Eric Olthwaite is so boring that his family all leave home to escape him. Then one day he is accidentally caught up in a bank robbery and discovers that the robber shares his interests in ... See full summary »




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Episode complete credited cast:
Eric Olthwaite / Bank Manager
Barbara New ...
Mrs. Olthwaite
John Barrett ...
Mr. Olthwaite
Anita Carey ...
Irene Olthwaite
Mrs. Bag
Mr. Bag
Petra Markham ...
Enid Bag
Roger Avon ...
Clifford Kershaw ...
Norman Mitchell ...
1st Pressman
Anthony Smee ...
2nd Pressman
Marcelle Samett ...
Boy's Mother
Peter Graham ...


Eric Olthwaite is so boring that his family all leave home to escape him. Then one day he is accidentally caught up in a bank robbery and discovers that the robber shares his interests in shovels,black pudding and rainfall so they team up to make daring raids to steal rainfall records. As a result Eric becomes famous and is considered interesting again,so much so that he is made the mayor of Denley Moor. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Adventure | Comedy

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Release Date:

27 September 1977 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Eric Olthwaite: It were hard to accept I were boring. Especially with my interest in rain fall.
See more »


Referenced in Ripping Yarns: Golden Gordon (1979) See more »


The Ballad of Eric Olthwaite
by André Jacquemin (as Andre Jacquemin) and Dave Howman
See more »

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User Reviews

The bore of Denley Moor!
17 April 2014 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

'The Testing Of Eric Olthwaite' was the first 'Ripping Yarns' episode made following the pilot 'Tomkinson's Schooldays'. Palin and Jones decided to remove the Pythonesque element from the show, and do something in a gentler vein. 'Testing' tells the story of Eric Olthwaite ( Palin ), a man so incredibly boring his interests go no further than how black a black pudding can be, his neighbour's shovels, and rainfall. His family get so fed up of him they leave home, taking the outside loo with them. Eric decides to make himself more interesting by getting a job in a bank, and that's where he meets 'Arthur' ( Ken Colley, who played 'Jesus' in 'Monty Python's Life Of Brian' ), who is robbing the place. Arthur takes along Eric as hostage...

As noted earlier, the humour is considerably different from the previous episode. There is affection on view for the characters, particularly boring old Eric. Influences here come from any number of Northern dramas, the Alec Guinness movie 'The Card', 'Bonnie & Clyde', and even a famous television commercial for Hovis bread. The supporting cast includes Barbara New and John Barett as Eric parents, Anita Carey as Eric's toilet-mouthed sister, Petra Markham as 'Enid Bag' ( who is sexually promiscuous but Eric never notices this ), and Reg Lye ( an Australian actor who came to Britain in the 19960's and made a living playing Cockneys, Scots, and various assorted nationalities! ).

Funniest moment - Eric fetching coal for the fire. Its located in a sideboard in the living room!

Palin and Jones decided to have another crack at northern melodrama in Season 2's 'Golden Gordon' ( which references 'Testing' ).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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