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.
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2 First series (1977):
3 Second series (1979):
First series (1977):
Second series (1979):
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.
The scripts were published in book form, with suitably sepia-tinted stills, as Ripping Yarns and More Ripping Yarns, and later collected in an omnibus volume, The Complete Ripping Yarns.
more detail on books to follow, hopefully