Porridge


Welcome to our section about the comedy programme Porridge

 

FACTFILE
ON THE AIR 5th September 1974 - 25th March 1977
ORIGINAL CHANNEL BBC 1
PRODUCTION COMPANY BBC Television
NUMBER OF EPISODES 21
PRODUCTION LOCATIONS BBC Television Centre
CAST Full Cast Listings
   
MISSING BELIEVED WIPED N/A - All epsiodes still in existence
ARCHIVE HOLDERS BBC Worldwide
Unit 14-18 Perivale Industrial Estate
Horsenden
UB6 7RW

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/
   
THEME TUNE The opening titles to Porridge starts off with a judge sentencing Norman Stanley Fletcher to five years in prision. The voice of the unseen judge? well that would be Ronnie Barker himself

"Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court and it is now my duty to pass sentence.

You are an habitual criminal who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner.

We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences — you will go to prison for five years."


(The pilot episode continues with the judge asking "Do you have reply to the court? the shot is changed to Fletcher on the train to slade prision and saying the word "cobblers")

Closing credits - Instrumental
 
   
HELD IN THE BRITSET ARCHIVE Pilot Episode - Prisioner and Escort (TX 01/04/1973)
Episode #1.1 - New Faces, Old Hands (TX 05/09/1974)
Episode #1.2 - The Hustler (TX 12/09/1974)
Episode #1.3 - A Night In (TX 19/09/1974)
Episode #2.7 - No Way Out (24/12/1975)
Episode #2.8 - The Desperate Hours (24/12/1976)

 

 

Porridge was a comedy written by Dick Clemens and Ian La Frenais and set in the fictional Slade Prision. The show was centred around the charactor of Norman Stanley Fletcher, known to his fellow inmates as Fletch. Fletch was an old hand having spent much of his adult life inside and very much knew the score on how to survive prision and to make it as pleasurable as he could. He would often take other prisioners under his wing, one such prisioner was his cellmate Lenny Gobder who was a first-timer who wanted to keep his head down and nose clean. Fletcher woudl try to help others but often his desire to look after himself would cause him some internal conflict. Other inmates included Warren (an inmate who could not read so got Fletch to read his letters from his girlfriend), Heslop (a rather dense prisioner who woud often get confused), Ives (often referred to as "orrible Ives" who was thoroughly disliked by everyone), Lukewarm (a camp prisioner into tea and knitting who had a partner called Trevor who was jealous that Lukewarm was inside with other men), MacClaren (a black Scot with a temper) and Genial Harry Grout (an elderly man who ran the prision because everyone was scared of him even the narks who had him in a luxury cell).

The main two prision guards in the series were Mr MacKay and Mr Barrowclough who could not have been any different. MacKay had a military background and stood for no nonsense, he dispised Fletcher who was always trying to outsmart him. Mr Barrowclough was nieve and was easily persuaded by Fletcher who woud use Barrowclough's indecisiveness to twist him around his little finger. Mr Barrowclough would often confide with Fletcher about his marital problems and they shared some kind of bond because of this. The prision was run by Mr Venerables who was weak willed liked Barrowclough and was frequently worrying about various aspects, not always related to the job in hand (in the first epsidoe he is more concerned about the health of his tropical fish).

The show had a spin off callled Going Straight were we see Fletcher having served his time being released from Slade Prision and try and build a life on the outside and on the straight and narrow. Richard Beckinsdale returned to his role as Godber in this series, he sadly passed away not longer after Going Straight was finished filming.


SEVEN OF ONE - 1973

Porridge started out as a pilot episode on the series Seven of One where Ronnie Barker played a different charactor in each episode. The second programme in that series was called Prisioner and Escort and it introduces us to Fletcher and the prision guards Mr MacKay and Mr Barrowclough who are taking him to Slade prision. Barker was hesistant on making this a series instead wanting to choose a different episode (one where he played a Welsh gambler) however fortunately he was persuaded in the end to make Porridge.

The other epsiode of Seven of One to made into a series was Open All Hours which had been the first programme of the series.


 
   
  Play Video
Seven of One [Titles]
Episode #1.2 - Prisioner and Escort
1st April 1973
BBC Television




PORRIDGE [TITLES] - 1974

 

 

 
   
  Play Video
Porridge [Titles]
Episode #1.1 - New Faces, Old Hands
5th September 1974
BBC Television

 

PORRIDGE - 1974

 

   
  Porridge
1974
BBC Television

PORRIDGE [CREDITS] - 1974

 



 
   
  Play Video
Porridge [Credits]
Episode #1.1 - New Faces, Old Hands
5th September 1974
BBC Television



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