English     8.1     1974     GB


Porridge is a British situation comedy broadcast on BBC1 from 1974 to 1977, running for three series, two Christmas specials and a feature film also titled Porridge. Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it stars Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale as two inmates at the fictional HMP Slade in Cumberland. "Doing porridge" is British slang for serving a prison sentence, porridge once being the traditional breakfast in UK prisons. The series was followed by a 1978 sequel, Going Straight, which established that Fletcher would not be going back to prison again. Porridge was voted number seven in a 2004 BBC poll of the 100 greatest British sitcoms.


CinemaSerf wrote:
It's hard to believe that there were only ever twenty episodes of this classic British comedy ever made. Ronnie Barker ("Fletch") is fantastic as the habitual criminal sent to Her Majesty's Prison "Slade" - perched in the northern reaches of England - for five years. His cellmate is the honest, but supremely naive "Godber" (Richard Becksinsale) and the series depicts their antics surviving the authoritarian regime of "Mr. Mackay" (the outstanding Fulton Mackay) in his uniform, and "Grouty" (the comically menacing Peter Vaughan) on the inside. Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais have created a wonderfully pithy, cynical and enjoyable observation of their determined struggle not to be ground down by the system. A superb ensemble cast led by the wonderfully hapless prison officer Brian Wilde ("Mr. Barrowclough") introduce us to different themes for each of the editions ranging from pinching a tin of (much sought after) pineapple chunks; their own kangaroo court with the thief amongst thieves "Warren" (Sam Kelly) and an almost constant battle to keep control of the supply of toilet rolls! The humour is dark and potent, flighty and flimsy - but there is always a wonderful spirit about the characters, an integrity, that keeps these half hour comedic adventures as funny now as they were when penned almost 50 years ago. A bit like Croft and Perry's contemporary "Dad's Army", this is another inspired example of a BBC sitcom that you can watch over and over again...