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One of the episodes of the comedy TV series Ripping Yarns. The dull, dreary anti-hero Eric was played by Michael Palin. It was first broadcast on 27 September 1977.

Eric lived in the 1920s in the grey Yorkshire village of Denley Moor. "It were always raining in Denley Moor," thinks Eric in the voiceover, "'cept when it were fine"; and he then proceeds to explain in leaden detail the drizzle and precipitation of the region, as measured in his frequent visits to the rain gauge by the Town Hall.

Another of Eric's interests is shovels. He is fascinated by the fact that his friend Howard Molson has a new shovel, a Spear & Jackson Number 3, but astonished to learn that a bit has broken off it. He retails these stories to anyone who will listen, not that anyone will.

His family bolt their food and feign bilious attacks to avoid him. His father pretends to be French. His mother despairs of his pointing out that the black pudding she's cooking is very black today: "even the white bits are black". Finally they secretly leave home to be free of him.

He goes to visit Our Enid, whom he's supposed to be walking out with, but she's busy having a fling with someone upstairs. Enid's father takes pity on him, and between feeding chunks of meat to the racing vultures, tells him he's a "boring little tit".

Eric resolves to start an exciting career so that people will find him interesting. He applies to join the bank. While the very dull, boring bank manager is telling him he's too dull and boring to work in a bank, a robber bursts in and takes Eric hostage. With his haul he also commandeers the Mayor's limousine. After a chase, they go on foot across treacherous rocks and down a high waterfall (High Force), finally eluding police capture.

At this point the robber (his name is Arthur) turns his gun on his hapless prisoner. Eric, not entirely comprehending, continues to talk about rainfall, black puddings, and his mother, and Arthur takes pity on him. They discover a common interest in precipitation and shovels, form a gang, and terrorize the Yorkshire countryside with their bold robberies, with the result that Eric Olthwaite is seen as a hero, and interesting.

< Tomkinson's Schooldays -- Ripping Yarns -- Escape from Stalag Luft 112B >

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