Friday Porridge 9.30pm, BBC One
NO. None of us are fit to lick Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’s typewriter, but this is tragically wrong. Stripping one of the British sitcom’s key themes – characters trapped together by life – to its essence, the original 1970s Porridge, set inside the vital, universal confinement of Slade Prison, remains one the high peaks of the genre. Clement and La Frenais’s scripts were all crackling lines, wickedly and poignantly observed human interaction and surreptitious social critique. Above all, though, it was the way Ronnie Barker played the lines – he was the Brando of Britcom. But where Barker just flowed, everything in this pale sequel/remake is just forced. The show underscores its redundancy by encouraging Kevin Bishop into a bizarre, distracting Barker/Fletch imitation as “Fletch’s grandson,” then saws its other foot off by casting poor Mark Bonnar as a Mr McKay stand-in “Scottish Warder.” This ain’t Porridge. This is barely muesli.