|This Radio Times Cover from September|
1974 displays a photofit of Ronnie Barker
as Fletcher and also wrongly credits
Porridge as starting on Wednesday!
Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement's comedic look at life behind bars in HM prison Slade kicked off as a pilot entitled Prisoner and Escort in 1973 as part of Ronnie Barker's series Seven Of One.
In Prisoner and Escort Ronnie Barker took on the role of lovable lag Norman Stanley Fletcher sentenced to five years at Her Majesty's pleasure. Fletcher is seen making his way to Slade Prison accompanied by Prison Officers Mr MacKay and Mr Barrowclough.
|The first full series of Porridge began with the|
episode New Faces, Old Hands - Radio Times, September 1974
|All three series of Porridge were novelised by BBC Books|
during the 1970s, these two examples represent the
first two series.
|February 1978 saw Fletcher's third and final appearance|
on the front of Radio Times as he leaves Slade Prison
in Going Straight
|Porridge regulars Fulton Mackay and Tony Osoba featured|
in the first episode of Going Straight. Richard Beckinsale
would join Ronnie Barker for subsequent episodes.
|Going Straight was published|
by BBC books in 1978
|Robin Bootell provided this superb illustration|
for Pan Books edition of Fletcher's Cockney
Rhyming Slang by Ronnie Barker in 1979
Both Porridge and Going Straight have continued to be repeated on television over the years and releases on video and DVD have guaranteed its longevity. The series even transferred to a film in 1979 and was completed just before Richard Beckinsale died. There was a further adaptation in 2009 when Calibre Productions enlisted the series writers to adapt Porridge for the stage.
|Porridge reappeared on the stage in 2009, written by|
Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and starring Shaun
Williamson from EastEnders as Fletcher.
The above is a flyer, ticket and my review from The
South Wales Argus.
- Audiobook Review: Porridge Featuring Ronnie Barker
- Ronnie Barker Serves Time On Vintage Beeb
- Book Review: The Best Of British Comedy: Dad's Army / Porridge
- Theatre Review: Porridge At The New Theatre, Cardiff