35. The Goodies in the Nick

5 January 1974

‘The Goodies in the Nick’ sees a return to the classic format of Goodies episodes, with towering guest star Jack Douglas (of Carry On fame) enlisting the lads’ help to solve a personal problem. Douglas plays Police Sergeant Shark, who though desperate for promotion is afraid of criminals. “Now if you could do something of a criminal nature,” Shark proposes, “I could arrest you.”

“All right. Anything to help our boys in blue,” Tim agrees, then cautions: “As long as we don’t get into trouble.”

But of course they do…

The subsequent bank robbery is quintessential Goodies. The Super Chaps turn up in full Mafioso gear, complete with violin gun-cases (containing violins, which Tim and Graeme pick at, bowless, to elicit tear-jerked donations from the bank customers). Here, as per the dragon scene in ‘Camelot’, a quirky Oddie instrumental suggests scene-setting and ease of endeavour. The robbery is to be run-of-the-mill, the real action saved for later in the episode.

True to their spirit of misapplied cliché/precedent, the Goodies have brought stockings with which to conceal their identities. “I’ve already got mine on. Look.” Bill pulls one trouser leg up. “Fool!” Tim chastises. “You’re supposed to wear them on your head.” Whereupon he puts the unopened packet under his hat!

The police, following a similar logic, turn up with disguises draped across their uniforms and helmets. The Goodies commence their heist. Sergeant Shark keeps leaping out to arrest them, too early, and even appears from inside the bank vault when Graeme unlocks it! Given the absence of anything to steal, Shark writes out a cheque. The Super Chaps make good their escape. Shark at last is given leave to pounce…

“Ha! Your little schemes have been thwarted, eh?” (‘Thwarted’ offering one of the great mis-pronunciations, cleverly prefigured.) “You— you— you— you— you’ve gone, haven’t you?”

Whereupon we’re given an old-fashioned ragtime music chase-scene homage to Keystone Cops. As was so often the case (‘Culture for the Masses’, ‘Scoutrageous’), The Goodies proceed without effort to steal many of the world’s most famous treasures. Tim then cashes in on the success of The Godfather (1972) to become the ‘Goodiefather’,[1] yet the lads are arrested and imprisoned (for not having a dog licence![2]), and three years later reach the belated realisation that all is not as it should be!

Tim, naturally, is patriotic about their incarceration in Her Majesty’s Prison:

Tim: “Don’t you dare talk like that about Her Majesty’s Prison! If it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for us.”

Tim’s patriotic misassumption proves, in fact, to be true! #Goodies50

Picture: Graeme reveals a secret wardrobe in the prison walls, wherein hang various items of royal attire. Bill and Tim stand in front of some lewd graffiti. Bill points to a deluxe toilet.

Nonetheless, they escape, a madcap extravaganza structured around the lads’ manacled balls-and-chains and playing out to six minutes of the classic, driving-funk chase-song extraordinaire ‘Run’. Recapture leads to trial. However, unlike in Series 1’s ‘Give Police a Chance’, this is an abbreviated affair. The Goodies are acquitted. Bill (as judge!) goes power-crazy and begins handing out sentences to all and sundry. The episode ends in a bidding war for how many years Mary Whitehouse should be put away for!

What to say? It’s all good fun, if somewhat effervescent (more fizz than substance). An issues episode without any real issue. Granted, there’s a dig at police corruption (the raid on Tim, Bill and Graeme’s high-stakes card game[3]; the sham identification parade; Shark’s career advancement), but it’s a gentle lampoon, not exactly hard-hitting. ‘The Goodies in the Nick’ is a low-key production—though still big on laughs—catering as if to a burgeoning core of regular viewers, as in the early days.

And why not? Though increasingly in the public eye, these were still the lads who, three years previously, had set out to do ‘anything, any time’. Their diligent, obliging crime spree and toe-tapping prison-break hark back to those nascent escapades.

