes one foot to swell to an enormous size when he takes his boots off in the evening, then his sleepwalking leaves a trail of giant footprints across the ranges and all of the way back to the cabin, but by the time he wakes up in the morning, his foot has shrunk back to normal size and therefore "he never knows anything about it!" Rather than being scared by Tim's huge foot, Bill and Graeme actually find it "very funny", so they wake Tim up to torment him about it. Tim complains that he has had "the most terrible nightmare" as there were "five nude midgets sitting on the end of my bed!" and when the light reveals his massive foot, Tim freaks out and gasps "They're asleep!", picks up a heavy mallet and whacks his foot with it (only to scream with agony as a result). A distressed Tim wails "I'm so ashamed! I'll have to go away! You'll never see me again!" as he flees into the Rockies for good.
The story is then told about how "Big Foot's legend grew and grew ... and so did his foot!" as "folks around those parts got real scared" by this "strange critter" in the mountains. Although Big Foot tries to keep a low profile, it was inevitable that when passing campers, gold prospectors and Indians (and not forgetting mobile chiropodists!) "caught one glimpse of (his foot), they would surely die laughing". As Big Foot is "soft-hearted" by nature, he initially tries to hide his foot (by burying it in the ground and then disguising it as Dougal the dog!), but after nearly a hundred people perish from excessive laughter in one summer alone, Big Foot is considered a wanted criminal (although even a drawing of his foot on the 'wanted' poster is enough to cause the sheriff to snuff it from a hearty chuckle!) The capture of Big Foot is then attempted by two "real tough" Mounties (Bill and Graeme), who volunteer to go after him but soon roll around on the ground in fits of hysterical laughter once they catch sight of Big Foot's ever-expanding hoof ("I guess them Mounties didn't stand a chance ... at least they lived to tell the tale!")
In time, Big Foot gets "real proud of that foot" (clipping the nails with a big set of shears and applying nail polish with a paintbrush) and because it's "mighty cold in them mountains", he develops a thick fur coat for protection. Although lonely at first, Big Foot soon "finds a whole heap of friends" among his fellow mountain critters and they all got together and "surely started to swing". Mounties Bill and Graeme see this as their best chance to nab Big Foot and start off with a couple of chipmunk-like hand puppets which bop along to the music on top of a log (until Graeme tosses his puppet away and Bill blows his nose on his critter!) and they eventually pose as a couple of Big Foot's bear-like animal friends in order to get close to him. However when Bill and Graeme stomp heavily on his much-maligned foot, Big Foot angrily kicks them to the ground and then flattens them with a rolling boulder, before he runs away and takes cover behind big rocks on a hillside. In pursuit, Bill and Graeme run around and around the steep peak until they collapse with exhaustion and also develop one huge foot each, so Big Foot laughs himself silly as his pursuers slink away dejectedly past a band of hillbilly musicians, who all drop like flies at the sight of such foolish-looking feet!
* Arthur C. Clarke (regarding the Loch Ness Monster): "So, an extinct plesiosaur living in the loch? Personally I doubt it! I believe that what those witnesses saw was actually nothing more nor less than this. (holds up sketch) A common or garden rhinoceros floating upside down in the water holding a French loaf in his mouth, balancing a tortoise!"
* Graeme: "Ah, but have you got any real proof (of Arthur's existence) - footprints, close encounters, droppings?!"
Tim (frustrated): "Typical scientific narrow-mindedness. Just because I can't produce a little heap of 'naughty Arthur' on a shovel!"
* Bill (handing Tim his camping gear): "Haversack."
Tim: "Thank you."
Bill: "Have another sack!" (as he hands it over)
* Bill (excitedly): "In one day I had 35 UFO's, 17 marine plesiosaurs, 6 Yetis and 5 Big Foots ... and I had a Sasquatch!"
Graeme (deadpan): "Well I hope you cleaned it up!"
* Tim (when he discovers that he is Big Foot and the others are teasing him): "Have you no soul?"
