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Ripping Yarns

Ripping Yarns was a television comedy series loosely in the style of Monty Python written by former Pythons Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Each episode neatly parodied some pre-war schoolboy genre or other.

The series grew out of a one-off programme called "Tomkinson's Schooldays" (1975), loosely inspired by Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes[?]. Palin and Jones both wrote and starred in multiple roles.

A series of five episodes was screened in 1977, following a repeat of "Tomkinson's Schooldays" as the de facto pilot episode. A second series of three episodes followed in 1979. Jones did not appear in any of the later 8 episodes, and Palin usually confined himself to one or two roles per episode.

Pilot (1975):

  • "Tomkinson's Schooldays"

First series (1977):

  • "Tomkinson's Schooldays" (repeat of pilot with series title sequence added)
  • "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite"
  • "Escape from Stalag Luft 112 B"
  • "Murder at Moorstones Manor"
  • "Across the Andes by Frog"
  • "The Curse of the Claw"

Second series (1979):

  • "Whinfrey's Last Case"
  • "Golden Gordon"
  • "Roger of the Raj

The pilot was shot on videotape with filmed exterior scenes and has a laugh track. The remaining episodes were all shot on film. They were also originally shown with laugh tracks, but with a couple of exceptions these have been omitted from repeats.



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