Each week, we will be taking an in depth look at some of the best sitcoms and comedy shows from both the UK and the USA.
Today we will be looking at a comedy that was so popular in its time there was a film and also was revived last year – Porridge
Opening title Sequence / Theme Tune
About the Show
Summary of Plot
The prison life of Fletcher, a criminal serving a five-year sentence, as he strives to bide his time, keep his record clean, and refuses to be ground down by the prison system. – IMDb
Number of Seasons / Episodes
Ronnie Barker – Norman Stanley Fletcher
Brian Wilde – Mr Barrowclough
Fulton Mackay – Mr Mackay
Richard Beckinsale – Lennie Godber
- All who knew Richard Beckinsale were shocked and devastated by his death, particularly Ronnie Barker. He was so upset, he couldn’t work for several days.
- The producers and the writers were keen to make more episodes, but Ronnie Barker was wary of being “stuck with a character” and also wanted to move on to other projects
- Writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and actor Ronnie Barker all came up with “Porridge” (British slang for serving a prison sentence, porridge once being the traditional breakfast in UK prisons) as the title, independently of each other
- Godber’s fiancée Denise was often referred to, but never appeared. However a photograph of Judy Loe, Richard Beckinsale’s wife, hung by Godber’s bunk.
- Ronnie Barker could slip in and out of character effortlessly
- The BBC production team had planned to film Porridge in a real prison. However, before filming began the Home Office refused, so the BBC improvised. They used the main gatehouse of former St Albans Prison at Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire as the main gate of “Slade Prison”. The Gatehouse is now St Albans Register Office. Slade Prison’s metal walkways and communal area were filmed in a large metal tank at Elstree Studios. The huge tank was previously used for underwater filming however the BBC converted it into the two floor ‘prison’ seen in the programme. External scenes at “Slade” (e.g. the rooftop strike, exercise ground) were filmed at various London psychiatric hospitals. Most other interior scenes (e.g. Fletcher’s cell) were filmed at BBC Studios.
Fletcher offers words of wisdom
Whats a rilk?