Scottish Daily Mail
Almost 40 years on, it’s time for another helping of Porridge
NEARLY four decades since Norman Stanley Fletcher walked out of Slade Prison a free man, Porridge is about to return to our TV screens.
And it seems Ronnie Barker’s lovable rogue failed to keep his family on the straight and narrow.
A new episode of the revered prison comedy is reportedly in the pipeline – with Fletcher’s grandson centre stage. He too is known as Fletch, but is in his twenties, has ‘attitude’ and is serving time for the very modern crime of computer hacking.
The one-off instalment comes from the show’s original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
The original series attracted up to 15million viewers when it aired from 1974 to 1977 – about twice as many as The X Factor receives now.
It is believed the show will be part of the corporation’s Landmark Sitcom Season next year, which will see a number of classic comedies updated. If Porridge is a success, it could return for a full series.
Barker believed Porridge to be his best work. The series also starred Richard Beckinsale as his young cellmate Lennie Godber, Fulton Mackay as tough prison officer Mr Mackay and Brian Wilde as the ineffectual warder Mr Barraclough.
All the stars are now dead and it is not known if their families have been contacted about the new project. Casting has not yet begun.
While the original saw Fletcher taking the naive Godber under his wing, the new episode will reverse the relationship with his grandson sharing a cell with a more experienced criminal.
La Frenais told The Sunday Times said: ‘We were asked by the BBC to do a revival and decided to set it right up to date. [Fletch’s grandson is] called Fletch, too, and has what I would call attitude. It will be set in a modern prison while [HMP] Slade was of course Victorian.’
The original series was followed by Going Straight, about Fletcher’s life after jail. Barker returned to the role for a spoof documentary in 2003.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘There are a number of shows being considered for BBC1’s Landmark Sitcom Season but nothing is confirmed as yet.’