Tim pegs out the washing on a line in the office as Graeme and Bill return "knackered" from another hard day's work (attired in their normal clothes, but wearing bowler hats, which they unsuccessfully heave at the hat rack) and they immediately launch into their hobbies to relax. Bill plays the drums and peers through binoculars at stuffed birds mounted on his drum kit, while Graeme straps on a headset with a portable TV mounted to it and gets comfortable in his chair, where he is serviced by a range of fancy automated gadgets in the process. Tim finds that neither Bill or Graeme bother to listen to him as he moans about his hard day of housework, so he is sufficiently annoyed at their lack of attention to huffily turn the main power switch off.
An annoyed Tim complains "Oi! You haven't been listening to a word I've been saying, have you?!" (to which Graeme cheekily replies "Yes we have. You said 'Oi'!") and tells Bill and Graeme that of an evening he "looks forward to a bit of company and a nice relaxing chat" with them. Graeme politely asks Tim to "tell us about your day", but he and Bill soon turn to their gadgets again once Tim starts to grizzle about his shopping trip to Sainsburys, only for Tim to crossly shut the power off for a second time. When Bill and Graeme reject the disgustingly unappetising hogs head that Tim has cooked for them ("What's that muck?! I'm not eating that!"), Tim flings the food on the floor and sulks that there is "something wrong with this relationship" and that they are all "getting on each other's nerves" (a point proven when Bill and Graeme start bickering over whether this is the case or not!) Tim concludes that the three Goodies need a holiday (as they no longer do anything together, though Bill answers "Yes we do … we have rows!") to help them to relax and sort things out.
Tim books the Goodies into a "bungalow by the seaside" in the small town of Dunsquabblin for "a lovely relaxing time in the sunshine" for three weeks; but when they arrive in the pouring rain (with Graeme wearing an umbrella hat on his head and Bill in a sailor's hat with 'Kiss Me Slow' written on it), they find that the bungalow is very poorly equipped (or in Bill's words, "What a horrible dump!") Graeme is mortified when he realises that there are no modern relaxation gadgets available, while Bill is grateful that he has at least packed a set of small bongo drums to play until Tim reads out a sign on the door that musical instruments are not permitted. No modern conveniences are allowed either (including "radios, transistors, record players") and in fact "no loud noise at all, as this disturbs the sheep"! Bill continues to read the restrictions notice ("no drinking, no swearing, no dogs, no cats … no sheep after 11 o'clock!") and rips it off the back of the door in disgust ("Oh, that's ridiculous!"), only to uncover a sign that declares 'Penalty for removing this notice 250 pounds', which forces him to hastily stick it back up on the door again!
The peculiarly-designed bathroom (with its maze of pipes, vertical bath and loo located half way up to the ceiling!) also causes quite a racket when Graeme flushes the toilet, which upsets the sheep even more and causes Tim to declare that the Goodies will just have to hold on for the next three weeks, much to Bill's incredulous discomfort. Tim reckons that the Goodies will just have to be like the Royal family, who "never go" to the loo ("That's why they're Royal!"), which in turn leads Bill to tell Tim that he heard a Royal blow off once (and even whispers the culprit's name in Tim's ear), though Tim embarrassedly claims that it was "Probably one of the corgis!"
Graeme and Bill are still lost without all of their modern electronic gadgets, but Tim finds it quite relaxing and reckons that "We'll probably spend most of the time outside", only for it to start to rain heavily. Three days of non-stop rain later, boredom has set in (with Graeme emptying his pockets for the fifth time and Bill borrowing Graeme's one-pound note, then complaining "Oh, I've read this one!") until Tim gets Graeme to do a painting inside an empty cupboard and tells Bill that this would be a good opportunity for him to "write postcards" to his friends (to which Bill remarks that he hasn't got any friends; not even Tim, as he crossly snaps "Cos if you were my friend, you'd have written me a bloody postcard, wouldn't you?!") Graeme has painted a sunny beach scene inside the cupboard and Tim steps inside to enjoy it (as Graeme and Bill prepare to sneakily bolt off home!), but Tim reckons that they must stay here to "enjoy the simple life" and shows Graeme and Bill the forgotten art of how to make a cup of tea without electronic help.
A few days (and dozens of cuppas) further down the track though, the rain continues to fall and Bill is bloated from far too much tea. The noisy sheep have been awake all night and Graeme suggests to Bill that "Maybe they'd go to sleep if they counted you!", so Bill bobs up and down at the window a few times (before yelling out "Oi, mint sauce!" and enjoying the subsequent peace and quiet). Tim and Graeme then take advantage of Bill's lack of card game knowledge to challenge him to a game of 'spat' (in which they make up the rules as they go along!) and progressively call out "ratbag" to win the first round, yell "Shut up!" and splash tea in his face in the second (after Bill has spotted the "ratbag" card this time around), slap him over the head and yell "spat" in the third stanza, then finally threaten to shoot him when he commits a "grand spat" by declaring an ace.
