Porridge. Image shows from L to R: Norman Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker), Lennie Godber (Richard Beckinsale). Image credit: WitzEnd Productions.

Porridge

A feature film based on the British television series of the same name. Features Ronnie Barker and the regular cast in the classic prison comedy

AKA:
Doing Time (USA)
Genre:
Sitcom
Released:
1979
Starring:
Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale, Fulton Mackay, Brian Wilde, Peter Vaughan, Geoffrey Bayldon, Daniel Peacock, Barrie Rutter, Sam Kelly, Ken Jones, Christopher Godwin
Writers:
Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Production:
WitzEnd Productions

Harry Grout, Slade Prison's resident bigwig, is arranging for the escape of fellow prisoner, Oakes, under the guise of a celebrities vs convicts morale-boosting football match.

Fletcher and Godber, nearing the end of their respective sentences, are horrified to find themselves roped in on the scheme - try as they might, Grouty's just not a man you can say 'no' to.

As the villainous plot unfolds, the pair find themselves even deeper in it than they'd feared, and are soon outside the prison walls themselves. It may be something they've dreamed of for years, but so close to their release dates, the duo are far more concerned about suffering even longer sentences for escaping.

Splitting from Oakes's getaway, Fletch and Godber are in a race against time to get themselves back across country undetected, and back inside the prison walls without being caught. Whoever heard of convicts wanting to break into a prison?

Our Review: Porridge excelled as one of Britain's best loved sitcoms of all time, with an exceptional cast and witty storylines, so creating a feature length film adaptation certainly carried some risk.

Fortunately, the 1979 film version of Porridge managed to fulfil all expectations and delivers the same witty scripting and acting performances we saw in the original series.

Although a little slow to start (which is understandable considering the need to set the scene for those who aren't familiar with the existing premise), the film's plot provides laugh after laugh. Seeing Fletcher and Godber struggle to sneak back into the very place we've seen them despise for so long is entertaining in itself, and the two lead performances by Barker and Beckinsale increase the chuckle-rate ten fold. In fact, the entire cast is, as usual, on great form.

Porridge is a must-see for lovers of the original television series. Come to think of it, it's essential viewing for any fan of quick-witted writing, superb comic acting and good old fashioned British determination.