To ‘International Station’ on the London tube network, where this week a shocking sequence of events led to the detention of children’s television star and long-time Transport For London employee, ‘Underground’ Ernie Baines, for a series of crimes as unexpected as they are senseless. “I never suspected old Ern was capable of anything like this.” Said Ernie’s colleague and co-star ‘Mr. Rails’ the loveable maintenance man (voiced by Tim Withnall). “Whenever the cameras roll he’s an enthusiastic and friendly member of the team who enjoys his day job, even when multiple signal failures lead to the closure of the Jubilee Line, again. Outside of work hours Ern keeps himself to himself, but none of the cast or crew ever noticed anything unusual. I suppose the brightest stars have the darkest secrets, and this skeleton in his cupboard has resulted in the biggest scandal to envelope our industry since that bloke who played the Teletubby turned These hidden proclivities were in danger of exposure from the moment Underground Ernie lured a heat exhausted city trader in her thirties into his personal area-cum-dressing room, a part of International Station to which the tube worker enjoys sole access. The unlucky woman, one Margie Poppers, picks up “I’d just got off a packed train which had been stuck in a tunnel outside Embankment for ten minutes and I was sweating like a pig on a stick. Feeling faint, I managed to struggle through the barrier, but found I couldn’t walk anymore and was about to collapse. Then I saw the familiar figure of Underground Ernie approaching, a look of concern on his
CGI-ed face. He offered me a place to sit down and said there was a spare Mini Milk I could suck on until I felt better.
Well, of course I trusted him, Ernie’s famous, and my sister’s kids love him. So he helped me to this private place
and then, well, I’ve already told the police what happened, I don’t really want to repeat it…”
According to Miss Poppers’ witness statement, there was no ice lolly. Once Ernie had enticed the woman back to his den he locked the door behind them, then advanced upon her, attempting to paw at Margie’s damp body with his big, clumsy hands. Fortunately for the lady trader she found the strength to fend off Ernie’s assault, and her cries soon drew the attention of several members of the public, who alerted the station controller, Max Trough. After a brief stand off, Ernie was prevailed upon to leave his quarters, whereupon Trough punched the cartoon character in his face and kidneys, rendering Ernie immobile until the police arrived.
Up until then no one had cause to suspect Underground Ernie of anything more than a pathological dedication to
his job. This loveable character was a role model to millions of UK children who wanted to grow up to be just like
him; announcing which tube lines have had to shut down because of snow or defective trains. The star of a
regular television show on BBC2 and Cbeebies, Ernie was originally introduced to the British public as a comical
Tube worker, helping passengers decide where to change for the District Line and getting into all kinds of
fun-filled scrapes with his network of train friends; Victoria the Queen, the twins; Hammersmith & City, and
Circle, a pot smoking hippy chick who practices a locomotive form of free love. Voiced by long-time child obesity supporter Gary Lineker (who is himself the subject of a police investigation, following fraudulent claims that a family size bag of crisps contains no more salt then a tiny piece of bread one might feed a moorhen), Ernie’s media image was very much that of the idealized public transport worker. Unpleasant aspects of the job such as going on strike in support of dodgy colleagues, or scraping ‘leapers’ off the tracks after they’d been run over by an onrushing train, were never broadcast to the general public or their TV addicted ankle-biters. This led to an idealised vision of Ernie’s efforts, with the media regularly depicting him as something akin to a subterranean saint.
Some say this discrepancy between the public’s perception and the painful realities of his job precipitated
Ernie’s illicit behaviour, while one psychologist claims it goes back further, to childhood. Back then little
Ernest was the only animated boy in school, his bulbous body, misshapen features and scary, vacant eyes
rendering him an outcast and keeping Ernie a single virgin to this day. But whatever the reason for his
actions, following Underground Ernie’s arrest, more victims of his dirty proclivities have found the courage to
“We are currently investigating a number of cases in which the suspect may have been involved.” Metropolitan Police spokesman Dobby Soopa told a press conference earlier today. “These allegations were made by commuters and cover stalking, physical assault, and possible gross indecency. Mr. Baines’ access to the International Station CCTV screens afforded him the opportunity to select female victims at will, then rub up against these girls on platforms or entice them back to his bolthole. We intend to press charges as soon as there is sufficient evidence, although some convictions may be easier to obtain than others. In common with many cartoon characters, Ernie does not possess genitalia, so indecent exposure is impossible to prove. Nevertheless, a search of Ernie’s den revealed many calling cards of the voyeur. We found video tapes of unsuspecting passengers, various sex workers’ business cards, and a veritable treasure trove of hardcore pornography. This man led a double life, that’s for sure.”
Ernie has now been released on police bail following his arraignment, but with the television series off-air
indefinitely, his ongoing suspension from work, and an estimated 500K in lost merchandise deals, the future
looks bleak indeed. Home Defence were unable to get past Ernie’s lawyers, although we did speak to a
remorse-stricken Gary Lineker who had this to say:
“I don’t know if I can forgive myself. Some of us had our suspicions from the start, but I just buried them and took the money. Now I have to go on with my life, knowing countless innocent children will wake up tonight in a cold sweat, haunted by nightmares of Underground Ernie’s blocky body advancing towards them, a lascivious gleam in his eye and drool spuming from that leery mouth. The guilt’s terrible, but that’s nothing compared to the ribbing I’ll get from Alan and ‘Lawro’ when Match of the Day returns.” Lineker then broke down and was taken away to be comforted by his colleague, International Station’s resident multi-lingual computer expert Millie (voiced by Janet Brown).