The rain still tumbles down (even in the cupboard, where Graeme's beach scene is now all stormy as Tim discovers when he steps in there) and Bill desperately sets his alarm for midnight just so that he can cross off another "lousy day" on his tally board on the wall. Bill has been stuck in bed for seventeen days (and there are still another four to endure yet) and he complains that he is "a creature of the outdoors" and "like a caged animal" inside (to which a cheesed-off Graeme remarks "Yeah, a ferret! A nasty little ferret!") and even Tim is starting to get very tense by now at the lack of action. Tim promises Bill that they will go bird watching the next day, regardless of the rain and during the night, the Goodies realise that it has finally stopped raining - only for Bill to open the window and get blown off his feet by a fierce blizzard of snow!
A disappointed Bill has to be content with the sighting a yellow rubber duck (which is conveniently pictured in his birdspotting book!) strapped onto Tim's head as he crawls along at the back of the couch, Tim's punny "puffin" and painful "flycatcher" impressions and finally, Graeme as a "web-footed crane" upon his entry to the room in a wetsuit and flippers after he has made an attempt to snorkel in the bathtub! Graeme acts out an "amazing comical mating dance" as Bill reads the description of the crane's behavioural characteristics from his bird book and even migrates "south for the winter" to the backing of Bill's wildlife commentary, "making its graceful way from Scandinavia, crossing the Alps and getting blasted to bits by Italians!" (with Bill and Tim donning thick black moustaches and wildly firing rifles in the air!) Tim delivers a Churchill-style speech on the need to relax, but although the Goodies all try to kick back on banana lounges, they are far too tense (with Graeme getting into a series of awful tangles as he tumbles around and "incredibly tense" when his oversized Rubik's Cube crumbles to bits) and the holiday appears to have done them all much more harm than good.
To mark their final night at Dunsquabblin, the Goodies decide to put on an old-fashioned Victorian "musical evening, just like in the good old days" to provide some much-needed entertainment. Graeme is the rather verbose compere (in the style of his earlier performance in 'Royal Command') and Tim is the first act, with both of them in tuxedos (which they somehow amazingly managed to pack in their holiday gear!) while Bill is dressed up as Queen Victoria herself, though one Tim is not amused at this blasphemy! Tim's gentle rendition of 'Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside' (with Graeme and Bill providing the glee club backing) soon morphs into a lively madrigal performance (with Graeme playing a watering can like a trumpet and Bill drumming away on pots and pans from the kitchen), but then quickly degenerates even further. Bill firstly does a mean impersonation of Animal from the Muppets on the drums, then all three Goodies turn into shouting, strutting, Sex Pistols-style punk rockers and proceed to trash their hellhole cabin to bits. A smiling Tim triumphantly declares amid the rubble "You know, that's the best holiday I've ever had!"
* Graeme: (about the bathroom, with the toilet located halfway up the wall) "I don't think it's very well designed."
Tim; "I think it's charming. All you need is a little imagination."
Graeme: "And a little stepladder!"
* A few little cameos and sight gags, including the harsh penalty for removing the penalty notice, the deafening racket caused by the mass of plumbing pipes in the bathroom when the loo is flushed (causing Tim to demand that none of them are to go to the bog for the next three weeks!), Graeme and Tim's silly bird impersonations, Graeme's glasses being fitted with little windscreen wipers when the roof is leaking and Graeme's painting in the cupboard turning from sunny to stormy when Tim steps in there for some much-needed mock sunshine
* The game of cards in which Graeme and Tim exploit Bill's lack of card knowledge by creating the rules as they go along (rather like a round of 'Mornington Crescent' from 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue'!); with them initially appointing themselves as team captains, but each preferring to select a kitchen chair as their partner rather than Bill, then having a game of "3-handed spat" and giving him a rather hard time of things along the way
* The final music concert sequence; particularly Graeme grandly spruiking that Tim is "the doyen of the Dunsquabblin serenaders … the virago of voculatory versificulation" before explaining "A singer, Madam!" to a puzzled Queen Victoria, Tim creating an interesting sound effect during the madrigal by blasting a nosy sheep away from the window with a shotgun, and the punk rock performance of 'Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside' with Sex Pistols-style offensive lyrics (a raucous "f***in' seaside!" towards the end) and subsequent smashing-up of the much-despised bungalow after being stuck inside it for the best part of three weeks.
Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
MY 2 CENTS WORTH
One final attempt to recapture the 'trapped with nowhere to go' atmosphere of earlier studio-based classics like The End and Earthanasia, but this time it fails miserably with a plot that is noticeably light-on for funny dialogue or visual scenes. The Goodies are either bored or bickering for much of the time and their boredom unfortunately rubs off on the viewer as well. A very rare dud episode among a decade-long run of classic comedy, so I can hardly complain too much.
BLACK PUDDING RATING