On the eve of the Great War Roger Bartlesham's aristocratic parents are firm believers in the Empire though Roger, encouraged by socialist Latin teacher Mr Hopper,dreams of equality and opening a tea...
New boarder Tomkinson is thoroughly miserable at Graybridge public school where he has to fight the grizzly bear,get nailed to the wall on St Tadger's Day and do the bidding of Grayson,also known as ...
Surreal, sketch based TV comedy series. Two series were produced in 1967 by the commercial company Associated Rediffusion. In style and content, a forerunner of 'Monty Python's Flying ... See full summary »
Long running British situation comedy with the vaguest of situations. The Goodies are a three man agency whose brief is to do 'anything, anytime'. This gave the series carte blanche to do ... See full summary »
In this mock-documentary, John Cleese narrates a series of sketches on irritation -- types and techniques. Included are parents irritating their children, old ladies irritating movie-goers ... See full summary »
A bassist shows up early for the betrothal ball of a beautiful princess, and whiles away the time having a dip in the river. The princess is doing the same, unbeknownst to the bass player, ... See full summary »
Michael Murray is an ambitious and charismatic politician, Jim Nelson is a much loved headmaster of a local school for disturbed children. When the paths of these two men cross, things are ... See full summary »
Francis Ashby, a senior Oxford don on holiday alone in the Alps, meets holidaying American Caroline and her companion Elinor, the blossoming Irish-American girl she adopted many years ... See full summary »
Long running BBC comedy show consisting of sketches and humourous musical routines involving the large Ronnie Barker and the small Ronnie Corbett. Most sketches involved both men, but ... See full summary »
The Fred Tomlinson Singers
In the early years of the post Monty Python split, everybody went on to their solo projects, with greater or lesser success. Although Cleese's 'Fawlty Towers' is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Michael Palin and Terry Jones's 'Ripping Yarns (same period, also two seasons) gives it a very close run for its money - especially for those who prefer the surreal Palin/Jones Oxford humour to the slightly more orthodox Cleese/Chapman Cambridge style.
'Ripping Yarns' is basically a send up of 'Boys Own' style between-the-wars boys adventure magazines, which might not make a great deal of sense to American audiences, but when I played the episode 'Winfrey's Last Case' to a friend in San Diego he was almost reduced to tears.
There were twelve(?) 'Ripping Yarns' stories, and one shouldn't infer anything from that. Each of the episode/stories was entirely different and unique; almost a mini-movie based on a generic Boy's Own/Chums 1920-30's tale. A couple of them ('Across the Andes by Frog', for example) fall slightly short, but most of them are inspired works of genius.
There is 'Tomkinsons's School Days', where the horrors of British public school life are parodied to hilarious effect (have you ever built an Icebreaker in metalwork class?), 'Golden Gordon', about a football-obsessed father who smashes his house to pieces every time his team loses (which they've done every week since about 1913), 'Winfrey's Last Case' - a hilarious Biggles type adventure about spies on the Dorset coast, Escape From Stalag 117' (or something), a tearfully funny send-up of 'The Great Escape' type yarns, and perhaps the most celebrated episode 'The Testing of Eric Orthwaite', where a boring young northern man obsessed with rain gauges and shovels is thrust into a life of crime to impress his love interest. It sports the unforgettable newspaper headline:
'Orthwaite gang strikes again: Bank manager tells of night of boredom'
(This episode has just a few shades of Woody Allen's 'Take the Money and Run')
Pound for pound, 'Ripping Yarns' stacks up against any British comedy series of the 70's, and proves that Palin was the best actor of the Python crew, and along with Cleese and maybe Jones, the best writer.
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