Bill (laughing): "Sole?! It's a foot joke!"
Tim (upset): "Don't be so corny!"
(more laughter from Bill and Graeme)
Tim: "Oh you ... you heels!"
(even more laughter)
Bill & Graeme: "Put a sock in it! ... shoo! ... "
(Tim leaves the hut)
Bill & Graeme:"Hey Tim, hop it!"
* The 'Mysterious World of Arthur C. Clarke' program; with Graeme as Arthur (in a thin grey-haired wig and thick-framed glasses) dismissing various famous mysteries as "cobblers" despite the proof being right before his eyes. This includes a rusty old Coke can being removed from Arthur's hand by a robotic arm extended from a spaceship, a UFO landing behind him at Stonehenge and an alien filling it up with petrol from a pump on the side of a stone slab (as Arthur grumbles "Pull the other one Grandma!"), and the Loch Ness Monster peering over his shoulder as he examines and debunks a supposed sketch of it; as all this time he is obliviously rabbiting on about his total disbelief of things like spaceships and monsters.
* The segment with Arthur in the Himalayas sceptically telling his TV audience (an engrossed Bill and Tim) that "The Yeti doesn't exist"; however he wants them to yell "Arthur" if one does appear. Sure enough, a Yeti bobs up in the background, but gets scared and disappears when Tim and Bill shriek excitedly (from all the way back in their lounge room in Cricklewood!) just before Arthur returns, with him dismissively telling them "You just imagined it!" Arthur then leaves one of his books ("priced 9 pounds – that really is amazing!") on a rock, asking Tim and Bill to yell if the Yeti returns to eat it, but then refuses to turn around while the Yeti is devouring the book, as he accusingly asks the by-now hysterical Bill and Tim "You're not teasing old Arthur, are you?!"). Eventually Arthur turns just as the Yeti vanishes and after Bill and Tim desperately plead for him to "look at the book!", he flatly claims that the teeth marks in his book are only caused by "Mice!" (with the book being snaffled from his hand by a Yeti at the end of the program!)
* Some of the footage from the Goodies' search for Big Foot in the Rockies, especially Graeme walking up the face of a sheer cliff by virtue of capons on his climbing boots instead of crampons (Bill's mistake when preparing for the trip, though he claims "Never mind, make a change from baked beans, won't they?!") and Bill falling off the cliff with a loud wail as Graeme passes him. Also the observation hide, with Tim and Bill in it, crashing into trees in a pinball machine-like fashion and into signs warning of everything from Big Foots to 'Low Flying Saucers' before launching off a jetty into a mountain lake, Graeme casually adjusting the flames of his outdoor campfire like a gas stove, and all of the equipment inside the log cabin being made out of pine logs, including the movie projector, frying pan and fire extinguisher!
* The tale of Big Foot (narrated in a Disney-style manner by Bill to the nifty backing of the 'Ballad of Big Foot' tune), with the "15 prospectors, 73 Indians and a whole posse of chiropodists" snuffing it from laughter in one summer alone once spotting Tim's exceptionally funny foot (particularly an Indian squaw who carks it and falls on her back, sending her little papoose squirting out of its harness and tumbling along on the ground!) Also Big Foot making music with his animal friends; including a prairie dog supposedly playing the harmonica, Big Foot strumming the tail of a big cat like a bass guitar and drumming away on a tortoise's shell, and the Mounties (Bill and Graeme) not standing a chance of catching Big Foot, despite the use of Scoutrageous-style hats with peepholes cut in them. Also the two Mounties finally dressing up as bear-like critters to chase after Big Foot, only to make a humiliating exit as Big Foots themselves past the hillbilly band, with the band members croaking it from laughter for good measure!
You'll Never Believe It
The Ballad of Big Foot
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
A good episode featuring Graeme's great send-up of the super-sceptical Arthur C. Clarke, some pleasant mountain scenery and the Goodies' uniquely weird concept of Big Foot, backed by some very catchy country music at the end.
BLACK PUDDING RATING