Porridge (2016) - Series 1 Page 3

Porridge. Image shows from L to R: Aziz (Harman Singh), Officer Braithwaite (Dominic Coleman), Joe Lotterby (Dave Hill), Officer Meekie (Mark Bonnar), Fletch (Kevin Bishop), Shel (Jason Barnett). Copyright: BBC.

Porridge

Reinvention of the classic Ronnie Barker sitcom Porridge. Fletch's grandson, Fletch, is imprisoned for cyber crimes

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Monday 16th October 2017, 10:22am [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,120 posts

I missed the pilot but gather it was well liked by viewers and critics which got the show a series commission. The fact that both press and viewer response has significantly cooled after two eps brings up a potential problem imo with the scheme of using a televised pilot as a test for a full series commission. If you're putting everything in to writing a one off 'come look at me' show but then can't replicate the quality for another six eps then you're going to cop the full flack of bad reviews, there is nowhere to hide from them, not these days.

Of course the poor response to the show so far it seems isn't as much down to the scripts as the quality of actors, who for me aren't anywhere near strong or photogenic enough for such an iconic sitcom where the characters really mattered and the actors playing them shone. There wasn't a single actor in the original Porridge who didn't look or sound like a real character. This lot imo, apart from the Mr Barrowclough copy and mayyybe Bishop are instantly forgettable and cannot hold a good long close up or deliver a strong line like Barker, MacKay, Beckinsale, Vaughan, Jason or any of the rest. With the original cast, I think the current scripts would be hitting the target much much better. So just where have all these strong character actors gone? Has Elton nicked them all for Upstart Crow, a comparatively strong cast who do justice to his scripts?

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Paul Wimsett

  • Thursday 19th October 2017, 11:03am [Edited]
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,382 posts

I think you're confusing it with a beauty parade, Kipper. If you thought Grouty or Horrible Ives were the prime of English manhood you've got problems.

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Facet

  • Thursday 30th November 2017, 2:50pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 posts

Well written but poorly executed.
The main actor (can't remember his name) is a bit too 'silly' for lack of a better word. Yes Ronnie Barker was a comedian in a comedy but he acted very world-weary and seemed like a criminal, this guy doesn't,

I did genuinely laugh a few times but there's no comparison to the original.

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gb901

  • Tuesday 20th February 2018, 4:31pm
  • norwich, United Kingdom
  • 394 posts
Quote: Facet @ 30th November 2017, 2:50 PM

Well written but poorly executed.
The main actor (can't remember his name) is a bit too 'silly' for lack of a better word. Yes Ronnie Barker was a comedian in a comedy but he acted very world-weary and seemed like a criminal, this guy doesn't,

I did genuinely laugh a few times but there's no comparison to the original.

Yes, I think you got the problem with this show in a nutshell : it lacks conviction (pardon the pun). Bishop etc al give the impression of a brief stint on a holiday camp - not having lost their liberty and incarcerated in prison!

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beaky

  • Tuesday 20th February 2018, 6:51pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,719 posts

Remember the marvellous episode from the original series, "A quiet night in" I think it was called, just Fletch and Godber locked in their cell for the night, talking about coping with imprisonment and their lives in general...brilliant, bittersweet writing and acting...there's nothing to remotely touch that in the remake.

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lofthouse

  • Thursday 22nd February 2018, 9:17pm
  • Nowhere, England
  • 9,480 posts

Series 2 cancelled

Hallelujah

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Friday 23rd February 2018, 9:36am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,120 posts

Probably because it's getting about four million viewers a show I believe but also I'd say because it's a nice little nod to the great Ronnie B who made it watchable (just, for me). And the Beeb probably owes Sir David a favour so if he wants to keep working which is admirable then why not keep running this strangely successful sitcom. I can't really argue with their loyalty to this show, I just don't watch it.

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Frankie Mildly Perturbed

  • Saturday 24th February 2018, 3:24pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 5,495 posts

4 million viewers a show or not, the main star (as with the writers of Porridge) is quite simply long past his best.

I think it is better to retire (or change and do something different..) before you hit the downhill slope, but obviously said individuals and the BBC do not share that view.

If DJ wants to keep working then why not try something that suits his age?

I'd cast him in my sitcom about death.

Anyway, good luck to one and all, me I just want 'Peace on Earth'... for five minutes... unfortunately there is no chance of that, anymore than a chance the Beeb would commission my sitcom about death. I challenge their Director-General every time I meet him socially ... but he just willnae... Console

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Aaron

  • Saturday 24th February 2018, 6:11pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,563 posts
Quote: Frankie Mildly Perturbed @ 24th February 2018, 3:24 PM

4 million viewers a show or not, the main star (as with the writers of Porridge) is quite simply long past his best.

I think it is better to retire (or change and do something different..) before you hit the downhill slope, but obviously said individuals and the BBC do not share that view.

If DJ wants to keep working then why not try something that suits his age?

Of course, all of that is entirely subjective. The 4 million plus watching each week do presumably not agree. Including myself.

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Frankie Mildly Perturbed

  • Sunday 25th February 2018, 3:27pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 5,495 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 24th February 2018, 6:11 PM

Of course, all of that is entirely subjective. The 4 million plus watching each week do presumably not agree. Including myself.

Maybe not, but as I said before, those 4 million people can only select what is AVAILABLE to watch... :)

And (entirely subjectively, if you like) this may well be just the best thing that is on out of a bad lot...

Of course, no axe to grind here .. I was fortunate enough to see Barker and Jason first time around 'at the time it originally happened' : for example, imagine watching the first episode of 'Open All Hours' when it was just a pilot, i.e. when it had never been seen before - some of us actually did. :)

The original Porridge too, was a staple for my generation, night workers stayed home off work to watch it (threw sickies - no recording in those days..)

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Aaron

  • Sunday 25th February 2018, 3:31pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,563 posts
Quote: Frankie Mildly Perturbed @ 25th February 2018, 3:27 PM

Maybe not, but as I said before, those 4 million people can only select what is AVAILABLE to watch... :)

This is also true. However, viewing numbers for other programmes in the schedule (comedy and not) suggest people will and do switch off. I.e. they're actively choosing to watch Still Open All Hours.

This is off-topic in the Porridge thread, mind.

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Frankie Mildly Perturbed

  • Sunday 25th February 2018, 3:35pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 5,495 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 25th February 2018, 3:31 PM

This is also true. However, viewing numbers for other programmes in the schedule (comedy and not) suggest people will and do switch off. I.e. they're actively choosing to watch Still Open All Hours.

This is off-topic in the Porridge thread, mind.

Yes, you're right.. well we're just comedy jousting... :)

What we can agree on I am sure is that Barker, Jason and their writers were of the very best of the sitcom genre!

;)

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Charlie Boy

  • Monday 26th February 2018, 5:57pm
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 548 posts

Poorly written and acted. Not surprised it has been cancelled.

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gb901

  • Sunday 10th February 2019, 11:41pm
  • norwich, United Kingdom
  • 394 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 23rd February 2018, 12:15 AM

Good! So why is Still Open All Hours still running?

Excellent point well made.