Sunday, 29 May 2016

402 Ripping Yarns

First  viewed : Uncertain

I'm  not  sure  when  I  first  caught  this. I  remember  my  friends  talking  about  it, specifically  the story  Tomkinson's  Schooldays  which  I  gathered  had  been  a  little  rude  in  May  1978   which was  already  a  repeat  of  the  first  series. I'm  not  sure  whether  I  saw  the  first  broadcast  of  the second  season  ( all  three  episodes  of  it )  on  BBC 2  in  October  1979  or  a  repeat  of  the   whole  set  of  stories  on  BBC1 in  1980.

Ripping  Yarns  was  the  brainchild   of  Pythons  Michael  Palin  and  Terry  Jones  and  the  self-contained  stories  in  the  series  were  affectionate  parodies   of  pre-war  boys  literature. Jones  was too   busy   directing   The  Life  of  Brian   to  appear  beyond  the  pilot  episode  so  Palin  was  left to  carry  all  the  subsequent  stories  on  his  own.

If  you  know  the  series  and  are  familiar  with  my  other  blogs  you  won't  have  too  much difficulty  in  identifying  my  favourite  episode , the  glorious  Golden  Gordon. Exaggerated  as  it is,  nothing  else  has  come  close  to  capturing  the  masochistic  joy  of  supporting  a  generally unsuccessful  football  club. We've all  come  home  wanting  to  smash  the  house  up  like  Gordon after  a  trouncing  and  yearned  for  a  return  to  some  golden  age  receding  ever  further  into  the past. For  Dale  fans  the  equivalent  to  Barnstoneworth's   legendary  Davitt  was  Reg  Jenkins, star of  the  69-70  promotion  side  and  only  in  the  last  few  years  have  we  started  putting  him  to rest.

Gordon  has  cast  such  a  long  shadow  that  my  memory  of  the  other  stories  is  a  bit  sketchy and  I'm  not  even  sure  that  I've  seen  them  all. The  downfall  of  the  series  was  its  high production  costs, the  Beeb  deciding  after  three  episodes  of  the  second  season  that  they  could not  afford  to  finance  any  more.

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