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Ripping Yarns [DVD] [1976]

4.6 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Palin, Charles McKeown, Barbara New, David Griffin, Michael Stainton
  • Directors: Terry Hughes
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Revelation
  • DVD Release Date: 21 April 2000
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCPM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,981 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Three episodes from the 1970s BBC comedy series, written by Monty Python's Michael Palin. 'Tomkinson's Schooldays' is a tale of stiff upper-lips in the face of schoolroom bullying. 'Escape from Stalag Luft 112B' spoofs every prison camp movie ever made. Whilst 'Golden Gordon' features the trials of a footballing fanatic desperate to revive the fortunes of his local team.

From Amazon.co.uk

After Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74), and well before going Around the World in 80 Days (1989), Pole to Pole (1992) or even Full Circle (1997), Michael Palin starred in Ripping Yarns, co-written with Terry Jones. As the title suggests, these were spoofs, affectionate pastiche-come-homage Boy's Own-type adventures. Each was an individual short film, less bizarre than the Flying Circus, not so consistently hilarious as fellow ex-Python John Cleese's Fawlty Towers, but inventively surreal with a daffy, gloriously English eccentricity. "Tomkinson's Schooldays" was the 45-minute pilot (originally shown as a one-off programme in 1976) and the funniest of the three tales here. A parody of Tom Brown's Schooldays, the humour comes from the violence, cruelty and insane rules of Graybridge public school in which the unfortunate Tomkinson is incarcerated. Ian Ogilvy is a fine School Bully, terrifying even Terry Jones' useless headmaster. "Escape from Stalag Luft 112B" is a P.O.W. movie send-up (from the first series), and "Golden Gordon" (from Series 2) celebrates the man who won't give-up on an underdog northern football team. In 1983 Palin made The Missionary, essentially a feature-film Ripping Yarn. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'Ripping Yarns' has been woefully mistreated by the DVD format. Originally Meridian Entertainment bought the rights from the BBC, and put out six episodes on two DVDs with no extras whatsoever. But they gave up without releasing the final three episodes. Since then, the DVDs have become gold-dust -- just look at the price of used copies on amazon.
Now BBC Worldwide have put everything right and released all nine episodes on two DVDs, with a commentary track from Mike Palin and Terry Jones clearly enjoying themselves as they watch the episodes for the first time in 25 years.

At long last we can see, for example, 'Murder at Moorstones Manor'. I'd only seen it twice before -- both occasions on terrestrial BBC in the late 1970s -- and, like so much vintage comedy, today it's not quite as good as I remember it. But it's still great. Palin always enjoyed playing the obsessive -- whether the car enthusiast in 'Moorstones' or the rain-gauge fan in 'Eric Olthwaite'.

The pamphlet that comes with the DVD package is very informative detailing, for example, the audience figures for both the initial broadcast and the repeat. Amazingly, the best episode ('Tomkinson's Schooldays') had the smallest viewing figures. But that was the price it paid for being the first episode in a series that the 1970s BBC, with zero marketing awareness, failed to advertise.
The commentary track is interesting, although switching it on means that you miss much of the well-chosen dialogue. Michael is very well informed about all the personnel involved with each episode and what they have subsequently achieved, but Terry's knowledge of the series is now so minimal that you wonder whether he ever worked on the project! Personally it's fascinating for me to hear Mike talking about his other projects (e.g.
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By A Customer on 17 Oct. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A quarter of a century on, "Ripping Yarns" remains for me the ultimate example of British comic genius and I am delighted to see that the full set of nine yarns is being issued on DVD.
Like its much better known brother "Fawlty Towers", "Ripping Yarns" is a product of the Monty Python era and consists of nine stories penned by Michael Palin and Terry Jones and originally transmitted in the late Seventies. Palin himself stars as the central character in all of them - in fact, in some of them he plays several characters - and the series showcases his abilities as a comedy actor as well as demonstrating the brilliance of his and Jones' writing.
The yarns are affectionate spoofs of various aspects of British life in the early decades of the twentieth century, ranging from the rarefied atmosphere of Graybridge public school and its elaborate range of disciplinary measures ("Tomkinson's Schooldays") to the grimness of the Thirties' Depression where Yorkshire lad Eric Olthwaite sprang to national fame in the most unlikely of circumstances.
It is the characters we meet along the way who make the yarns so memorable: Eric Olthwaite, the amazing Uncle Jack from "The Curse of the Claw" and his incredible hobby (true ingenuity here from Palin and Jones!), the crusty old father in "Murder at Moorstones Manor".
Like "Fawlty Towers", this is comedy that has never dated, and its relative lack of familiarity should mean it retains most of its impact of old even amongst those who do remember the programme. Anyone who appreciates this brand of comedy and has never seen the yarns before is in for a rare treat!
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Format: DVD
An excellent double DVD package, made with real fans of the series in mind. As well as every episode ever made, there are some really nice touches that put this DVD into the 5 star category. For example, the ability to watch most (7/9) episodes without the audience laughter track (what a great idea), and the original scripts as Acrobat Reader (.pdf) files, is superb. Even the inlay card is great. The booklet is detailed and interesting, and perfect for people like me who use those multiple DVD holder cases...
If only every olf favourite series got this amount of attention lavished upon it, but I'm just thankful that the BBC have done such a fine job on this release. Excellent.
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Format: DVD
Ripping Yarns is a British television comedy series, shown on BBC 2 from 1976 to 1979. It was written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.

The series grew out of a one-off BBC programme called Tomkinson's Schooldays, loosely inspired by Tom Brown's Schooldays. Palin and Jones both wrote and starred in multiple roles with Palin in all 9 episodes, whilst Jones only appeared in four.
The first series opened with perhaps the best story, Tomkinson's Schooldays which is followed by The Testing of Eric Olthwaite, Escape from Stalag Luft 112B, Murder at Moorstones Manor, Across the Andes by Frog and The Curse of the Claw.

Series 2 only saw three episodes; Whinfrey's Last Case, Golden Gordon (look out for John Cleese's fleeting cameo appearance) and the final episode Roger of the Raj.

This was BBC comedy drama at its best and it promoted Michael Palin as a star in his own right. I can not recommend this highly enough.

I hope this review has been helpful.
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By S J Buck TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 April 2007
Format: DVD
This DVD set contains the original pilot episode "Tomkinsons Schooldays" first broadcast in 1976. The first series of 5 episodes broadcast in 1977 and the second series of 3 episodes originally broadcast in 1979.

The idea was prompted by an old Ripping Yarns annual that Michael Palin had given to Terry Jones as a gift. The episodes are all Pythonesque with many great moments in nearly all the episodes. John Cleese makes a memorable, but brief, cameo role appearance in "Golden Gordon" which is amongst the best episodes.

There are some great extras on the DVD. Perhaps best of all you can watch the episodes without the laughter track. There are commentaries from Michael Palin and Terry Jones as well as a documentary made in 1982 and an additional 1973 comedy starring Warren Mitchell written by MP and TJ.

Very funny and well worth watching over and over.
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