British Comedy Guide

A Very Open Prison. Image shows from L to R: Amanda Ellis (Emily Mortimer), David Hanratty (Tom Wilkinson), Dominic Casement (Peter Wingfield). Copyright: Hat Trick Productions.

A Very Open Prison

BBC Two comedy drama about privatisation. 1 episode in 1995. Stars Tom Wilkinson, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Tompkinson, Emily Mortimer and others.

A Very Open Prison. Image shows from L to R: Prime Minister (John Fortune), David Hanratty (Tom Wilkinson). Copyright: Hat Trick Productions.

A Very Open Prison

Satire of Thatcherite privatisations, focussing on the prison system

Genre
Comedy Drama
Broadcast
1995
Channel
BBC Two
Episodes
1
Starring
Tom Wilkinson, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Tompkinson, Emily Mortimer, Peter Wingfield, Michael Hordern, Geoffrey Whitehead, John Fortune and others
Writer
Guy Jenkin
Director
Guy Jenkin
Producers
Geoffrey Perkins, Denise O'Donoghue and Dave Thompson

After spearheading the Government's latest round of public sector privatisations - this time, of the prison service - Home Secretary David Hanratty finds himself in hot water when three apparently violent and unhinged inmates escape from one of the newly privatised prisons just hours after he has paid it a visit.

The escape is not only a major failing of security and a national scandal, but it the strong possibility of a looming General Election means it has severe ramifications directly on Hanratty's career. Hotly tipped to be the next leader of the party and Prime Minister, he is enraged that the three convicts could be getting in his way.

Complications are further unleashed, between a hostage situation, the manoeuvres of the current PM, a critically ill fellow MP, a leaked speech and a troubled womens' prison that has been dubbed the 'Hilton'.

It's a race against time for Hanratty to save not just his own skin, but the fate of the entire present Government.

Production data

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