‘It’s whatever turns you on…’

Jacob Edwards, 5 January 2024


50 years ago today, the Goodies committed a bank robbery to help the police with their arrest rates. Tonight, I shall join them in breaking free from Her Majesty’s Prison...! #Goodies50

Picture: The Goodies in prison garb and long beards, clutching balls-and-chains.
Sergeant Shark’s sob story reduces the Goodies (and his own men) to helpless laughter, much as Bill’s would in Series 5’s ‘Fleet Street Goodies’. #Goodies50

Picture: Sergeant Shark reading out his sob story. The Goodies and the three policemen extras unable to contain their laughter. A similar scene where Bill narrates his tale of woe to Sir Joshua Makepeace.
The Goodies often invited tall guest stars to appear on the show. It offered instant humorous potential! #Goodies50 #JackDouglas

Picture: Jack Douglas as Sergeant Shark, failing to notice Bill.

Dialogue from the episode:
Graeme: As I understand it, promotion in the force is gained on the number of arrests made. How many arrests have you made so far?
Shark: [holding up seven fingers] Two.
Bill: [stepping forward] So—
Shark: Hey? Who’s that?
Bill: Down here.
Shark: Sorry.
Rapid-fire visual humour. Bill, smoking a cigar, shrugs out of his coat and leaves the arm and cigar dangling. He then slides the door’s viewing panel to reveal a picture of Graeme’s face, knocks on it, and when the door opens, Graeme is there, rubbing his nose! #Goodies50

Picture: The scenes just described.

The only overt acknowledgement of these gags comes from Jack Douglas, who puts on some award-worthy gurning as Sergeant Shark (aka ‘CID’). #Goodies50
Having gotten a taste in ‘The Goodies and the Beanstalk’ for not being the person with beans dumped over them, Tim adopts the persona of the ‘Goodiefather’ and orders his henchmen to ‘spill the beans’. #Goodies50 #TheGoodiefather

Picture: Tim as the ‘Goodiefather’, has Bill pour a saucepan full of baked beans over Sergeant Shark. Graeme dumps a blob of bread dough on top.

Dialogue from the episode:
Tim: So, you want us to, ah, spill the beans and hand over the dough?
Shark: Oh, yes please.
Tim: Okay, fellas. Spill the beans and give him the dough.
Bill: Spill the beans...
Tim: Satisfied?
Shark: To be honest, no.
The lads display their usual doomed inventiveness in trying to disguise their balls-and-chains... #Goodies50

Picture: Graeme in a white fur coat, his b&c disguised as a dog on a leash (he then encounters a policeman with a real dog); Tim pretending to be pregnant (until his b&c falls out); Graeme and Bill pretending to be a couple, their b&cs forming Graeme’s enormous bust (until Bill runs away and leaves Graeme a breast short).
One might wonder whether the fish Bill wins by slamming his judge’s gavel is the same one seen swimming in his space helmet (‘Invasion of the Moon Creatures’). Certainly the bowl makes a reappearance in ‘Lips, or Almighty Cod’, home of the erstwhile Gilbert. #Goodies50

Picture: Bill (from ‘Invasion of the Moon Creatures’) with a goldfish swimming inside his space helmet; Bill in judge’s garb wins a fish in a bowl; Tim, Graeme and Bill (from ‘Lips, or Almighty Cod’) with the same fish bowl.
Happy 50th anniversary to ‘The Goodies in the Nick’, a joyous and irreverent return to the ‘anything, any time’ hijinks of earlier series. #Goodies50 #SuperChapsThree

That’s 35 episodes down in my Goodies retrospective: https://www.jacobedwards.id.au/35-the-goodies-in-the-nick/

Next up: The Race!

Picture: The Goodies in their Mafioso bank-robbing attire. Sergeant Shark in plain clothes.

[1] With some no-holds-barred face-slapping gags when Sergeant Shark (and then Bill!) forget his new title and call him ‘Tim’. When Bill is slapped, he can barely keep himself from laughing!

[2] Al Capone, eat your heart out.

[3] Happy Families, played for ever-larger matchsticks.

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