After Monty Python ended in 1974 the BBC was eager to find new projects for the now ex-Pythons.
Among the first was Tomkinson's Schooldays, a spoof of Tom Brown's Schooldays, written by and starring Michael Palin and Terry Jones, featuring young Tomkinson's attempts to escape a school where pupils are shot for disobedience and regularly nailed to the walls for fun. Tomkinson was a great success. Within a week of it being aired Palin and Jones were at the BBC being quizzed about prospects for more shows along the same lines.
Inspired by the comic potential of a "Ripping Tales" annual, Ripping Yarns was born. Over two series, Jones and Palin delivered up a series of parodies of the pre-war stories of derring-do and moral tales of quiet heroism "oop north" on which they had been reared.